Sunshine Coast businesses compete nationally internationally thanks to local cutting edge digital technology
  • Monday 11 April 2022
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People can live, work, innovate and do business on the Sunshine Coast and better compete nationally and globally thanks to the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network and the new NEXTDC data centre. 

Sunshine Coast Council in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Alliance (SCTechIA), NEXTDC and RTI Cables hosted an industry launch event at The MET in the Maroochydore City Centre on Friday (April 8, 2022). 

Bringing together industry and key organisations that would utilise the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network and the new NEXTDC SC1 ‘edge’ data centre, the event inspired local industry collaboration and instigated a dynamic and vibrant tech ecosystem. 

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast was home to a growing and diverse tech community that was crucial to all seven of council’s identified high-value industries.

“Increasing the tech capability of our region will ensure all of the Sunshine Coast’s major industries are able to innovate and participate globally, and at speed,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“We already have the essential infrastructure in place – the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network and new Maroochydore City Centre’s ongoing development including NEXTDC’s new regional Edge Data Centre.

“Together, they will support a diverse, adaptable, robust and resilient economy.

“The pandemic accelerated the uptake of technology and the digitalisation of business and a number of local businesses, Raider Targetry, ENTAG, GoLogic and Haven VR, took advantage of this.

“Coupled with access to new tech infrastructure, they have confidence to further grow their business on the Sunshine Coast and attract talent from both within and outside the region. 

“People now realise they can live, work, innovate and do business on the Sunshine Coast and still compete nationally and globally. 

“This also means talent development through education pathways at USC and TAFE are vital to provide a pipeline of highly skilled local talent to fill the high-value job opportunities these emerging industries will bring to our community.”

Among the event program of respected tech industry leaders, Chair of the Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Alliance Group Kris Carver, NEXTDC Chief of Engineering and Design Mr Jeff Van Zetten, RTI founder and group CEO Russ Matulich and each offered their own perspective of what lies ahead for local and national industry stakeholders across government and private enterprise.

Mr Carver said the tech industry on the Sunshine Coast was well positioned for rapid growth over the coming months and years.

“The Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Alliance (SCTechIA) welcomes recent major investments from RTI and NEXTDC, support from Local Government, Sunshine Coast Business Council, RDA, University, TAFE and many local tech industry leaders as we aim to provide a clear voice, talent pathways and opportunities for growth within the tech industry,” he said. 

Several discovery sessions hosted by the Sunshine Coast Business Council during 2020 and 2021 explored the need and opportunities to grow ICT as a core regional capability to underpin digitalisation of the regional economy.

One of the key recommendations to emerge from this work was to establish a regional ICT Industry Group to bring leadership and cohesion to deliver a stronger ICT regional capability.

“SCTechIA membership is open to any organisation involved in the tech industry or a business looking to differentiate with the use of technology,” Mr Carver said.

“We look forward to creating a thriving and dynamic tech industry on the Sunshine Coast through strong collaboration and a shared vision.”

RTI founder and group CEO Russ Matulich acknowledged NEXTDC’s collaboration with the Sunshine Coast Council as an important one for all Australians.

“NEXTDC can offer, for the first-time ever, the fastest ramp from Australia’s East Coast and Asia, ‘wet’ diversity between its Queensland and New South Wales data centres, scalable connectivity solutions from Queensland to Asia and the US, and improved service offerings by reducing the friction that comes with unnecessary backhaul or inefficient routes,” Mr Matulich said. 

“The increased efficiencies not only benefit the Sunshine Coast and Queenslanders, they will improve the quality of life across Australia as well.

“The joint-cooperation brings added investment to the region, prepares Brisbane for a global stage such as the 2032 Olympic and Paralympics and creates a more digitally secure Australia.”

NEXTDC Chief Executive Officer Craig Scroggie said digital infrastructure was a critical pillar for the future of regional economic development.

“These critical infrastructure investments will deliver digital capability to the regional business community, helping drive innovation, connectivity and growth through more readily accessible digital services that were previously uncatered for,” Mr Scroggie said.

“We are thrilled to be here investing in the region and working closely with our partners.”

Government-owned corporation QCN Fibre, an internet and retail service provider, partnered with Sunshine Coast Council to install the high-capacity connectivity infrastructure between Brisbane and Maroochydore and will help connect NEXTDC’s Brisbane data centres to the JGA-S submarine cable.

CEO Derek Merdith said the council had been forward thinking to secure an international link.

“Any international company looking to set up a branch in Australia wants confidence that the local environment supports international or interstate investment and will back the business, making infrastructure investment worthwhile,” Mr Merdith said.

“Then they need connectivity to reach the rest of Australia and the world.

“And finally, they need convenience with the physical data centre close to the business premises.

“Sunshine Coast offers all three essentials and is in the perfect location.”

Effective industry clusters and groups tend to generate high economic and employment multipliers for cities and regions.

SCTechIA is a potentially limitless example of an industry cluster that has developed within the Sunshine Coast region, along with the Food and Agribusiness Network, the Manufacturing Excellence Forum and Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast. 

For more information on the Sunshine Coast Tech Industry Alliance - www.sctechia.com.au.

Image credit: Lauren Biggs Photography. Image L to R: Kris Carver, Mayor Mark Jamieson, Russ Matulich and Jeff Van Zetten.

Fast Facts

  • Emerging business-related impacts of the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network: 
  • Australia’s two largest carriers have changed the Sunshine Coast’s status from “region” to “metropolitan”, putting the Sunshine Coast on par with capital city internet pricing. 
  • The emergence of small internet wholesalers such as Vine Networks offers greater choice and access to wholesale broadband pricing. 
  • The establishment of a Cyber Security Innovation Node on the Sunshine Coast (one of only two regional nodes appointed in the country) to accelerate the growth of the region’s cyber security sector, delivers increased cyber security capability, talent and education across the region, and fast-tracks cyber security exports internationally. 
  • The Queensland Regional Innovation Benchmark Report found that 46% of businesses in the greater Sunshine Coast region implemented new-to-firm innovations in 2020, and that there were high levels of digital adoption and collaboration during the pandemic. 
  • In 2020-2021 there were 17,896 tech Industry jobs on the Sunshine Coast (source: economy.id)
  • The Technology Council of Australia (TCA) launched in 2021 with a clear vision to ensure the tech sector plays a critical role in Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The TCA has said the biggest and most urgent risk to the goal of employing one million people in tech sector jobs by 2025 was acute labour shortages facing the tech sector. That means we must act now to ensure we can fill the new tech jobs we’re creating in Australia over the next four years.
Source: https://techcouncil.com.au/policy/priorities/growth/