NTT signs MoU with NSW government to anchor at Sydney's new tech hub

Elsewhere in New South Wales, the state government expands its BusBot trial in Coffs Harbour.

Japanese tech giant NTT is the latest company set to join the technology community at Tech Central, a new Sydney Innovation and Technology precinct in the CBD slated for completion in 2025.

NTT has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the New South Wales government to be an anchor tenant at the precinct. It will join the likes of Atlassian and NEC.

Additionally, the NSW government boasted the MoU means the state government can leverage NTT's technology to "cement Tech Central as a new smart city".

"We're powering ahead and turbocharging our tech industries through Tech Central, with a focus on areas such as urban development, transportation, cyber security, virtual environment, energy and agriculture technology," Minister for Jobs and Investment Stuart Ayres said.

"Through this MoU we would look to support the jobs of tomorrow and develop innovative ecosystems for cyber security start-ups and scale-ups at Tech Central, laying the foundation for new industries that drive our economic recovery."

Read also: Transport for NSW confirms data taken in Accellion breach

Plans to turn the CBD into a smart city falls under the NSW government's Smart Places Strategy and Smart Infrastructure Policy that was announced last August.

Under those plans, the government hopes to see all smart places be embedded with sensors and communications technology in infrastructure and the natural environment; see sensors and technology solutions be used to capture, safely store, and make government-acquired data available; and be able to communicate information and insights using the data to drive decisions.

Additionally, from next month, NTT will work towards establishing a cybersecurity centre of excellence to work with local partners to commercialise research and technology, as well as look to extend partnership with the local cybersecurity industry by launching bootcamp programs to attract talent to cybersecurity startups.

"NSW and NTT will promote and accelerate open collaborations and innovations, leveraging smart solutions and ICT platforms that will realise smart buildings, campuses and cities in a secure way," NTT president and CEO Jun Sawada said.

"NTT will also contribute to thought leadership on smart city and smart world together with NSW."

Elsewhere in the state, driverless automated buses will be operating in Coffs Harbour as part of a trial being run by the NSW government, EasyMile, and Busways.

The BusBot trial will see public passenger shuttle services operate in "true driverless mode"-- without a supervisor or a driver -- at the Coffs Harbour Botanic Garden, as the NSW government continues to trial the use of driverless buses.

BusBot was previously operating with a supervisor around Coff Habour's Northern Breakwall and the Marian Grove Retirement Village.

"We see the evolution of shared driverless vehicles paired with other public transport as a key part of transport strategies," EasyMile Asia-Pacific managing director Greg Giraud said.

"They support a reduction of private car ownership and lead to a redesign of our communities with less parking, garages and roads, and more green and social spaces. This will ultimately lead to less congestion, less pollution, and more liveable spaces and cities."

In more transport news, up to 10,000 digital Opal card users will be invited to take part in a trial that will allow commuters to use their digital Opal card to pay for their rideshare service. They will also be rewarded if they choose to transfer to public transport following their rideshare service. 

Under the trial, commuters will be able to pay for an Uber, a fixed fare Ingogo taxi trip, a Lime bike journey, or a Manly Fast Ferry using their digital Opal card, and if they choose to catch public transport within 60 minutes, their Opal account will be credited up to AU$3. 

The state government has also estimated that the trial will save Fast Ferry customers 10% on their ferry fare during peak times and 25% off their off-peak fare. 

"We know how convenient using one card is and this is just the beginning. If the trial is successful we will look into rolling it out across the network and we'll be inviting other providers to get on board too," Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said.   

The 12-month trial will kick off from mid-year. It is being run by Transport for NSW in partnership with Mastercard, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and EML Payments Limited.

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