NICTA to draw on analytics in new transport and logistics lab

NICTA has launched New South Wales' newest knowledge hub, the Transport and Logistics Living Lab, which is expected to help the freight and transport industry use analytics to address problems such as congestion.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

National ICT Australia (NICTA), together with the support of the New South Wales government, has launched the state's fifth and newest knowledge hub, the Transport and Logistics Living Lab (TALLL).

To be based out of NICTA's headquarters in Sydney, the TALLL has been designed to help the state's AU$58 billion freight and logistics industry reduce fragmentation and promote collaboration between businesses, research organisations, and industry associations.

NICTA infrastructure transport and logistics director Rob Fitzpatrick said the TALLL will pull together sophisticated analytics to address problems the industry currently faces, such as congestion, to enhance the transportation of people and goods.

"Data is where we bring stuff together and start to get information, and from the information, we start to get insights, and hopefully together collectively, those insights will lead to far better outcomes," he said.

"This is so that the AU$58 billion sector we have in NSW -- which is so much larger around Australia, but NSW is the dominant player, with Sydney driving 20 percent of the nation's economy -- if we, the transport and logistics sector, [start] working well here, we can get it working well around the nation, and that is a plus for everyone," he said.

Parts of the lab enable businesses to draw on analytics, as well as their own data, to learn, for instance, how they can best optimise their truck fleets and delivery routes. NICTA's TALLL leader Neil Temperley said that such exercises can potentially inform other transport organisations that road upgrades may be needed.

"The new Transport and Logistics Living Lab will also encourage open discussion into how we can implement new approaches to move goods and people more effectively. This is important since, as demand grows, people and goods increasingly compete for access to the same resources, such as roads and rail," he said.

"By working together and using cutting-edge technologies, we can get the most out of limited and constrained infrastructure and thereby keep congestion to a minimum. Our overall focus is to use technology to drive productivity, lower costs, reduce emissions, and improve safety."

The TALLL is one of five knowledge hub initiatives that have been established by the NSW government, as part of a commitment to invest AU$1.7 million over two years. The other knowledge hubs are focused on four other sectors: Financial services, digital creative, energy, innovation, and technology.

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the goal of the knowledge hubs is to support collaboration within each industry.

"Collaboration is the key. No single individual or entity, public or private, working in isolation will manage compared to businesses that don't collaborate. Innovative Australian businesses that do collaborate are more likely to increase productivity, more likely to increase profitability, three times more likely to increase the number of export markets targeted, and much more likely to increase employment," he said.

"It's not just about individual businesses giving away trade secrets to each other, but championing collaborative effort so you have great ideas that can be supported."

The first project that the TALLL will undertake is the export trusted trader project. According to Dominello, the project will explore how technology and business processes can improve security of supply chains by detecting potential tampering, unexpected door opening, or diverging from the scheduled journey in real time.

The TALLL has recruited more than 50 members, including large and small businesses and research and industry associations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Federation of International Forwarders (AFIF), the Export Council of Australia, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), and NSW government, including Transport for NSW.

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