OzTech: Quantum hub comes to Tech Central; NSW extends digital photo card trial; IT popular in JobTrainer courses; Aussie spending on IoT and cloud services rises; NSW’s $6 million R&D fund

OzTech Roundup is Computerworld Australia’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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Quantum hub is Tech Central’s new addition

The Quantum Terminal will be the first collaboration space of the Sydney tech precinct Tech Central.

The New South Wales government is accepting expressions of interest for founding members of the Quantum Terminal from organisations within the quantum technology, high-performance computing (HPC), medical technology, artificial intelligence, and related technology markets.

The NSW government expects the quantum hub to be home to a community of researchers, educators, developers, programmers, and engineers who will help lead the development and innovation of quantum computing excellence.

In May 2021, the state government signed a five-year innovation partnership with Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, to help drive digital technology, manufacturing, and health innovation across NSW-based hubs, including Tech Central. The construction of the precinct has started but there is still no date for when it will be finalised due to the current COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney.

NSW extends trial phase of digital photo card

The New South Wales government has extended the trial of the digital photo card, launched in February 2021.

The trial initially covered Penrith and Blacktown and saw 6,560 people getting their digital version of the photo ID. The trial has now been extended to include 140,000 physical card holders from western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, covering 60 postcodes.

In February 2021, Mel Faeghy, New South Wales’s director of digital channels for digital licences at the Service NSW, told Computerworld Australia of a loose plan to have the digital photo card move from trial to a statewide rollout between March and April. He made clear at the time that if they found an opportunity to make something better or if an obstacle appeared, they would take the time to make it right before a wide launch.

The reason to extend to the new regions is because 20% of photo card holders live in those areas. The digital photo card can be accessed through the Service NSW app.

IT among most popular NSW JobTrainer courses

Since being announced in October 2020, the joint federal-state program to provide free courses to young people and those out of work due to COVID-19, JobTrainer, has seen 100,000 people enrolled in courses in New South Wales. The most popular areas were IT, health and individual support, community services, construction, and business administration.

Out of the 100,000 enrolments, there have been 35,000 completions. Courses vary in duration, with most being for 12 months or more.

Of the people enrolled in courses, 97% achieved their main goal for training, with the most common motivation being to get a job or progress their career. A spokesperson for the office of the minister for skills and tertiary education has told Computerworld Australia that some students have put their studies on hold as they were able to get a job during COVID-19.

A total of 94.5% of people said they achieved at least one work-related benefit from the training such as improved employability, expanding skills, and growing or starting their business.

NSW JobTrainer courses are available for young people, job seekers, and school leavers to gain vocational skills in Australia’s growing industries.

Spending increases on IoT and cloud services in Australia

Spending on internet of things (IoT) in Australia is expected to be more than $15.6 billion in 2021, with the IoT market set for continuous growth for the next four years, according to research firm IDC.

Some of the reasons for the expected continuous growth includes rising demand for smart devices, digital infrastructure, automation, and growing government initiatives.

Software will be the largest technology group in 2021, with annual growth of 11.1% in Australia. The IoT services market is the second largest, with 10.1% annual growth, followed by hardware at 8.9%—primarily driven by purchases of module and sensors —and connectivity at 5.9%.

Gartner forecasts Australian spending on public cloud services to reach $13.8 billion in 2021 and grow 23.4% to $16.7 billion in 2022.

Four trends are accelerating the growth in the public cloud services are four trends, Gartner says: cloud ubiquity, regional cloud ecosystems, sustainability, and automated programmable infrastructure.

NSW government’s $6 million R&D fund

The New South Wales government has announced a $6 million research and development fund to scale R&D products. Grants between $250,000 and $1 million are open for eligible businesses to apply during August 2021.

The state government also announced technology vouchers of between $25,000 and $50,000 per business to reduce costs by allowing access to expertise and equipment in New South Wales, through publicly funded research organisations such as universities, CSIRO, National Measurement Institute, and ANSTO.

There are two streams for the tech vouchers. One targets smaller projects with as long as six months duration and will provide up to $25,000 to eligible businesses. Another stream will target larger projects as long as 12 months duration and will provide up to $50,000 to eligible businesses.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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