Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today announced that the government had reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NEC to promote technology innovations to build on the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out.
The understanding will see NEC keeping the government informed of its activities, particularly around aged care and intelligent transport systems, according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE). NEC said it would also receive information in the other direction to inform it of the needs of the Australian public.
"When you're in our shoes, what you're looking for is insight into where to prioritise your R&D," NEC Australia MD Alan Hyde told ZDNet Australia.
There was no money changing hands in the Memorandum of Understanding, he said, just information that would enable a stack of R&D spending.
The DBCDE already announced a MOU with Intel in October last year, which sees the government provide updates to Intel on the progress of its digital economy strategy and work with the company on possible initiatives to foster an "NBN-enabled" digital economy.
"Like the MOU signed with Intel in October 2010, this agreement formalises work with NEC. It further signals the government's intention to collaborate with industry to deliver an NBN-enabled digital economy," Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said in a statement.
He said that NEC brought experience to the relationship on delivering products such as broadband access systems, advanced robotics for aged care and road to vehicle communication systems.
"It is our intention to ensure that as the digital economy continues to develop across all facets of the economy and of society, that the infrastructure in place is supported by expert knowledge on its application," he said.
Although Intel also has experience in health systems, Hyde said that he wasn't concerned about the government making agreements with it, or other players. "We have so many challenges as a community that I'm not worried about treading on anybody's toes," he said.