Smart use of digital technology can transform the SA economy
Posted : Monday, July 23, 2012
South Australia must use digital technology to transform its
economy, a CEDA forum has heard.
Adelaide Lord Mayor, Stephen Yarwood, told the forum that in a
future Adelaide, smart phone users would be directed to the
closest, cheapest car park, could check their luggage on a flight
before catching a fast train to the airport and keep tabs on the
next available tram or bus.
"You will drive straight into the city, straight into the car
park... cars will come in and disperse into the places they
are meant to be.... The CBD will be where the pedestrian is king
because we are building an environment for people," Mr Yarwood
Already, the Adelaide City Council has the biggest free WiFi
network of any city in the world and is working towards an
immersive WiFi system, he said.
In addition he said, in a world in which cities must compete for
knowledge workers, Adelaide would have to be a vital place, with
"If we don't keep young people in the city, we are genuinely
facing an absolute crisis. We must promote entrepreneurism that
will make it a vibrant, fun, cool place to be," Mr Yarwood
The forum, which also included Optus Business, Managing
Director, John Paitaridis, Training and Skills Commission, Chair,
Adrian Smith and Business SA, Chief Executive, Nigel McBride, heard
that the digital technology revolution would be as transformative
To meet these challenges SA would need to:
- Focus on up-skilling its workforce which lags behind other
- Integrate a digital strategy into business planning to meet
consumer demands and gain a competitive edge;
- Use digital technologies in a sophisticated way;
- Transform transport to reduce productivity losses through
traffic jams‑ predicted to reach $21 billion by 2025;
- Promote business tourism by hosting conferences; and
- Create a vibrant city that attracts and retains young
Mr Smith said South Australia would need to focus on training,
increasing the participation rate and targeting those who are
currently disengaged from the workforce.
This would probably require more than the additional $6.4
million allocated for adult education under the new Skills for All
initiative, he said.
Yesterday's low skilled jobs such as train driving were becoming
very highly skilled with new connectivity-based technology. One
train driver working for Rio Tinto could be driving 12 trains in
the Pilbara from an air conditioned office in Perth. This sort of
structural adjustment would be a key challenge for South Australia,
Mr Smith said.
"It is not a bleak future - we are in the process of changing
and we are confident we will have the skills, but to do that we are
absolutely going to have to reform the training system," he
"We have to move away from task-based training or occupational
competencies in favour of problem-solving and adapting to new
Mr Paitaridis said Optus' Future of Business Report, which
surveyed 500 decision makers in Australian public and private
sectors, found digital technologies are transforming the way
business and government interact with customers, suppliers, markets
The report identified "staggering exponential growth" in mobile
application downloads - including mobile websites and e-payments
over the past four years. The number of mobile application
downloads is expected to reach 25 billion by 2015, he said.
The report also showed 39 per cent of Australian organisations
now offer social media applications to customers - twice as many as
a year ago.
"If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest
country in the world in terms of community and what that means is
it is forcing organisations to sit up and pay attention in the way
they engage," Mr Paitaridis said.
Consumers - not revenue growth or cost cutting - are key
"Australia leads in some areas such as smart phone
penetration... where we lag tells a more interesting story, (we
lag) in sophisticated uses," Mr Paitaridis said.
"These areas of e-commerce, e-health, education, Cloud
computing... we are lagging in this country so there is some
opportunity for the Australian economy to lift our game in terms of
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