Category Archives: Uncategorized

Organisational Readiness diagnostic is now live!

How prepared is your organisation for the changing needs of a digital economy? For many business owners, while change is a certainty they don’t know exactly where to start. We have put together a diagnostic tool to help get you thinking about the changes you will need to make.

Our diagnostic contains 25 questions, and is designed to help you to assess your organisation’s readiness under six categories. The first two address your understanding of your customers and future  business strategy. The final four categories are the areas of the business that will be key to implementing your future business strategy and delivering on the needs of your customer. Once you have identified the categories you need to develop your capabilities in, we have compiled a series of tools, articles and links to websites that will help you develop your organisational capabilities, and make the most of a broadband-enabled digital world.

To get started, visit our diagnostic page, or click on the image below:

Diagnostic-screenshot5

Introducing the Hume Region Digital Economy Strategy – Dr Tim Williams

The Hume Region Digital Economy Strategy will be officially launched in the coming weeks. In this short vodcast, Dr Tim Williams discusses the key findings and some of the main recommendations. The Digital Economy Strategy is a technically informed report on the impact of the digital economy on the region, but also explores broader questions about the type of place and economy that we wish to have, and how we can we bring the necessary public and private partnering together to achieve these goals.

The strategy fits strongly into pre-existing regional collaboration across north-east Victoria, and seeks to develop Hume as a ‘smart region’ – connected, digitally empowered and innovative, with communities and enterprises at ease with the digital economy and ready for all challenges. strong, skilled, inclusive, and engaged. Access to high-speed broadband will provide regional communities with an opportunity to exploit the potential game-changing infrastructure of the NBN, and the wider digital environment. However, there will be challenges along the way: overcoming barriers to good telecommunications access, and ensuring that both businesses and communities have the skills and resources they need.

The target is to have all residents and businesses in the region online and comfortable about using digital technologies – aiming for a ‘fully networked community’ by 2017. In Tim’s words: “the digital is far too important to be left to the geeks!” For the full rundown on the key findings and recommendations, see the video below:

Goulburn Valley and North East Victoria to receive high-speed NBN fixed wireless

The following is a media release from NBNco on 8th November 2012:

The company building Australia’s National Broadband Network, NBN Co, today unveiled thenext local government areas where planning proposals will be lodged to deliver high-speed fixed wireless broadband.
Over the coming months, NBN Co and its design and construction partners will work with local governments to identify appropriate locations for fixed wireless network infrastructure in and around the Goulburn Valley and North East Victoria region.

NBN Co’s Community Relations Adviser, Tony Gibbs, said: “For decades, rural and regional Australia has been left behind when it comes to telecommunications.NBN Co’s plan to deliver high-speed broadband to every Australian premises using one of three technologies – fibre, fixed wireless and satellite – aims to change that.Subject to final planning and other approvals, the fixed wireless network plans to cover parts of six council areas (see list below) and it is expected facilities will start to be switched on in stages from late 2013 to 2015,¨ he said.

  • Mitchell Shire Council
  • Murrindindi Shire Council
  • Strathbogie Shire Council
  • Benalla Rural City Council
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Mansfield Shire

“This announcement is tremendous news for these regions, many of which currently have no access to high-speed broadband, or are confined to a limited service, such as dial-up or broadband over the mobile network. Fixed wireless aims to deliver speeds and services that city people take for granted. With services delivered over the NBN you can download movies in minutes, enjoy video calls with fewer drop outs, and get the whole family on line at once*, all at a price that is less than what you might think,” Mr Gibbs said.

NBN Co’s fixed wireless network is designed to offer internet service providers with wholesale access speeds of up to 12Mbps, with plans for higher speeds to become available in the future. Unlike a mobile broadband service, each fixed wireless facility is designed to serve a specific number of premises. It is expected that this will result in a more reliable and consistent service, because your speed will generally not be affected by the number of people moving
in and out of the area.

Click the link to download the “20121108 Shepparton fixed wireless announcement_FINAL.pdf” press release .

New Federal Government funding for regional development projects

Regional Australia continues to be at the forefront of the digital revolution, thanks to Federal Government funding helping communities and business develop innovative uses of the National Broadband Network (NBN). Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean today announced that 20 Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees would benefit from about $500,000 in Federal funding for 14 projects that will ensure communities are ready to take full advantage of the NBN.

Access to high speed broadband will transform service delivery and business operations across regional Australia. Practical initiatives such as workshops, training and the development of local case studies encourage regional communities to engage with the possibilities offered by the NBN. Under the new funding plan, RDA Hume will receive $25,000 for the Digital Economy and NBN Readiness Planning for the Hume Region, allowing for the development of a more extensive program of events in north-east Victoria. We’ll be announcing more details of these in the coming month.

For more details, see the press release from the Hon. Simon Crean MP, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government

Your organisation and the digital economy – thinking about the future

All organisations need to start thinking about the implications of the digital economy to their business. We have compiled six pages of resources that provide some tools and articles to get you thinking about what you need to do. We welcome your feedback and input on other tools that may be of value to visitors.

  1. Understanding your customer needs in the digital world
  2. Understanding your industry and your future business strategy
  3. Developing your business model and future processes
  4. Using data in your business for competitive advantage
  5. Developing your people in the future
  6. Developing your future IT infrastructure

Is your organisation planning for the future?

DigitalStrategy101.com.au – Workshops for Manufacturers in Shepparton, Bendigo and Ballarat

A series of seminars, workshops and assistance will be available to manufacturing businesses in and around Shepparton as part of a new Enterprise Connect WINN programme.

The Digital Strategy 101 workshops commence in October. For more information visit www.digitalstrategy101.com.au .

In the video below, Tim Gentle discusses what participants can expect from the workshops. Tim has developed and will deliver the course.

Dr Tim Williams discusses some initial findings from the “Digital Hume” project

The Hume Region’s Digital Economy Strategy will be published in the coming weeks. Dr Tim Williams, of Arup discusses some of the preliminary findings and recommendations that are coming out of the report.

Share your comments or ask further questions using the comments feature below.

Telecommunications report has some key findings for Hume Region

A recently released report by Deloitte Access Economics, entitled “Telecommunications Spend and Demand in Victoria, 2012
highlighted a number of key findings relevant for the Hume Region. The report was developed for the Department of Business and Innovation and contains some important findings. They include:

  • An estimated two-thirds of households and businesses in Victoria will not have access to NBN by 2016 which will mean high levels of unmet demand.
  • Unmet demand in the Hume Region in 2011 was 13.6% of total premises within the region (for broadband greater than 8 and less than 50 mbps), and 12.5% for broadband greater than 50 mbps. This is estimated to increase to 43% by 2016.
  • Mobile data demand is anticipated to grow rapidly.
  • Dial-up data and fixed voice will continue to decline.

Detailed information by LGA in relation to unmet demand for broadband and demand for telecommunications estimates for 2016 can be sourced from the Telecommunications Spend and Demand in Victoria 2012 Report Final.

Social enterprises deliver commercial capabilities with effective tools of trade

Today’s update is a guest post from Jessica Purbrick-Herbst, community manager for Social Traders. Jessica gives some tips on how social enterprises can use the digital economy to support their communications and marketing activities, and grow their businesses.

A social enterprise is a business that has a social purpose, and invests the majority of its profits (50% or more) into delivering that purpose. The social enterprise business model is robust and sustainable, and is increasingly becoming the business de rigueur as entrepreneurs seek alternative forms of profit distribution.

In context, there are over 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, with footprints in every Australian community. For some examples, consider your local bowling club, RSL or sporting league. Within this business model, the social enterprise sector may support a disadvantaged group (long term unemployed, disabilities, young and at risk). Or the production of low cost fruit and vegetables may provide access to fresh produce for everyone in the community. A social enterprise may be a cafe, a film production agency or community centre. It can also be a financial institution (for example, Bendigo Community Bank) or a packaging and distribution unit.

Just like any business, a social enterprise needs customers, and tools of the trade. Having access to the national broadband network (NBN) will enhance business growth across all sectors, by improving the speed, reliability and access to internet connections around the country. For social enterprise, utilising online marketing tools, directories and of course social media will help to grow the business, bringing in new opportunities.

Strong and stable internet connections have already enabled social enterprises in Tasmania to find customers globally; Victorian social enterprises to compete for business around Australia, and Melbourne social enterprise caterers to provide online ordering systems to corporate clients across the city. Without this network of reliable internet access, these businesses would miss opportunities and struggle to meet their social impact goals.

Top Tips for Hume Region Social Enterprises

  1.  Develop a practical, integrated marketing plan which coordinates online and off-line business growth activities.
  2. Communication activities need to be integrated (supported and consistent).
  3. Going online doesn’t have to be expensive. Utilise blogging platforms like WordPress or Tumblr to establish an online presence. Try Facebook and Twitter to support your activities. Use a regular, brief, action-orientated newsletter (try Mailchimp) to reach existing customers and find new ones.
  4. Don’t sign up for every shiny new online system – find the two or three preferred hangouts that are used by your current and potential customers, and build from there.
  5. Sign your business up for a free listing on The Social Enterprise Finder (www.thesefinder.com.au) – Australia’s only directory of social enterprises.

For further information and access to online tools and resources, go to:

Images and video links:

The 3D printing revolution is closer than you might think

In May, Regional Development Australia organised a tour of the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct. Business owners and local government representatives from the Hume region saw a glimpse of the manufacturing revolution offered by 3D printing technologies – allowing designers to turn virtual models into solid objects made from a range of plastics or metals.

Now, the arrival of consumer-level 3D printing is closer than ever. Printers are already available for pre-order through several companies, such as Cubify and Makerbot. Entry level products currently cost around $1300-1700, and typically print in plastics such as biodegradable PLA (often used for testing new designs), or durable ABS (the material used to cast LEGO bricks). They work by laying down many thin layers, building the design a fraction of a millimetre at a time. More expensive printers use multiple printing heads to produce full colour designs.

The implications of 3D printing are huge – potentially “resetting the economics of manufacturing” (in a Feb 2011 Economist article). By moving the place of production to individual homes, designers can sell their products in an electronic format around the world without requiring a physical distribution network. Physical location is not as important as the skills and creativity needed to use the new medium – potentially helping those in regional locations to better compete on a global scale.

While 3D printers are rapidly becoming more affordable, they are still beyond the reach of many consumers. To bridge this gap, many printer manufacturers have branched out into print-on-demand services, allowing designers to upload their creations to be printed at a central location. Cubify currently sells printed designs for products in categories such as Fashion and Art, while Makerbot directs people to share their creations directly on the Thingiverse (an online marketplace for “Digital designs for real, physical objects”).

In a world where custom manufacturing could be as affordable as mass production, there are many opportunities for individualised, personal designs. Inspired by the London 2012 olympics, Luc Fusaro’s Designed to Win project shows how this new technology can be used to enhance athlete performance by tailoring products – in this case, running shoes – to the exact specifications of the user. The future of manufacturing is closer than you might think.