Gigabit wireless project scores $1.43m funding boost

Commercialisation Australia has boosted the funding of National ICT Australia (NICTA). The $1.43 million grant is for NICTA to further develop its high speed gigabit wireless communications technology (‘GiFi’).

The funding, specifically provided to Nitero, a company formed by NICTA researchers to take the technology to market, will be used to reduce the size, power consumption and cost of the technology to enable its use in consumer devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones, mass storage devices and displays.

NICTA chief executive, Hugh Durrant-Whyte, said the funding would bring the research organisation’s vision of the wireless office and “home of the future” closer to reality.

“NICTA has made a significant investment in developing this technology since 2004 and this additional financial support will make a real difference to its market potential.”

NICTA’s Stan Skafidas, the leader of the gigabit wireless research, said the project was the result of at least 10 PhD students over a number of years.

“NICTA had the foresight to see the importance of millimetre-wave gigabit wireless technology in 2004... I am grateful for the support the project has received from key players in the global semiconductor industry, such as Cadence Design Systems, Synopsys, Anritsu and Agilent Technologies, and the support it received from the State Government of Victoria,” Skafidas said in a statement.

Commenting on the grant innovation minister, Senator Kim Carr, said the aim of Commercialisation Australia is to transform ideas and projects into commercial products in the market.

“This is essential if Australia is to get full value from its scientific and research capabilities,” Carr said. “Through Commercialisation Australia, the Government helps companies, entrepreneurs and inventors take up opportunities and create exciting and new products and industries.”

Nitero chief executive, Patrick Kelly, said the global electronics industry had shown an interest in the 60GHz solution.

“This substantial support by the Australian Government will allow us to continue to develop our product and bring the benefits of 60GHz to consumers worldwide,” he said.

Upon his appointment to CEO, Durrant-Whyte indicated his motivation to commercialise NICTA projects in order to better launch them onto a global stage.

“A company will go to the best place in the world, not just it’s local neighbourhood so we have to compete on that basis,” he said at the time.

“I think NICTA should be playing a pivotal role in really enabling the research to be undertaken such that all these applications and so on can be developed. But also it’s got the secondary role of world creation, whether that’s through assisting existing companies to do things like port or mining automation, all the way through to generating startup companies. If a guy has got a good idea and really wants to go for it and it makes commercial sense, NICTA should be there supporting these people to move on and do that and create wealth.”

Last year researchers from NICTA won the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Clunies Ross Award for work on Wi-Fi technology.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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