The Internet of Opportunity

By LAURIE PATTON | 4 August 2016

The biggest threat to our success as an Internet of Things (IoT) nation is a loss of trust by people at large. We need effective collaboration between government, industry and civil society to ensure we foster innovation in a manner that creates and ensures security and confidence.

As we consider our IoT future, technology is only part of the equation. Making sure that there is market for newfangled technology and technology based services was a key element that led to the DotCom boom / bust. Too many clever ideas with no serious, or only limited, market interest cruelled many a startup back then.

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Generalists and specialists in the Australian public service: Why the ‘theory of empty spaces’ hurts public sector performance

By LAURIE PATTON | 19 April 2016

The other day I was talking to a friend who recently retired from the public service. After a career lifetime of studied discretion he now wears as a badge of honour his entitlement to express independent views. Many of these are critical of the processes that played a pivotal part in his rise to a very senior posting.

I have a number of colleagues who are now ex-public servants, having held extremely high level executive roles. I enjoy hearing about their work experiences more now that they are unencumbered by ambition. Continue reading “Generalists and specialists in the Australian public service: Why the ‘theory of empty spaces’ hurts public sector performance”

The NBN is already out of date, but it’s not too late to change course

By LAURIE PATTON | 29 March 2016

Australia has fallen to 60th in global internet speed rankings. If we fell to 60th in the Olympics medal tally there’d be a national outcry. Just a few years ago we were 30th in terms of average peak internet speed, which is a key measurement of broadband performance.

Within our region we came eighth (even New Zealand is two places ahead of us). Singapore, with whom we are destined to be in serious competition as an Asia-Pacific innovation hub, already has internet speeds 100 times faster than ours.

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NBN stars collide – waiting for the Big Bang

By LAURIE PATTON | 10 March 2016 

Two stars collided in Canberra last week, but the big bang is yet to be heard.

On Thursday, a leak from somewhere inside NBN revealed that our nation building broadband company has been secretly trialling new, thinner, cabling that will significantly reduce installation costs for the entire fibre-optic backbone, including the technically superior fibre to the premises (FTTP) solution.

On Friday, the Senate Select Committee on the NBN held a one day hearing. Continue reading “NBN stars collide – waiting for the Big Bang”

Pirates of Perchance: How “site-blocking” could force up Internet fees but do little else

By LAURIE PATTON | 26 February 2018

Both Village Roadshow and Foxtel have launched court actions under the new Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act designed to deal with Internet “piracy”.

The first thing that needs pointing out is that downloading video and audio content over the Internet is a not a crime as such. It is, however, in breach of the intellectual property rights of the producers and distributors.

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Utopia: the professor, the public service, and the need for change

By LAURIE PATTON | 16 February 2016

In an article in The Mandarin former Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department, Professor Peter Shergold, is quoted urging public servants to adapt and to show courage.

Shergold is spot on. But before things can change we need to be willing to accept that mistakes are made, even by the best of people. Continue reading “Utopia: the professor, the public service, and the need for change”

Malcolm Turnbull: NBN killer or saviour?

By LAURIE PATTON | 28 December 2015

The ABC Online News headline was pretty blunt: “Abbott orders Turnbull to demolish NBN”. In the article itself then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is quoted as saying: “The Government is going to invest $43 billion worth of hard-earned money in what I believe is going to turn out to be a white elephant on a massive scale”.

Fast forward five years and the cost of the Coalition’s NBN is now put at $46-56 billion, with many experts maintaining that this significantly understates the likely real cost. Confusion and disagreement reign as to how long it will take to complete our much needed broadband rollout. Continue reading “Malcolm Turnbull: NBN killer or saviour?”

Data Retention: How not to introduce complex legislation

By LAURIE PATTON | 21 December 2015

One of my first tasks shortly after joining Internet Australia was to front the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). Our appearance at the hearing into the (Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015) came at the end of a long day of mostly opposing submissions.

With our president and the head of our policy committee sitting beside me I boldly told the committee that the Data Retention Bill was “fundamentally flawed” and had clearly been drafted by lawyers who didn’t understand how the Internet actually works. How prescient those comments have proven to have been.

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An innovation nation – the race to the top

By LAURIE PATTON | 25 November 2015

There’s no reason why Australia cannot be a leader in the Internet-driven, industrial era.

It is unusual for our two major political parties to find themselves joined at the hip on an issue of progressive national policy. But in the case of innovation, that’s just what’s happened. For a time, Labor had this one all to itself. Then, all of a sudden, a new prime minister made innovation a personal crusade. Both sides are now fighting to show who has the best innovation policy.

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