Monday, 15 June 2020 12:01

Industry, universities partner to form new national innovation network Featured

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A new alliance led by global networking company Cisco and telco Optus in partnership with La Trobe and Curtin Universities has been formed to accelerate innovation, aimed at improving Australia’s long-term digital economic resilience and transformation.

The four foundation members – Cisco, Optus, Curtin and La Trobe University – have joined forces to establish the National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN), a new model for industry and universities to collaborate in addressing “real-world industry challenges” and responding to long-term national interests.

Cisco and Optus and the two universities say the new network will act as both a clearing house for immediate industry challenges and a driver for economic stimulus, resilience and recovery through digital transformation.

“The ultimate aim of the network is to make Australia – and Australian industry – more adaptive and resilient,” according to Cisco ANZ VP Ken Boal.

“Australia faces immense health and economic challenges and no single company or university has all the answers. In combining our technology, expertise and networks, we can create a greater impact together,” said Optus Business Managing Director Chris Mitchell.

And Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry AO emphasised the importance of universities and industry working together, commenting that, “We have demonstrated that sharing our resources and expertise brings great value to our communities and our economy. We are proud to partner with Cisco, Optus and La Trobe to take a leading role in finding new ways to solve industry problems and address national challenges.”

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO, welcomed the partnership as an important step to support innovation and job-creating economic activity.

“I welcome this new alliance as an important development in bringing industry and universities to work together to support economic recovery and digital transformation. This is an exciting new development with the potential to change the way we think about collaborations between universities and industry for the benefit of the nation,” Professor Dewar said.

One of the first projects to be tackled by the NIIN will be a white paper on the role of collaborative technology in remote working, with a specific focus on government, health and education sectors, and it is anticipated that the white paper will “provide a framework to help users better understand and evaluate the adoption and application of these technologies in different use cases”.

“We can take the learnings out of the recent surge in the adoption of collaboration technologies that have enabled remote working, and build on the capability and productivity that’s been realised, to support a more resilient digital economy and society,” said Cisco Australia & New Zealand Vice President, Ken Boal.

“It is in Australia’s interest to provide governments, peak bodies and industry with the information necessary to make informed decisions on security, privacy, scalability and usability,” Optus Business Managing Director Chris Mitchell concluded.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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