Australian state reveals five-year IT plan

'It is vital the Victorian ICT industry thinks globally,' says ICT minister

Victorian information and communication technology minister Marsha Thomson has launched a five-year plan for the Victorian ICT industry that includes A$1 million to grow local ICT clusters and a further A$1.9 million for industry skills packages.

Thomson says the plan has identified new initiatives to support industry growth, in particular the area of government procurement, export and investment and workforce development.

"With worldwide investments in ICT tipped to grow beyond A$3 trillion, it is vital the Victorian ICT industry thinks globally," Thomson says.

"The Bracks government is committed to fostering the immense pool of ICT talent and innovation in Victoria and will continue to work with industry to help it become a truly world class and globally competitive ICT industry.

Key features of the plan include whole of government ICT procurement policies allowing contractors to retain intellectual property (IP) they develop under government contracts, A$1 million dollars over three years to establish and grow ICT clusters and networks, develop emerging market strategies to assist Victorian ICT companies to identify new export opportunities and doubling the commitment to ICT trade fairs and mission programmes.

A motion capture facility for the computer game industry will also be developed under the Victorian ICT Industry Plan 2005 -2010.

The launch of the plan coincided with a world first demonstration of an RFID system for tracking cyclists developed by Victorian ICT companies iCrystal and Victorian Machine Vision.

The RFID system, named RISE-C (Radio Frequency Identification in Sports Events - Cycling) can be attached to a cyclists' back to print race results locally, and even straight online.

iCrystal Director and head of the RFID Association of Australia, Mike Clarke, says there is even scope to combine the chips with a smart RFID licence card that can be scanned for cyclist details when officials record entries.

""RISE-C can provide real-time tracking of cyclists throughout a race and can publish live information to a computer for display to officials, to a screen for spectators, team managers, coaches and for printing results locally and even to the internet," Mr Clarke says.

Race finishes and placings can be captured by a high speed camera triggered by the RFID readers.

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