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NICTA's glimpse of tomorrow's tech: pics

National ICT Australia (NICTA) has thrown its doors open for the seventh time in as many years, inviting all to see what's next in cutting-edge technology and also to open the Digital Productivity Showcase, a demonstration of future applications that will likely use and show the capabilities of the National Broadband Network.
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Topic: Networking
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1 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA CEO Hugh Durrant-Whyte opens Techfest, reflecting on the past year as one that has been an "exciting, exhilarating and exceptional one for NICTA, both in terms of building outstanding research excellence and in delivering major wealth creation outcomes for Australia in the ICT space".

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2 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA's Networks Research Group has developed a prototype series of robust wireless mesh network nodes that can be deployed in instances of disaster or emergency.

The idea is that they can be dropped out of helicopters flying over an affected area to provide ground support with an instant communications network.

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3 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

They also automatically adapt how they route, allocate wireless channels and throttle data rates by monitoring the network. The simulation seen here demonstrates how the mesh network adapts when it encounters a good or bad link between two nodes.

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4 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

Inside the booth, an application called BrainGauge performs speech analysis on subjects to gauge how much stress they are under.

Some of the applications it could be used for include determining customer satisfaction when they call customer service centres, but also analysing call centre staff themselves to determine how likely there are to make mistakes, or if they are under too high a mental workload.

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5 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA senior researcher Scott Sanner walks through a demonstration of how big data, in this case a series of articles, can be visually navigated. By using dictionaries and linguistics, analysts can determine the sentiment behind issues of interest.

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6 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA technology strategist Dr Dean Economou demonstrates a collaborative technology that the organisation is hoping to move to the cloud. It allows designers and directors working on visual projects to annotate and communicate issues they may have on a shared project.

Previously, this sort of feedback would require the scene or issue to be described over the phone, or require the physical presence of the assisting parties, but now they can be in the next room or next country, and simply circle the problem on the screen.

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7 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA senior researcher Sebastien Ardon walks through the next generation of TV, which includes linking what users are watching with social media services such as Twitter.

Users will be able to see tweets appear on their TV in real time, and according to their individual profiles, have content catered towards their specific interests.

NICTA already has an agreement with the ABC to use all iView content and is about to sign agreements with a housing estate and a major university to further trial the technology.

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8 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA senior research engineer John Judge demonstrates how he can help a customer, speaking a foreign language, fill in forms with a translator, as if all three parties were in the same room.

Judge is able to relay the conversation through a translator on an audiovisual stream and the client is able to show Judge the documents. Judge is then able to verify the documents are filled out correctly and make copies to have them processed.

Although the aim of the project is to replicate the existing experience of walking into a government customer service centre such as Centrelink, Judge expects that in the future the project could be expanded to include facial recognition to assist in confirming the customer's identity and instant document verification.

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9 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

Research group leader for software systems at NICTA, Anna Liu, demonstrates a tool for users wishing to, or already taking advantage of, cloud services.

The four-part product, called Yuruware, enables customers to switch cloud providers, monitor their cloud applications, compare other providers and trim their idle resources. The latter two are already commercially available.

Liu said that in the event of a disaster or outage in a geographical location, users would be easily able to move their entire cloud services to another provider. Such a move would require the development of standards, of which Liu said it already participates in and has received quite positive feedback on already.

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10 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

Senath director Kanchana Wickremasinghe gives an overview of OneSME, a "cloud in a box" product aimed at small to medium enterprises that may not have the necessary technical knowledge to get their business online using the cloud. It can be used for simple cases such website hosting or scaled up to customer relationship management systems or complete e-commerce applications.

It currently has partnerships with Rackspace and OrionVM, and expects more providers to sign on to OneSME and differentiate themselves from each other through the different value-add services they may provide. It also uses Yuruware to help monitor cloud applications.

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11 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA senior researcher Michael Norrish runs through software that helps with conveyancing. It is able to look through documents and determine where contradicting, redundant or inconsistent rules in legal documentation exist, acting as a form of "legalese" translator.

By understanding the underlying logic that should exist in a document, it allows documentation to be corrected earlier in the business process while lawyers are still engaged by a customer.

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12 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

NICTA senior researcher Rami Makhtur demonstrates how an army of analysts, only affordable for large trading firms or similar, can be replaced by software that provides greater insight into data. While this data might come in the form of huge datasets, the software also runs on the provider's back-end systems, meaning that smaller trading firms would be able to have access to these insights without having to worry about the infrastructure.

The idea of analysing big data isn't restricted to securities, however. NICTA could potentially apply it to any area with large amounts of unstructured data including keyword analysis or audio analysis.

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13 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

Senior researcher Jonathan Gray discusses a performance assurance technology called ePASA, which can help identify performance problems in business-critical systems before they're even switched on.

It is able, for example, to model and simulate the business choice of buying or renting a new datacentre, going to a public cloud or using a government private cloud. From these options, it can show a comparison of those options side by side and show information such as the cost characteristics of each.

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14 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

TrustWorks360 director James Kelaher runs through a proposal to develop a digital wallet where users can transact with other parties with minimal disclosure of their personal information.

It also allows users to quickly register without having to repeatedly fill in electronic forms, and also set their preferences as to how they are contacted.

It is now being introduced by the UK Government and similar to what the US is currently doing. It is currently being examined by the Australian Government on how it can be used to purchase prepaid SIM cards.

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15 of 15 Michael Lee/ZDNet

(Credit: Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

Information Integrity Solutions managing director Malcolm Crompton, who was also the Australian Privacy Commissioner until 2004, is currently working with Kelaher on the digital wallet proposal.

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