OzTech: 19 5G innovation projects get funded; Victoria NBN upgrades; Triple Zero can track caller’s location; Telstra to improve connectivity in rural, remote communities

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

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19 projects for the 5G Innovation Initiative announced

The Australian federal government has doubled the grant value for the first round of the 5G Innovation Initiative program announced in February 2021 from $10 million to $20 million.

Due to an “overwhelming” interest in the program, the government brought the full funding for the program forward. The program was created to help small to large businesses test and develop 5G uses, applications, services, and products.

Projects will take place over a 12-month period across many sectors, including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transport, and education and training.

Here are the 19 projects and how much each was granted:

  • Agsensio ($932,850) will work with Zetifi on 5G-enhanced mobile broadband for agricultural applications, testing long-range 5G gateways in agricultural applications.
  • The Aqura Technologies ($1,931,254) 5G underground experience initiative is focused on the creation of a private 5G LTE network technical architecture and commercial model to be delivered in an operating underground mine. It will test 5G as a viable underground network wireless broadband technology.
  • Australian Meat Processor ($412,000) will implement a 5G-enabled technology platform to address improvements in the quality assurance process of meat production.
  • Brimbank City Council ($1,181,258) plans to automates asset condition monitoring and auditing, reducing the time (to within a week) to identify and document all of Brimbank’s road and roadside assets requiring maintenance, and provide real time information to maintenance crews.
  • Conigital ($1,446,982) will test 5G’s capabilities in remotely controlling a vehicle, switching ownership between the driverless and remote-control systems, and exchanging necessary data for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications.
  • Gidarjil Development Corporation ($284,000) will demonstrate full high-definition video streaming, remote participant interaction, and remote participant control of drones via the internet. It will engage the elders present and emerging in care for land and sea country by removing physical barriers that have previously made it difficult to attend remote locations.
  • HMI Technologies ($1,428,420) will demonstrate 5G applications that enable safe, efficient, and reliable operation of automated shuttle vehicles to provide enhanced mobility for disabled and elderly passengers.
  • Liminal VR ($793,736) will develop the Interchange training program for virtual reality and AI soft skills training streamed at low latencies.
  • Maxart ($250,000) will test 5G-enabled software for real-time streaming of construction site digital twins.
  • Nokia Solutions and Networks Australia ($923,613) aim to demonstrate how 5G can be used to offload both sensor data and intensive processing from a cobot (collaborative robot) to an edge-cloud compute platform capable of processing this data and, based upon the processing, instruct the cobot how to interact with its surroundings.
  • Nokia Solutions and Networks Australia ($1,913,013), under a proposal from Nokia and the South Australian government, are proposing the National 5G Industrial Incubation Lab to deliver rail safety in rail corridors via camera and scene analytics using big data, airport situational awareness for securing public safety using HoloLens and video cameras, and power-over-voltage management in a power network via distributed edge compute via 5G connectivity.
  • Optus Networks ($648,000) in partnership with Endeavour Energy, Unleash Live, and Amazon Web Services will trial the use of drones and vehicles equipped with 5G-connected ultra-high-definition cameras with computer vision to monitor Endeavour’s critical electrical infrastructure.
  • Qube ($2,000,000) is developing the Moorebank Logistics Park for the efficient movement of containers from Port Botany to onsite warehouses using 5G communications to link automated vehicles to the central fleet management.
  • Rheinmetall Defence Australia ($1,496,627) aims to use low-band 5G to support long-range remote control of an autonomous firefighting tank.
  • Spatial Information Systems Research ($1,127,100) will work on a 5G precise positioning testbed using the Optus network supported by Ericsson and GMV, to demonstrate and measure the economic benefits of four business applications using 3G cellular networks in the agriculture and consumer sectors and help inform future 5G investment decisions.
  • Swoop Aero ($816,750) will develop 5G-enabled telecommunications infrastructure to enable ultrareliable unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) command and control across remote and unserviceable locations, and for real-time high-definition/4K video streaming for low-latency machine-driven analysis enabling life-saving coastal monitoring.
  • TPG Telecom ($1,455,000) aims to show how 5G networks can complement AI-enabled image processing, computer vision, and edge computing technologies to enable enabled livestock counting with real-time data validation.
  • Transdev Sydney Ferries ($380,860) plans to deliver a safer environment for its passengers using 5G network capacity and performance to support live video-stream viewing.
  • Vapar Innovation ($120,000) will work to improve wastewater pipe inspections using AI and 5G.

Victoria helps fund NBN connectivity upgrades

The Victoria government has granted $73 million in funds to NBN Co. for upgrades to business connectivity, regional connectivity for communities served by fixed-wireless and satellite services, and fibre-to-the-node to -fibre-to-the-premises-enabled technology area flips.

NBN Co. has made funding available through its $300 million Regional Co-Investment Fund and its $700 million Business Fibre Zone program to partner with the Victoria government for projects agreed between both parties.

The first project will extend fibre into selected communities, and create 11 new business fibre zones in Benalla, Colac, Cranbourne East, Cranbourne South, Dromana, Hamilton, Lara, Packenham North, Packenham South, Warragul, and Wonthaggi-Inverloch. As a result, 10,000 businesses will have access to 1Gbps speed plans, which will come at a discount.

Triple Zero calls can track caller’s location

Triple Zero calls can now be tracked following the rollout of advanced mobile location (AML) technology for iOS or Android operating systems.

The technology, which is only activated during an emergency Triple Zero 000 and 112 calls, helps emergency services pinpoint the exact location of callers.

An AML-enabled smartphone recognises when an emergency call is made to Triple Zero and, if not already activated, activates the phone’s location-services functions for the duration of the call. The smartphone assesses the location information available using a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile network information, and other sensor inputs to calculate the caller’s location.

Once the caller’s location is identified, the smartphone automatically sends an SMS with the estimated location to the emergency call service. The process takes approximately 25 seconds and AML is deactivated once the call is finished. Smartphones will not retain a record of the SMS sent, and a caller is not able to retrieve it.

According to Paul Fletcher, the minister for communications, urban infrastructure, cities, and the arts, the technology has already been used in South Australia to help emergency services locate two kayakers caught in strong winds.

Fletcher is encouraging local citizens to update their Android and iOS smartphones with the latest software version. AML will work automatically with Android 4.1 or higher with Google Play services installed; iPhone users need to run iOS 14.3 or later to have access to this service.

Telstra to improve connectivity in rural and remote communities in Victoria and Queensland

Telstra, the Victoria government, and Olam Orchards will work together to improve connectivity between Wemen and Beverford in northern Victoria, including a 40km stretch of the Murray Valley Highway. The area is where almond producer Olam is located.

Three new 4G mobile base stations will be built at Annuello, Beverford, and Wandown, and a new 4G mobile small cell will be place in Woorinen South, which will give better 4G mobile coverage to about 2,650 homes and businesses, according to the state government, which says it has invested $3.2 million in this project.

The state government also announced a “boost” in mobile coverage in Mallacoota with new mobile infrastructure to help the region recover from the bushfires of 2019-2020.

This is part of the $550 million Connecting Victoria program that focuses on getting more Victorians access to business-grade broadband and upgrading mobile coverage, and improving access to safety information during bushfires and other emergencies.

In Queensland, Telstra will build mobile base stations, install satellite small cells, and provide battery backup to improve its existing 4G mobile coverage in the Carpentaria, Cloncurry, and McKinlay shires, among others.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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