After a string of departures in 2016 that saw the roles of CIO, CTO, COO, and CISO vacated, Telstra has said it will fill the chief operating officer role in early 2017 with the appointment of Robyn Denholm. Denholm joins Australia's incumbent telco after a 9-year stint as Juniper Networks chief financial and operations officer, and 11 years with Sun Microsystems before that. Denholm is also a board member of Tesla and Swiss robotics company ABB. Telstra CEO Andy Penn said the telco had made a world class appointment. "Robyn has a proven track record as a global COO in a business focused on telecommunications networks.
The Turnbull government and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Sunday launched a AU$200 million fund, as part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda, to commercialise early-stage innovations from CSIRO, universities, and other publicly-funded research bodies. While Australia is above the OECD average when it comes to publishing academic papers, it lags behind in converting innovation into jobs and income. The CSIRO Innovation Fund will help address this by supporting co-investment in new spin-out and startup companies, as well as small to medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to transform publicly-funded research into commercial products. The fund will be headed up by veteran venture capitalist and co-founder of Blackbird Ventures Bill Bartee. The government will inject AU$70 million into the joint public-private sector fund over the next 10 years, alongside AU$30 million of royalties from the CSIRO's Wi-Fi patent portfolio, and an additional AU$100 million from the private sector, which Bartee will be in charge of obtaining.
Vendors' glossy reports shower onto the desks of customers and journalists like gentle Christmas snow. But so many of these reports, like so many snowfalls, are nothing but slush. All year we've been hearing about the spreading plague of ransomware, and how the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a security nightmare. Remember the botnet made of video cameras? Vendors have been waving around phrases like "artificial intelligence" and "machine learning" and "threat intelligence sharing" like magic wands.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has implemented an online compliance system that is using automation to help locate funds owed to the Commonwealth. Approximately AU$4.5 million that has gone awry is being pointed to each day by the online compliance system, allowing DHS to kick off the process to reclaim the funds. Before the new system, only AU$295,000 in missing funds was highlighted every 24 hours. The system has been in operation since July and is now initiating 20,000 compliance interventions a week -- a jump from 20,000 a year previously. Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge expects the system to carry out 1.7 million compliance interventions within the next three years.
Optus has announced an expansion of its 4G network in Canberra, using the 1800MHz spectrum it secured during the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) auction earlier this year. Services will be augmented across 10 sites in the Australian Capital Territory this month and 30 sites by the end of January 2017, with Optus mobile customers in Richardson, Torrens, Latham, and along Majura Road the first to be given enhanced coverage and capacity. Optus said the 1800MHz spectrum band is being delivered early in Canberra thanks to the telecommunications provider gaining approval from the ACMA for early access commercial licences ahead of the spectrum's May 2017 national availability date. "Optus is committed to enhancing the mobile experience for customers living in and visiting Canberra, and between now and January 2017 we will boost services at more than 30 sites across the ACT," said acting MD of Networks at Optus Dennis Wong. "The advantage of 1800MHz spectrum is that virtually all 4G devices support it, meaning more Optus customers with a variety of devices will enjoy the improved experience."