Added about 1 year ago
The prevailing reliance on international innovations, particularly in the telecommunication industry, as the 'go to' solution has resulted in a concerning depletion of Australian talent. Innovation is at the heart of national evolution, yet it seems Australia is moving further away from our own inventions, and becoming increasingly dependent on international services. Why are we constructing a societal paradigm in which we feel more comfortable accepting the ideas of international powers rather than having faith in the success of our very own innovators.
Rene Sugo, MyNetFone's CEO, has contributed his thoughts on this challenging issue in a recent BRW article, reproduced below for your convenience.
The lack of support for start-ups in Australia, especially from the technology sector, is simply reinforcing the much discussed ‘brain drain’ problem. We are not investing enough in research and development at the grass-roots level and Australian businesses are failing to make jobs attractive enough for our brightest home-grown talent, as highlighted in this insight from Mumbrella.
But pumping investment into tech start-ups is only half the problem. The other part of the problem stems from our over-reliance on overseas innovations to drive growth.
The telco industry is particularly guilty of this – adopting innovations from overseas rather than investing in developing locally. Decades of throwing money – overseas – to solve problems instead of seeking an answer from our own industry has led us down a dangerous path. We now find ourselves in a situation where hardly anyone is creating ‘new stuff’ and the majority of significant breakthroughs are coming from overseas. Even when we see innovative breakthroughs being implemented in Australia, if you scratch the surface you’ll find it is often foreign firms that bring the ‘innovative’ part of the project to the table, and the local providers are simply implementing it.
While there is nothing wrong with taking up innovative products, services and software developed internationally, I think we are missing a great opportunity by not challenging ourselves to come up with solutions. The mentality to ‘buy’ our way out of problem, instead of ‘solve’ is driving our best and brightest offshore.
True, the exodus is due in part to the path of deregulation that has occurred within the telecommunications sector, which at its core simply entailed the incumbent provider opening their services for resale. The model provided no impetus or incentive to innovate, and as a result companies have become resellers rather than innovators. Of course the telco landscape is not all there is.
Where innovation is happening more now, is in the app space, where cost and barriers to entry are much lower than in the telco industry itself. Take the example of mobile game Crossy Road, developed by two Australians. The game earned them $10 million in three months!
Key to driving local innovation in the telco sector is understanding and anticipating what the market needs, ensuring the education system is more innovation-focused and putting in place an environment that will nurture our talent. After years of neglect, only then will the right talent be in place to develop products to support our evolving requirements.
At MyNetFone, we promote an innovation-driven culture. Staff are encouraged to submit ideas. Thoughts put forward by staff have resulted in the development of new products and enhancements to existing products. We were the first to develop and launch a cloud-hosted PBX service and more recently we added SIP trunking to our iBoss aggregation platform after our team saw an opportunity to open another avenue for provision of voice services in the NBN world.
Both of these innovations started with an idea, and the willingness to invest our own IP and resources in something new. Ultimately, innovation does not thrive in solitude – companies have to empower all their staff to drive innovative influence and generate new ideas.
Despite actively advocating an innovative workforce, I have found it challenging to find good talent locally with the right skills to work on our projects. Whilst SMEs have traditionally lost out on obtaining the ‘brightest and best’ recruits to larger corporates - that are seen to offer more prestige and benefits – I believe SMEs are in a unique position to provide rapid career progression for the best talent and present opportunities to get stuck into innovative and market-leading projects.
For far too long the chase of short-term profits within the information technology industry has been a killer of innovation. Whilst it is hard for established sectors to compete with the buzz that cloud, apps or social media companies generate, now is the time for the telecommunications industry to pause, take stock and re-energise the sector by investing in true blue-sky projects, using local talent.
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Added about 1 year ago
As strange as it sounds, high speed internet has a direct correlation with profitability.
Communities that have fibre internet connections had 1.1% higher GDP (Gross Domestic Product) than the similar communities with little to no availability of gigabit services, according to a recent study by the Fibre to the Home Council in America. Might not sound like a lot… until you see it in dollars: $1.4 billion additional production across just 14 US communities, to be exact.
According to the survey, out of 55 communities across nine states in the US examined, all 14 communities with widely available gigabit services had higher GDP than the 31 communities without fibre connections. Coincidence? Extremely doubtful.
What does all this mean for a community? Well higher GDP means higher infrastructure investment, increased spending and creation of new jobs and industries. All top-priority issues for communities of any size.
Now dare to imagine the potential that is currently sitting on Australia’s door step with the rollout of the NBN fibre optic service....across the entire nation! Although the majority of Australian NBN services are not quite in the gigabit speeds range, it will be very interesting to see what benefits our own communities achieve from fibre internet – for both businesses and residents.
Profitability, efficiently, and societal advancement awaits…
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Added about 1 year ago
Let's shoot to Mars for a second. On our journey, we see the continents decreasing in size and pass numerous satellites floating about in orbit. From here we get the perceptive we need to see the world in its totality. It’s a highly sophisticated planet, full of promise and technological advances. We know that although the continents appear separate they are actually entirely interconnected, with communication and news sharing happening simultaneously with people at polar ends of the planet. We know this phenomenon as the internet. This communication enablement platform, the World Wide Web, has projected our world into a thriving, intelligent and forever evolving global society, better still it is only looking to strengthen.
Akamai’s ‘State of the Internet’ Q1 2015 reports the number of global internet users has more than doubled in the last 7 years to an estimated 3.2 billion in 2015. Moreover, Cisco noted that the number of Internet-connected devices first outnumbered the human population way back in 2008 and that now there is an estimated two networked devices per capita, with the prediction it will be up to three per capita by 2019. Not only is global uptake advancing but so is the internet’s performance. On a global basis, the average connection speed increased a sizeable 30 percent year over year. Additionally, the global average connection speed increased 10 percent to 5 Mbps and the global 15 Mbps adoption rate has grown 29 percent.
However, when we take a deeper look, not all countries can be viewed as equal when it comes to internet progression. Fiji for example experienced hugely impressive growth rates rising 181% in average connection speed from 2014. Whereas Réunion experienced 72% decline (to 3.5 Mbps) from the previous year. Overall however, increases were seen in 134 countries, with yearly declines only seen in just 9 countries/regions, supporting the global trend of overall improving internet performance.
When we review Australia, China, US & UK in the Akamai’s timeline graph above we can see that although there is a general improvement trend, China is rather behind. Their economy might be booming, however their connection internet speeds are lagging behind the other significant players. US & UK have advanced at a very impressive rate managing to remain close competitors for the duration of the past 7 years. Australia was in their ball park performance up until 2012, where the UK and US powered ahead and managed to increase the gap between Australia.
Now we are back on earth using the internet to read this on our computer screens, and can reflect on what we just discovered. There is a global trend of improved internet performance, internet utilisation is only predicted to enhance and lastly, not all countries are equal in the eyes of internet – some are significantly out performing others.
So as we keep advancing with connectively on global scale, one can only imagine what incredible developments are still in store.
Seen many of our internet-based innovations lately? Check out our 'Virtual Fax' feature here.
Source: akamai (2015). Akamai’s State of the internet' Q1 2015 report, from http://www.stateoftheinternet.com/index.html
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