Australian giant Downer has a 30-year contract with the New South Wales government to manage and maintain its fleet of 78 Waratah trains that operate in the greater Sydney metro area. With 2041 not approaching any time soon, the company recognised a perfect opportunity to maximise technology to make the most of its data and plan for proactive, rather than reactive, maintenance of Sydney's trains. In December 2016, the NSW government ordered 24 Waratah Series 2 trains under its Sydney Growth Trains Project and in February 2019, announced the decision to order 17 more trains. The new trains are touted as providing passengers with improved safety and comfort, fitted with air-con, more CCTV cameras, and improved accessibility. Downer general manager of Digital Technology and Innovation Mike Ayling said his company saw this as the perfect opportunity to leverage additional sensor data from the fleet.
Technological advancements in the medical field are vital to improving the way patients receive care. In many cases, there is a need for more resources to be directed towards patient care. But the current reality for many patients, especially children with chronic illnesses, is that medical professionals and families are often forced to carry a heavy load in caring for them. To address this need within the healthcare sector, there has been an uptick in the size of Australia's medtech startup community, with the NSW government expecting the industry to create 28,000 jobs and add AU$18 billion in gross domestic product to Australia by 2025. Among the medtech startups in Australia is ikkiworks, which developed a companion robot that helps soothe and monitor the vital signs of children with chronic illness while they are away from the hospital.
The New South Wales government has announced funding a new initiative aimed at getting university students engaged with quantum computing. The AU$15.4 million Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA) initiative will see the University of Sydney (USyd), University of New South Wales (UNSW), Macquarie University, and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) encourage students to work with each other and train across the four universities. It is expected the funding will also be used to link students to industry through internships and research; support the development of quantum technology startup businesses; and promote Sydney as a quantum computing hub. The NSW government funding, combined with current university and future industry support, sees the total investment in the SQA pinned at around AU$35 million. "Our new investment will secure a pipeline of highly skilled quantum engineers, software experts and technicians to build and program these incredible machines as the technology becomes reality," Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.
The New South Wales government's Department of Finance, Services, and Innovation (DFSI) has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Microsoft Australia. Reimagining business for the digital age is the number-one priority for many of today's top executives. We offer practical advice and examples of how to do it right. It is expected the MOU will "kick-start" brainstorming sessions, with the intention of progressing digital transformation across state government departments and the public service. "If we are really going to achieve our ambition of transforming the citizen's experience with government, we need to work across agencies ... across NGOs, across research organisations," NSW government chief information and digital officer Greg Wells told journalists on Tuesday.
The New South Wales government has welcomed the first passengers on its Driverless Smart Shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park, with the service set to officially start next week, marking stage two of the state's driverless trial. Through its Smart Innovation Centre -- a hub for the "collaborative" research and development of safe and efficient emerging transport technology -- the NSW government in August last year partnered with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG, and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to conduct a two-year trial of the shuttle. Legislation was passed alongside the formation of the hub to approve trials of automated vehicles. The hub has since added the University of Technology Sydney, to enable the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. The legislation allows government to partner with industry, researchers, and universities to be a testing ground for automated vehicles, with the trial touted as bringing driverless cars a step closer to reality in Australia.
Optus Business has announced winning the tender to provide telecommunications services for the Australian Department of Health as part of a three-year AU$6 million contract. Under the deal, Optus Business said it will consolidate the department's telco services under a single agreement, including voice, mobile, data, and wide area networking (WAN) services for Health's 5,000 workers. Optus Business MD John Paitaridis said the contract would also see the department's "digitalisation and innovation agenda" pushed. "Optus is committed to providing services that are cost effective, robust, and scalable to meet the Department of Health's current and future needs as they deliver the nation's health and wellbeing," Paitaridis said. "With our recent addition to the supplier panel for Department of Defence, Optus Business is now involved in supporting three of the four largest government departments in Australia, reinforcing our position as a market leading telco and ICT provider," he added, referring to Optus' contracts with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
Toby discusses his early dreams of building thinking machines inspired by science fiction - and covers AI Ethics and current to near term applicability in intelligent systems. Toby Walsh is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence. He was recently named in the inaugural Knowledge Nation 100, the one hundred "rock stars" of Australia's digital revolution. He is Guest Professor at TU Berlin, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW and leads the Algorithmic Decision Theory group at Data61, Australia's Centre of Excellence for ICT Research. He has been elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and has won the prestigious Humboldt research award as well as the 2016 NSW Premier's Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT.
The New South Wales government has announced signing Microsoft to help it commercialise its data science capabilities, initially focusing on the state's AU$30 billion procurement spend. Big data is transitioning from one of the most hyped and anticipated tech trends of recent years into one of the biggest challenges that IT is now trying to wrestle and harness. We examine the technologies and best practices for taking advantage of big data and provide a look at organizations that are putting it to good use. The NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC), stood up in August 2015, will work with the local arm of Microsoft to offer data-related products both inside and outside of government, and "turbo-charge" the government's digital and data agenda. Under the arrangement, DAC data scientists are using Microsoft Azure and a range of Azure cognitive services to build a machine learning neural network to categorise how the NSW government's AU$30 billion annual procurement budget is allocated each year.