Computerworld Top 10 Most Influential 2009 – #10 CSIRO's wireless win

There is no denying 2009 has been a dramatic year in the world of Australian ICT. And as the year draws to a close we thought it was time to recognise the people, products, organisations, trends and events that had the greatest influence throughout the year on the ICT industry and community by launching the inaugural Top 10 Most Influential.

The Top 10 Most Influential for 2009 kicks off with our 10th place getter —CSIRO's wireless patent win.

Computerworld will count down to the winner over the next two weeks with one article each day identifying from 10th place to number one.

Then, it’s over to you for the readers' choice award. We will open up the voting so you can decide the most influential person, product, organisation, trend or event for 2009.

We’ll publish the results on the website and in the February/March issue of Computerworld magazine.

But first, a look at why CSIRO's wireless patent win was selected as #10 in the Top 10 Most Influential in 2009.

#10 – CSIRO's wireless win

The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) decided to take on the heavy weights of the IT industry in 2005 and sued HP, Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Netgear, Toshiba, 3Com, Nintendo, D-Link, Buffalo Technologies, and others.

CSIRO claimed the companies had infringed a US patent held by the agency over its IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g Wi-Fi products, a standard used by almost every notebook and desktop wireless LAN device.

US patent 5487069 was authorised in January 1996 and covers a wireless LAN, including hubs and peer-to-peer networks.

The case had its ups and downs — notably with Buffalo Technologies gaining an injunction against CSIRO in December of 2008 — but in April this year, the agency settled the claim out of court with 14 companies.

In short, CSIRO came out victorious in what many had thought was an unwinnable fight.

The win is symbolic for many reasons, not least of which is that it proved a relatively small Australian player could take on the big boys of the ICT game.

It also boosted the financial fortunes of CSIRO to the tune of $205 million in the year to June 2009.

According to the organisation’s annual report the WLAN settlement helped turn a budgeted deficit of $34.2 million over the same period into a surplus of $122.0 million. The value of the out of court settlements, however, has remained confidential.

On the back of the win the agency has also announced it will invest up to $150 million from the proceeds into a new Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

For one of nation's leading research and development organisations and arguably for the local industry as a whole, the win is a highly influential result as it provides a much-needed boost to Australian ICT reaseach and development and shows local innovation can generate considerable financial and technological benefits to the rest of the world.

And the CSIRO’s Dr John O’Sullivan received the Prime Minister's Prize for Science and a $300,000 grant for his contribution to the development of IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g Wi-Fi products, (as well as contributions to astronomy) this year.

As a result of this historic win, the CSIRO wireless win was chosen as #10 in the inaugural Top 10 Most Influential.

More stories on CSIRO

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CSIRO opens Renewable Energy Integration Facility

Wireless inventor wins top science award

CSIRO gets $150m WLAN fund

Page Break

How we chose the Top 10 Most Influential 2009

The Top 10 Most Influential 2009 was chosen by a panel of 12 members comprising the Computerworld editorial team (4) and 8 industry experts (see below for details). Each member of the panel was given a list of suggested possible entries for inclusion in the final list. They were then encouraged to nominate 10 candidates and to add others if they thought them worthy of consideration.

To ensure the broadest possible range of products, people, trends, organisations and events were given a chance at being considered, no restrictions were imposed. In short, anything considered by a panel member to have been one of the biggest influences on the ICT industry and community throughout 2009 was acceptable.

The nominations (or votes) were then tallied by the Computerworld Editorial team and a short-listed created. The entry with the most votes was then selected as the Most Influential for 2009. Those entries with the same amount of votes then went through a count-back with a final decision made by the panel.

The Panel:

Computerworld Editorial Team:

Trevor Clarke (Editor) – See more stories by Trevor

Georgina Swan (Deputy Editor) – See more stories by Georgina

Tim Lohman (Journalist) – See more stories by Tim

Kathryn Edwards (Journalist) – See more stories by Kathryn

Frost Sullivan ICT practice head, Andrew Milroy Andrew Milroy heads up Frost Sullivan’s ICT practice in ANZ having joined the firm in 2006. Andrew has spent more than15 years in the ICT industry. He has held senior management roles at IDC and co-founded, NelsonHall, a successful IT services advisory firm in the United States. Andrew’s recent roles have been focused upon the development of research and consulting activities in Europe, Australia and the Asia Pacific region. His research focus has been ICT services, in particular outsourcing. He has also led research and consulting projects in cloud computing and sustainable IT. Visit the Frost amp; Sullivan website

IDC Associate Vice President Research, Australia, Tim Dillon Tim Dillon manages IDC’s Australian research operations. As part of his role Tim focuses on working with Senior IT executives from Australia’s leading ITT organisations across consulting projects, research and analysis areas such as; Telecoms, Software and Services. Tim has more than 17 years of professional experience in research. Having lived and worked both in Europe and Asia Pacific, Tim has a global perspective that provides a broader view of technology trends as it impacts Australia. Visit the IDC website

Intermedium Head of Consulting, Kevin Noonan Kevin specialises in the Government IT, as an industry analyst, consultant and commentator. For the last four years, he has provided consulting advice to more than half of the Top 100 ICT companies, and many government agencies. Kevin has more than thirty years experience in the government IT sector. This includes ten years as a government senior executive and Chief Information Officer, and a further eighteen years as a government manager and project director. During this time he held positions responsible for almost every aspect of IT, ranging from technical infrastructure and major procurement, through to policy and large scale business change. Visit Intermedium's website

Web Directions conference series co-founder and author, John Allsopp John Allsopp is a co-founder of the Web Directions conference series, and author of one of the earliest books on Microformats. As a software developer, long standing web development speaker, writer, evangelist and self proclaimed expert, he’s spent the last 15 years working with and developing for the web. As the head developer of the leading cross platform CSS development tool Style Master, and developer and publisher of renowned training courses and learning resources on CSS and standards based development, and author of the highly regarded “Dao of Web Design” he has been widely recognized as a leader in these fields. Visit the Web Directions website.

IBRS advisor, Dr Kevin McIsaac Dr Kevin McIsaac is the IBRS advisor for virtualisation, desktop deployment, mobile devices networks, servers storage and data centre infrastructure. He has 25 years of IT experience and is a recognised expert in infrastructure, operations and vendor management. Dr McIsaac has 10 years experience as an IT Analyst researching, distilling and disseminating best practices in IT and regularly work with the CIOs and the IT management teams of leading Asia-Pacific organisations. Prior to IBRS, Dr McIsaac was Research Director Asia-Pacific Group for META Group and has held leadership positions at Computer Associates and Functional Software. Visit the IBRS website.

Social media commentator and strategist, Laurel Papworth Laurel is one of Australia’s top social media strategists, a renowned keynote speaker and respected thought leader on the business of being social. She is in the Power150 Media and Marketing blogs globally (Advertising Age), # 3 Media Marketing blogger in Australian (BT Magazine), and regularly interviewed about social networks in international press and on Australian TV shows and Radio National, Vogue Australia, The Australian and the Fin Review, SMH, Telegraph, and various magazines. Visit Laurel's website.

Layer 10 Founder, Paul Brooks Paul Brooks is the founder of Layer10, a consultancy and advisory practice in the telecommunications industry specialising in broadband access, optical network design and service strategy.

Australian Information Industry Association CEO, Ian Birks Ian Birks was appointed AIIA Chief Executive Officer in July 2008. Prior to this he was a national board member of the AIIA, serving since 2004. As a board member Ian has been actively involved in industry workforce and skills issues, working as an advisor to the association’s initiatives in this area. Visit the AIIA website

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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