Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
A dynamic and rapidly growing market
Australia’s highly skilled workforce and sophisticated R&D infrastructure has enabled it to develop a globally competitive ICT industry.
In the five years to 2010, the industry’s annual growth rate surpassed that of the US, UK, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan (Source: WITSA. Based on research by HIS Global Insight. Digital Planet, October 2011). By 2013, Australia’s total spend in ICT is projected to be US$66 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of eight per cent over the period 2003-17 (Source: Austrade Benchmark Report 2011).
Many international companies see Australia as an ideal location to develop and test new products and services. They benefit from Australia’s robust intellectual property regime and technology-savvy customers and use Australia as a base for product and application development, content development, technical assistance and global sourcing facilities. These multinational companies include Canon, Citrix, Unisys and SAP, which all have R&D facilities in Australia. Cisco Systems, Sophos and CSC also run advanced technical assistance centres from Australia for operations around the world.
Highly developed R&D infrastructure
Australia has a sophisticated network of ICT R&D facilities, run primarily through the private sector and supported by the government and universities. The country is also home to over eighty high quality public sector research facilities, with National ICT Australia, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) ICT Centre and Co-operative Research Centres playing a key role in progressing ICT research.
The Australian government has committed to establishing a world class National Broadband Network that will deliver broadband speeds of up to 100 mbps to over 90 per cent of premises, encouraging research into new applications and services. Work on the National Broadband Network has begun and the fixed wireless rollout, which uses the latest 4G technology, is expected to be complete by 2015.
Skilled and experienced ICT workforce
With a skilled and experienced ICT workforce of over 300,000 professionals, Australia is ranked highly for the availability of IT skills, qualified engineers, and research and development personnel, as well as for the extensive domain-level knowledge and quality technical expertise on offer.
Significant contributions in the field
Australia is globally renowned for its capabilities in many areas of ICT including telecommunications, IT services, and digital content, while the country’s highly regarded research community has contributed to many significant scientific discoveries and commercial developments, including:
- The 802.11 technology behind Wi-Fi
- ‘Gi-Fi’ – Giga-bit wireless (known as ‘radar on a chip’)
- Open Kernel Labs – software embedded in over a billion phones worldwide
- EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale)
- The Ultrasound Scanner, and
- Google Maps.
Australia’s digital content industry is of particular note. It encompasses high value digital products and services which are being developed not only in the ICT sector, but across films, games, broadband, mobile, and broadcasting. The impact of the digital content industry extends across the economy and will be one of the major drivers of economic competitiveness in the coming decade. Australia is a mature and technologically sophisticated market with high internet, PC and smart mobile device penetration rates.
Australia is also ideally positioned for the future with the growth of cloud computing: in February 2012, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) ranked Australia second in the world in preparedness for cloud computing.
Opportunities for investment in ICT
Australia provides a number of strategic ICT investment opportunities, including in the A$27 billion software industry and applications development – from e-health and e-learning to digital content and entertainment; in financial services – the country’s largest vertical market for ICT spending; in datacentres, systems integration and managed services; and in sustainable ICT such as smart grids, renewable energy management systems, and supply chain/logistics optimisation.
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Research and Development (R&D)
Cooperative Research Centres