Archive for the ‘ICT industries’ Category

Brave New World – Toggle Media

March 6, 2012

NBN and Federal Government funding is leading to new media projects as the rollout of broadband encourages the development of online education partnerships in creative new ways.

Toggle Media, a Sydney based, but ‘office-less’, new interactive media company which develops online education utilising existing face to face and paper based learning materials, has just gained a contract through ISIS (Interactive Skills Integration Scheme) to work with ARK (a gaming company), and the University of New England’s SiMERR Australia to turn a facilitated literacy and numeracy program into an interactive online and mobile delivered product.

This is a federally funded project under DEEWR and DBI and is led by Australia’s leading centres for creative industries research and business development: the Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC), the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi) and QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA).

The aim of the project is to provide the opportunity for start up new media companies to partner with established businesses to provide a positive long term outcome.

Involvement in an ISIS Pilot Integration provides Interactive Media practitioners with an opportunity to extend their skills across industry sector boundaries and bolster their professional development by working closely with dedicated business transformation mentors and experts from selected industry sectors.

Call Margaret Cameron on 0418 708 567 or email if you’d like to know more.

(Margaret is a very collaborative person and a long-time Cockatoo member – Editor)


South Australia’s multimedia cluster

September 9, 2011

SA once ran Australia’s best cluster program. The main architects were Mick O’Neill (until recently Deputy CEO, SA Dept. of Trade & Economic Development) and ex-Irishman Hugh Forde. In this exclusive series, Mick provides Cockatoo readers with the lowdown on the origins and performance of another cluster. In recent editions we have featured water, defence, spatial information – refer our blog.

 Multimedia was one of the two original pilots, selected largely due to the interest from both state and federal governments at the time. In particular there was a federal program to establish a Cooperative Multimedia Centre in most capital cities.

 The cluster project was designed to complement the establishment of the CMC, engaging the industry and developing strategic projects (skills, awareness, research, networking etc.). The CMC subsequently provided a home for the initiatives so in this case there was no need or logic to establish a new entity.

The cluster projects had a finite life and the CMC continued much longer albeit also closing down some years later. Arguably the initiatives contributed to the growth of the sector in their own right but there is no sense of a multimedia sector/cluster today although there is a proliferation of web developers and a digital content ‘sector’ providing animation and post-production to the international film industry, game development, Iphone and Ipad apps, industrial simulation etc. Many of these activities can be traced back to the multimedia initiatives and some of today’s success stories  were involved and will say the cluster activities contributed along the way – if only to enable networking, generate confidence, validation etc.

 Once again we need to be careful about using the term failed cluster but there is undoubtedly a lesson about responding to government priorities rather than looking at the economic fundamentals of the sector.

 Regards, Mick O’Neill 0416 079 089

South Australia’s water and spatial information clusters

August 10, 2011

 SA once ran Australia’s best cluster program. The main architects were Mick O’Neill (until recently Deputy CEO, SA Dept. of Trade & Economic Development) and ex-Irishman Hugh Forde. In this exclusive series, Mick provides Cockatoo readers with the lowdown on the origins and performance of two more clusters.


 This is similar success story to that of defence, where state government funding and alignment with policy were also critical. The sector/cluster was chosen in conjunction with a state government project to outsource management of the water assets in Adelaide(state capital) with commitments/obligations for industry development. Cluster development had been proposed by the successful bidder (United Water) during the bid process (based on advice from consultants from Stanford Research Institute). Hence United Water readily embraced the MFP/Business Vision 2010 process.  A new entity was established (Water Industry Alliance), state government provided substantial funding, United Water provided significant leadership, in-kind resources and international linkages and the entity is still operating successfully. Exports from the industry have grown from A$40m to A$400m over the past 10 years and the industry has grown accordingly. (

 Devils advocates will say that the industry growth would have happened anyway. But United Water, theAllianceand many of its participants will say that, notwithstanding contractual obligations, the cluster model provided an effective process, a focus, an industry identity which did not previously exist, an ongoing mechanism for engaging with the existing and emerging local industry, and ongoing facilitation to make it all happen. TheAlliancestill actively uses the word “cluster” in referring to its operations and its stakeholders.

 The industry now has momentum and critical mass, despite the outsourcing contract has finished. TheAllianceis currently facing significant funding issues with a substantial reduction in government funding. Once again the ongoing sustainability of the entity is not synonymous with the health of the cluster, although many of us would argue that it will continue to add value to the growth of the sector as long as it exists.

 Spatial Information

 A similar initiative to water – off the back of a government outsourcing initiative, with industry development objectives. There was significant industry engagement and activity addressing strategic issues. An entity was formed and continued for some years, supported by Fujitsu as the lead outsourcing contractor. The anticipated level of government business was not forthcoming and Fujitsu eventually withdrew its support.

 Today there is little evidence of a spatial information sector/cluster, although there is much spatial information activity undertaken by ICT companies, engineering services companions and government departments. Effectively Spatial Information (like multimedia and desk-top publishing before it) has proven to be a technology and a process as opposed to an industry. Here we can thus talk about a failed cluster. Arguably it was selected for the wrong reasons and technology and the market evolved to overtake it.  

 Regards, Mick O’Neill 0416 079 089


Another hub in Victoria – get the drift?

October 18, 2010

The federal and Victorian governments have provided support (unidentified) for the first IBM global R&D laboratory anywhere in the world.

It will employ 150 highly-skilled staff and PhD students, located at the University of Melbourne where researchers can work side-by-side to help tackle international issues e.g. managing natural disasters, using natural resources efficiently, fighting diseases, boosting agricultural yields, harnessing the power of biotechnology.

Premier Brumby said the project cements Victoria’s reputation as the ICT capital of Australia following the National Broadband Network’s decision to build their hub in Melbourne, and the release of the government’s $110 million ICT strategy.

MD Glen Boreham said “Aligned with its drive to build a Smarter Planet, IBM has been drawn to Australia by the availability of world-class talent, the innovation environment, continent-scale opportunities and Australia’s robust economy.”


Brainport, Netherlands

May 9, 2010

We have been sharing a dialogue with John Jung (Canada) about hubs and precincts, and he suggested we take a look at Brainport.

John was there recently, and he noted that ‘not only is the cooperation very close within the region, but also ‘over the border’ where Brainport clusters its strengths. Globally there are Brainport connections among industry, knowledge institutions and governments.

So we chased up more details on Brainport, and the following came to light.

1. Specific European cooperation in technology and innovation is conducted in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) – Leuven (Belgium) – Eichen (Germany) triangle.

2. Brainport is an attractive place for foreign companies and knowledge workers to locate because of the favourable combination of knowledge and manufacturing, education and career opportunities.

3. Population of 210,000 – one of the powerhouses of the Dutch economy (14% of GDP) and 40% of Dutch R&D.

4. Region holds 3rd place on European Innovation Scoreboard. Ambition to take No. 1 spot by 2013.

5. Sometimes referred to as ‘Light Town’, due to Philips Lighting as anchor investor.

6. Closest big cities are Antwerp (Belgium) Düsseldorf (Germany). Amsterdam 125 km away.

7. Located on major transport routes, with an airport.

8. City of sports – PSV football team, swimming, horse riding. Excellent sports facilities – pools, hockey fields, ice rinks, indoor ski/snowboard centre, climbing wall, country clubs, spectacular golf course.

9. Van Abbe museum is internationally recognised for its modern art collection.

10. Quality and diversity of shopping facilities – weekly markets, designer boutiques.

11. Nature reserves, cycling/hiking routes, camping & holiday resorts.

Angles for Cockatoo members

– Is this place as good as it reads?
– What would really be useful is an understanding of the processes by which it was developed – the champions, the nature of national government support, the role of Philips, the governance system.
– Is it a model for other cities?
– How can other regions form an alliance with Brainport?


Rhine and Paris are tops for IT

March 25, 2010

Germany’s Rhine-Main-Neckar region is Europe’s “Silicon Valley”, and the Paris region is ranked second, ahead of South East England. The United Kingdom has three regions in the top ten. 

 Truffle Capital has published its “Truffle 100 European Clusters” ranking of Europe’s top 42 regions for the software industry. This mapping is based on a survey undertaken with support of Viviane Reding (EC Commissioner) in collaboration with analysts CXP and the “Top 100 Research Foundation”.

 “It is a recent trend for the European Union to define Europe as regions and not as countries,” CEO and co-founder of Truffle Capital, Bernard-Louis Roques told IT Europa. “So we discussed with different political partners and software companies to know how Europe was doing compared to other clusters such as the Silicon Valley and the Boston area.”

 The four flagships are Rhine-Main-Neckar in Germany (€12.5bn revenue), then Paris region (Ile-de-France), (€2.5bn), third is South-East England (€1.9bn) and fourth is North-East England (€1.4bn).

 “That Ile-de-France is the second European region isn’t surprising, because France is a country extremely centralised, where everything happens in Paris,” explained Roques, “but a lot of French companies have been acquired in the last two years, representing about €1.5bn,” such as GL Trade (French No. 4) bought by Sunguard, Ilog (No. 5) bought by IBM, Viveo (No. 13) bought in December by a Swiss company, or Business Objects also in the Paris region, that represented about €1bn that was bought by SAP. And that explains also why “the Rhine-Main-Neckar region is growing its lead,” he continues. “This is mainly due to acquisitions by German companies, such as Software AG or SAP.”

contributed by Graeme Vickery, OECD, Paris


Singapore approach re data services

April 15, 2009

Dear Rod, Greetings from Singapore! I was kindly referred to you by Mr. Mahesh Rathod who is the country head for India Investments at AUSTRADE in Mumbai.


I was interested in examining if you maybe interested in trying our CEIC db? Or if you could point me in the right direction of who else could consider trying CEIC in AU? And considering a subscription to assist research work on Asia. CEIC data is a comprehensive macroeconomic & sector data service, widely used by economists and researchers in Asia and globally.


We are part of the Euromoney Group, publishers of the Euromoney, Asiamoney magazines etc.


More about CEIC at and


Thanks for your kind attention, and look forward to your reply.



Pradeep Fernandes
Regional Business Development Manager


ISI Emerging Markets (Singapore)



Hardware & Software – China & India

April 15, 2009

A new book, “The Emergence of the Hardware and Software Industries in China and India”, presents the first rigorous comparison of the growth of the IT industries in China and India.


Based on interviews with 300+ companies. Explains the different growth paths of the software and hardware sectors, and why India is the software capital of the world while China is a manufacturing powerhouse.


Compelling case study of how differences in economic policies and the investment climate affect industrial growth. Cost $US25.


Go to


Professor Bhide’s Venturesome Economy!

January 15, 2009

Professor Amar Bhide has captured worldwide interest with his latest offering ‘The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity In A More Connected World’ (Princeton University).

As Clancy Yeates pointed out in the Sydney Morning Herald in December, Bhide’s thesis is that the “techno-nationalists” are fighting the wrong battle – no one disputes R&D is critical for creating economic wealth over time, but it’s too simplistic to see the benefits of a new idea going only to the country where it takes place.

Instead, globalisation means the benefits of a good idea can be spread throughout all the links in the chain of production. And it’s not always the inventor who benefits.

For example, the iPod has been tremendously profitable for Apple – sales of $150 million and climbing – but it was invented by Singapore’s Creative Technology and in fact received $100 million from Apple for a patent infringement. But Apple’s contribution was to create a novel fashion item, which led to spectacular sales, especially in the US. iPods are assembled in China with parts from elsewhere in Asia, but Bhide says the value add through marketing, selling and distributing iPods in the US is about the same as its production value.

In short, the iPod is an example of how US needn’t be locked into a “winner takes all race for scientific and technological leadership” – innovation on foreign territory has helped the US economy.

Source: NDOE.


Life Sciences network begins in Melbourne (BEST PRACTICE)

November 12, 2008


Hi Cockatoo, trust you are well.  I’d be grateful if you could make mention of the new network that has been established in Melbourne recently, the ICT for Life Sciences Forum.


Much has been written in recent years about the so called convergence of difference disciplines and the medical and life sciences and how this convergence has the potential to lead to new breakthroughs that could impact health and welfare. In 2006 the Victoria Research Laboratory of NICTA, with funding support from the State Government, undertook to build a new research program which would demonstrate the enabling benefits that ICT could bring to the medical and life sciences. 


Computing and engineering can now be increasingly applied to address issues facing medical and life sciences researchers. These range from providing superior productivity – for example, by speeding up the time it takes to analyse masses of data – to taking advantages offered by the microelectronics revolution to enable the emerging field of medical bionics, where implants and prostheses are able to sense the performance of bodily functions and in some cases restore their function.


We are recruiting a large pool of engineering and PhD students, approximately 50, to undertake research on how engineering can enable medical research.  This is an exciting development, but it has its challenges, the foremost of which is the communication required in this multidisciplinary collaboration. This has led us to work with research institutions, mostly in Melbourne, involved in multidisciplinary research.  


The principal focus of the ICT for Life Sciences Forum is to network local researchers from the different research disciplines. 


The prospect of breakthroughs from multidisciplinary research will only remain a prospect unless the doers – the research scientists – can effectively work together and understand each other.  We are hoping that by networking researchers across Melbourne, we might start to see the benefits emerge downstream with novel solutions in the market. 


There is a lot of excitement about the initiative among the research community, and we will be holding many events and presentations in the coming year.  We held what will become the Forum’s major annual event, the Graeme Clark Oration, in late October. The Oration honours the work and achievement of Professor Graeme Clark, the inventor of the bionic ear. His perseverance and achievement should serve an inspiration for young researchers. Your support in raising the profile of the Forum would be very much appreciated.


Regards, Luan Ismahil, Melbourne –