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Internet of Things improving Australian lives

Internet of Things improving Australian lives

Credit: Shutterstock/sdecoret.

The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), funded in part by the ARC Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects (LASP), has released a report highlighting the significant benefit Australia can derive from the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT describes the network of physical objects – ‘things’ – that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet. Examples of these include home devices, health wearables, agricultural sensors, and autonomous factories and mines.

It is estimated that there were 16 million IoT devices in Australia in 2018, and that by 2022 there will be 29 billion connected devices in the world, of which around 18 billion will be related to IoT.

The ARC-supported study explores a range of applications across Australian cities and regions; to create an on-demand manufacturing sector, monitor carbon emissions in our supply chains, track energy usage in our homes, enhance telehealth to tailor patient care and support the monitoring and treatment of COVID-19 patients in their own homes. The report provides critical evidence of the IoT’s potential opportunities and challenges, and outlines practical measures for governments, industry and community.

Australia’s former Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, who commissioned the report on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council, says the research examines how we can improve the way we live through using technology. It also shows how industries can grow by facilitating better processes and automation.

‘The Internet of Things could help us monitor environmental disasters, support pandemic management and enhance the delivery of services to regional and remote populations. It can also be useful to track and demonstrate sustainability in supply chains, such as low emissions products, and will assist industry to create a greater trust in data,’ says Dr Finkel.

The Chair of the study’s expert group, Professor Bronwyn Fox, says ‘Australians have wholeheartedly embraced digital transformation across a range of sectors such as manufacturing, mining, food and agriculture. To maintain our competitive advantage, it is vital that policy makers, industry and community work together to ensure we can continue to evolve and use IoT for the benefit of businesses and individuals in cities and regional Australia.’


‘Reflecting on the challenges of 2020, IoT could help us monitor environmental disasters, support pandemic management and enhance the delivery of services to regional and remote populations,’ says Dr Alan Finkel.

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