sydney-town-hall

IDG Connect, (UK) - The Global IT Series, Part 3: Australia

Built in late 1880s out of lavish golden sandstone, Sydney Town Hall occupies a prime spot in the city centre. Majestic, proud, symbolic; in April this vestige of the nineteenth century was broad bang up to date. Now it boasts 240 advanced solar panels and is the first place in Australia to showcase brand new cutting edge technology...

Green issues and information technology are - without a shadow of a doubt - an integral part of Australia's future. This is a land masse where around 60% of the population is crammed into five main cities and 90% of the terrain remains uninhabited. With its vast, near-desert outback the elements are forever encroaching. Perhaps it is little wonder therefore, that Siemens is urging the government to build a huge, progressive renewable energy network? This is unlikely to happen, but its vision is to rival north African solar power project, Desertec.

Change is a long slow process. The first large scale photovoltaic and thermal projects are planned for the near future. And by the end of the year the federal government is expected to select half a dozen candidates from the 52 applications. This should give real boost to the solar industry, which has enjoyed something of a mini-boom in small-scale rooftop installations, but has made no progress on larger, utility-scale installations and those in between. This can't come too soon. A recent survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows Australia still trails a long way behind less well solar-endowed countries.

Like much of the world however, the real thing holding Australia back is the speed of its broadband. Surprisingly perhaps Australia ranks 58 on the recent State of Internet report, which leaves it behind Thailand, Russia and New Zealand. This has triggered aggressive action from the Australian government in the form of a $43 billion outlay in a National Broadband Network (NBN). The aim is that the NBN will connect 90% of premises with the technology to provide speeds of 100Mbps. This phenomenal investment represents an uncompromising push to make internet accessible and faster for both business and consumers alike.

Another major trend affecting Australian IT at present is the much touted skills shortage: this is negative for the corporations, but offers amazing opportunities for the skilled workforce. Recent survey results show that as the economic recovery gathers pace, almost 50% of technology professionals will seek pay increases (or other benefits) over the next six months. Findings reveal there is a particularly high demand for project managers, business analysts, developers, testers, along with specialist skills such as SAP experts, Microsoft Business Intelligence, integration architects and data architects. For people who hold these skills the future looks very rosy indeed!

Overall the coming twelve moths are set to bring interesting transformations within in Australian IT. There will a surge in m-commerce, a growth in cloud computing, along with a huge boost in consumer technology like the iPad and 3D TV. This shift is likely to place its own unique stamp on the world of business.

Based in Australia? What do you think the biggest challenges for your unique region will be over the next 18 months? Please comment below - or if you would like to submit a blog post simply email the editor.

IDG Connect's series on Australia is set to continue throughout the Summer:

  • 1st July - Cloud computing, Alan Tran, Amexcom Solutions, Australia
  • 29th July - Cloud computing, Simon Burke, IPscape, Australia

Read Part 1, Africa
Read part 2, Asia

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