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Cisco invests in Australian IoT innovation centre

Steve Rogerson
February 17, 2016
A Cisco-backed IoT innovation centre has opened in Sydney, Australia. Innovation Central is aimed at inspiring and showcasing IoT innovation and development, bringing together customers, industry partners, research organisations, start-ups, accelerators, government and universities.
The Sydney centre will combine with Cisco’s established centre in Perth, in addition to eight other Cisco Innovation Centres in Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Songdo, Berlin, Barcelona, Tokyo, London and Paris.
Innovation Central will be located at ATP Innovations, an Australian technology incubator and community of technology entrepreneurs. The initial ecosystem partners include Csiro’s Data61, University of New South Wales (UNSW), National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), NSW Farmers, ATP Innovations and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. The centre will also link into a hub on the campus at UNSW.
"As the leading engineering institution in Australia, we know that Innovation Central – and the Cisco Innovation Hub at the UNSW campus – will strengthen linkages between industry and the research sector,” said Mark Hoffman, dean of engineering at UNSW. “It will enable internet of things and cybersecurity research to be undertaken by postgrads and undergrads that will also lead to new businesses, jobs and careers in the field.”
Cisco is investing US$15m over five years to these Australian centres, reaffirming its commitment to generating economic growth through technology innovation derived from digital transformation, IoT and cybersecurity. Partners are also making significant investments that are expected to exceed this figure.
Cisco experts, together with industry partners and ecosystem start-ups, will develop proof-of-concepts, features and functionalities and do rapid prototyping. The centre will incorporate dedicated space to demonstrate IoT in action and open areas where customers, start-ups, open communities, researchers, entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts are afforded an environment to develop new ideas and technologies.
“Australia is a sophisticated market with a high level of innovation and is an early adopter of new technology," said Ken Boal, vice president for Cisco in Australia and New Zealand. “Australia is highly regarded globally for its resources and agriculture sectors, ensuring the nation is well-placed to serve the rapidly growing markets within Asia, and the government has prioritised these sectors accordingly. We are confident that our investment, as well as that of our partners, will help to accelerate the government’s recently announced National Innovation & Science Agenda – an impressive agenda that requires industry to support collaborative innovation initiatives. The aim of Innovation Central Sydney is to turn innovation into real commercial solutions based on IoT in agriculture, smart cities and transportation in Australia.”
Adrian Turner, CEO at Data61, added: “As the leading ICT research organisation in Australia, we see our foundational partnership in Innovation Central as an opportunity to build and extend relationships in the local and global IoT ecosystem. It will also facilitate deeper collaboration and high impact outcomes with Cisco and other partners around our cybersecurity and data analytics research. This aligns well with Data61’s strategy of building an applied data research network to help create new technology-based industries for Australia in domains where we have competitive advantage, and cement our position as a global leader in the next wave of computing. Our strength industries are the ones that stand to benefit most from the IoT.”
And Hamish Hawthorn, CEO for ATP Innovations, said: “ATP Innovations partners with technology-based start-ups and entrepreneurs to help them grow, achieve success and find investment through the support of personalised assistance and mentoring. Hosting Innovation Central inside our incubator will add value to existing and future portfolio companies and provide a dynamic link between start-ups, industry and research that will be the first of its kind in Australia.”