Interview: Professor Paddy Nixon, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Professor Paddy Nixon is the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, at the University of Tasmania (UTAS).

Prior to taking up this position he was Science Foundation Ireland Research Professor at University College Dublin. Professor Nixon has significant industrial and commercial experience. He has had active collaborations with Microsoft Research, HP, Intel, Oracle and IBM. He was Academic Director of the Intel Technology for Independent Living Centre. Professor Nixon was an IBM faculty fellow at the IBM Dublin Centre for Advanced Studies.

He has published over 220 publications including editing 9 books. He also chaired the national public consultation in Ireland for Next Generation Broadband for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. He is currently chair of the Digital Futures Advisory Council in Tasmania.

We spoke with Professor Nixon to learn more about “A Vision for Smart Services in Australia: SenseT and a vision for future services across Tasmania using the NBN” which he will discuss at CeBIT’s AusInnovate Conference.

SenseT has been initiated by UTAS, Tasmanian Government and CSIRO (through the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation) in collaboration with National ICT Australia (NICTA), IBM, and the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society (University of Melbourne).
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Be Prepared For Internet Of Things (IOT)

It is generally agreed that Kevin Ashton coined the phrases “Internet Of Things” in 1999 when he linked the new idea of RFID in Procter & Gamble’s supply chain to the Internet.

According to a US Director of National Intelligence report:

“Visionaries have seized on the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ to refer to the general idea of things, especially everyday objects, that are readable, recognizable, locatable, addressable, and/or controllable via the Internet—whether via RFID, wireless LAN, wide-area network, or other means”.

“Everyday objects includes not only the electronic devices we encounter everyday, and not only the products of higher technological development such as vehicles and equipment, but things that we do not ordinarily think of as electronic at all—such as food, clothing”

“Individuals, businesses, and governments are unprepared for a possible future when Internet nodes reside in such everyday things as food packages, furniture, paper documents, and more. Today’s developments point to future opportunities and risks that will arise when people can remotely control, locate, and monitor everyday things”.
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Will infrastructure constrain the digital entertainment market?

By Paul Budde, Managing Director, BuddeComm

The digital media market is changing as it has been impacted upon many aspects of the media industry of old. These changes, combined with an economic downturn, led to much unrest in the media sector. Moving into digital entertainment there are several competing sectors. These sectors include – TV and radio broadcasting, newspaper publishers, the film and video industries – as well as the new internet-based companies.

The internet-based media companies are the clear leaders in the digital entertainment arena. However for the time being there are, to a certain extent, parallel developments – one driven by digital TV, using the traditional broadcasting networks, and one driven by broadband, using new fixed and mobile telco infrastructure.

The arrival of smart TV will bring about a much closer alignment of these two developments, which most certainly will lead to further disruptive developments in the industry.

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Interview: Dr Flavio Romano, Principal Regulatory Economist Telstra

Flavio Romano has been recently appointed to the newly created role of Principal Regulatory Economist with Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications company. He is responsible for overseeing the economic analysis of regulation during a period of intense change in the Australian telecommunications sector.

In his prior role as the inaugural Senior Economist with Infrastructure Australia, Dr. Romano led the programme for advising on strategic challenges to Australia’s economic infrastructure — such as urban population growth pressures and the role of information technology in improving the sustainability of urban transport networks.

In previous roles with the Australian Treasury, Dr. Romano managed policy projects relating to the effectiveness of the economic regulation of infrastructure networks for enhancing innovation and economic growth.

We spoke with Flavio to learn more about these issues which he will discuss at CeBIT’s AusInnovate Conference.
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Interview: Paul De Martini, Newport Consulting Group

Paul De Martini provides management consulting services to technology, energy and venture capital executives worldwide. He is the MD of Newport Consulting Group and until recently was the CTO of Cisco Smart Grids.

Paul De Martini - Newport Consulting Group

Paul De Martini - Newport Consulting Group

Prior to that he was vice president of Advanced Technology at Southern California Edison leading their $2 billion smart grid strategy, policy, and research and deployment activity. Earlier, he was an executive with ICF International, Sempra Energy, Coastal Oil and PG&E Corporation in competitive energy services and electric operations. Paul holds an MBA from the University of Southern California. He also completed the technology management program at Caltech.

Newport Consulting Group’s view is that the electricity industry is at a tipping point where the accelerating pace of change is creating opportunities for disruption. This is caused by two decades of energy policy and industry structural changes combined with accelerating social and technological evolution.

The result is significant changes in the economics, operation, structure and regulation of the electricity industry. Today, industry leaders and emerging business are developing strategies and new business models to succeed in this transformation.

We spoke with Paul to learn more about these issues and his talk at CeBIT’s AusInnovate ConferenceInternational Insights Case Study: Utilising Technology in Electric Networks – Enabling Customer Participation in Markets and Improving Efficiency and Reliability“.

He said his talk would focus on critical infrastructure and how North America is planning ahead for the evolution of the electricity system, types of supply generation, more distributed generation and increasing participation of consumers in the market eg: balancing the grid.

All this is happening simultaneously, wind, solar etc with distributed generation such as Solar PV on household rooftops/small commercial buildings being used with systems that automatically respond to price signals from the electricity utility.

However the electricity network wasn’t designed to handle this level of complexity. How much can the grid accept without fundamentally changing was seen as a 10-20 year issue by electricity utilities. The swift adoption rate of distributed generation means this has to be addressed much faster.

De Martini mentioned one North American company to keep an eye out for is Tendril, which offers in home devices that can control home electricity use based on price signals.

In an Australian first Origin Energy trialled the Tendril Energize application suite in 2011. Energize is built on Tendril Connect, an open standards-based, scalable, secure software-as-a-service platform that enables energy insight, choice and control across various communication channels to customers including web, mobile, paper, home area network (HAN) devices and advanced application development for future programs such as solar, smart appliances and electric vehicles.

Paul also discussed the issue of appliances. He said most major applicance makers are coming to market, or will be coming soon, with products at the higher end that are intelligent and can behave differently depending on price signals sent to them. Most of these appliances like fridges have 7 year lifecycle on average, so we have to wait for people to replace older non-programmable appliances.

In terms of national plans De Martini said that while Europe has 20% renewable energy by 2020 target, USA has no national policy. However over ~70+% of the US population has a renewable standard or energy efficiency objective set by 30+ states that have set their own standards.

In California there are 30 million people with 15 million electric connections for households and businesses. By 2020 there could be as many as 2 million customers that are participating automatically in some way in this market. The objective is to reduce the need for high peak load capacity available all the time, which would take a lot of the cost out of the system.

However a wildcard is whether people will override things like air-conditioning shutdown on peak summer/winter load days to maintain comfort.

Market research and tests indicate that US electricity customers respond in greater numbers to messages to ““don’t waste” rather ““save energy”. This is why behavioural economics and the wording of messages are increasingly important areas that are being examined by electricity infrastructure companies as well as technology considerations.

Register Now for CeBIT’s AusInnovate Conference on 22 May 2012. AusInnovate is the leading platform in Australia for connecting research, industry and government communities.

Smart Cities: City of Sydney LED Lighting Rollout

Sydney has become the first city in Australia to roll-out new energy-efficient LED street and park lights. Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the rollout of LED lights, following a successful 18 month trial in Alexandria Park, Kings Cross, Martin Place and Circular Quay, would reduce emissions and halve the energy use.

Sydney 2030

Sydney 2030

“Replacing 6,450 conventional lights will save nearly $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Sydney will be the first city in Australia to install the new LED street and park lights across its entire city centre, and joins other major cities such as Berlin, Barcelona, Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

A joint venture of GE and UGL Limited (UGL), selected by tender, has begun installing the first batch of new LED lights on George Street, in front of Sydney Town Hall as part of a $7 million three year project.
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CSIRO Earns $220 Million More From WiFi Invention

ABC News is reporting that the CSIRO has achieved a legal settlement of over $220 million from companies that were infringing on it’s patents over Wireless LAN (WiFi) technology, bringing the total earnt from settlements and licencing to almost $430 million.



CSIRO invented and patented wireless LAN technology in the 1990s. CSIRO inventors Dr John O’Sullivan, Dr Terry Percival, Mr Diet Ostry, Mr Graham Daniels and Mr John Deane created this technology while working in the CSIRO Division of Radiophysics, now called the CSIRO ICT Centre.
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NBN Stage 1: Rollout to 3.5 million homes and businesses

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Senator Conroy and NBN Co Ltd CEO Mike Quigley have just announced Stage 1 of the large-scale rollout of the National Broadband Network and detailed which communities will benefit from the vital upgrade to Australia’s communications infrastructure.

The NBN fibre rollout will be completed or underway in 1/3rd of the country over the next 3 years.
This area contains over 3.5 million homes and businesses in 1500 communities in every state and territory.

At it’s peak there will be 400 work teams, some 16000 people in total employed in the rollout process.
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