Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can provide the technologies to help Australia become a leading player in financial technology, precision agriculture, agribusiness, health care and senior care.

According to an article by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, “The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

Encompassing fields including artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage and quantum computing, the Fourth Industrial Revolution “has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world,” Schwab writes.

Australia is working to harness this potential as hyperconnectivity and digitization transform Australian cities and towns and create new business models in a number of sectors, redefining manufacturing, the future of work, customer experience and digital supply networks in the process.

IoT Alliance Australia (IoTAA) is the chief organization representing IoT technologies in Australia. The alliance was established in 2015 with the purpose of developing a focus for the IoT industry in Australia and to identify how IoT can be utilized to grow infrastructure and cities in Australia most effectively and efficiently. The IoTAA forecasts that IoT has the potential to contribute over $86 billion ($120 billion Australian) to Australia’s economy by 2025.

Over the past five years, Australia’s digital growth has doubled. However, digitization remains uneven and far from its full potential, with the pace and magnitude of digital transformation in the Australian economy varying significantly from industry to industry. Through increased collaboration among academic, public and private sector organizations, Australia has the potential to leverage emerging technologies to become a leading player in emerging areas such as financial technology, precision agriculture, agribusiness, health care and senior care.

The 2017 International Data Corporation “Readiness Index” ranked Australia as the fourth-most-capable and prepared country for sustained IoT adoption in the Asia/Pacific region, which Wisconsin exporters should consider with reference to this market. According to the index, Australia is also considered to be an attractive location for investment or expansion due to the level of overall infrastructure maturity, size of digitally aware skill base, and evidence of innovation.

On a national scale, the Australian Government has also announced its intention to develop a “Digital Economy Strategy” in 2018 in order to maximize the potential of digital technologies, improve productivity and competitiveness, and seize the benefits of emerging technologies and digital transformation in Australia.

At a more local level, a growing number of Australian cities are planning and implementing Smart Cities initiatives that harness IoT devices and solutions. Thus, they are receptive to international developers and researchers with proven IoT solutions that can address challenges related to issues such as energy efficiency, mobility, water and waste management.

Wisconsin developers of IoT technologies and solutions that are interested in breaking into or expanding their presence in Australia’s growing sector are therefore encouraged to:

  • engage with the IoTAA by joining as a member or attending workshops and trade expos hosted by the alliance, e.g., IoT Impact;
  • foster international collaboration and knowledge sharing between university researchers, the public sector (e.g., city governments) and private companies; and
  • consider visiting the Australian market to gain firsthand experience regarding the current IoT landscape and meet with key stakeholders (e.g., Smart City coordinators and the manufacturing, health care and agribusiness industries) in order to better understand current challenges and potential opportunities in specific Australian cities and industry sectors.