Australian Government set to tackle Internet of Things

The Federal Government is expected to shortly announce an initiative to address the rapidly emerging Internet of Things amid calls from industry for the formulation of a National IoT strategy.

Industry body Communications Alliance has called for Australia to develop a National IoT strategy to drive IoT leadership, awareness and opportunity.

The recommendation comes from a draft report prepared by a Comms Alliance IoT think tank established in March this year. Details of the draft were revealed at a Comms Alliance seminar in Sydney.

Co-author of the report, Geof Heydon, from marketing consultancy Creator Tech, said responsibility for developing a national strategy should sit within the Department of Communications.

"The ICT sector is the engine room of IoT and therefore the responsibility ought to be in the DoC. So we need to get buy-in from the minister," he said. "We will be canvassing him. Our dream would be that he will say 'Hey, this makes great sense. Let's do it. Who should we have around the table?'"

Paul Paterson, head of the Bureau of Communications Research, within the Department of Communications said the department was on the verge of taking some initiative on IoT.

"The timing is good for approaching the Department of Communications on this. You need to prepare," he said.

The report's other co-author, Frank Zeichner, said that national IoT strategies and policies were more advanced in many of Australia's peer and customer countries, especially China, the US, the UK, Germany, Korea and India.

"When we look overseas, at our peers and at our customers, it is utterly evident that they are more advanced in their IoT narrative and strategy than we are. You can read it, you can see it, and here you don't read about it," he said. "There is nothing. No one at any level is saying anything."

He noted that the German government was investing €200 million to spur research into the application of IoT to manufacturing, and across government, academia and business.

"They lead because they are already talking about it. Because they are already solving the problems," Zeichner said.

He said that in contrast, in Australia the IoT think tank was the first persistent body talking about IoT.

"That is not good. The debate needs to widen," he said.

Zeichner said that overseas, IoT was being advanced by industry and government working together, and focusing on specific industry sectors.

"That is not about picking winners. It's about opening doors to where the opportunities are greatest."