Clyde Street

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A Day at the #ASTN2012 Conference

The Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) Annual Conference was held in The Captain’s Room, Simonds Stadium, Kardinia Park, Geelong on 2 November.

Senator Kate Lundy opened this inaugural ASTN Conference. Senator Lundy, the Minister for Sport and the Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation is a passionate advocate for sport and technology. I think Australian sport is served remarkably by her. She even found time to tweet (#ASTN2012 was the tag for the conference) about the event.


The Chair of the Board of the Australian Sports Commission, John Wiley added his welcome to Conference delegates. In his talk, John noted the creativity, and risk appetite in the United States of America. He commented on the rewarding experience of entrepreneurial spirit and discussed how this might be expressed as a national competitive advantage through the combination of sport, science and research. John saw a great opportunity to combine these in the ASTN.

John did discuss the retention of Intellectual Property (IP) and the systematic approach commercial success. He thought the NASA model was an excellent example of this approach. John cited two examples of the commercialisation of IP in Australian sport: the development of the MiniMax tracking units that emerged from a Cooperative Research Centre; and the emergence of the CSIRO/AIS RF WASP technology.

John concluded his talk with the observation that the sport sector is good at innovating but poor at commercialising. He noted that risk capital is becoming more available. He suggested that two key issues need to be addressed in growingsports technologies markets: how to develop a culture of partnership and collaboration; and how to support the people who do make a difference.

He noted that post London Olympics and Paralympics, ASTN has a very important role to play and he welcomed the Australian Government’s support for ASTN.

The newly elected Mayor of Geelong, Keith Fagg, welcomed delegates too.

Thereafter there was a packed day of presentations and discussions.

Danny Samson shared the findings of his Lifting Our Game: Developing sports technologies to create value in his Crossing the boundary: from invention to commercial outcomes talk. Danny discussed pathways from invention to commercial outcomes. He lauded sport technology invention engines but lamented the limited commercialisation activity to date. He shared his experience of his involvement in the Diggerworks community of practice as an example of how a sector can come together to integrate research, development and commercial outcomes. He pointed to Samsung’s flourishing as a research and development organisation.

John Bertrand followed on from Danny and discussed Leading High Performance and Technology Innovation in Sport. He shared his experiences of start up ventures in the 1990s and used his current involvement with Sailing’s High Performance program in the pursuit of best practice to discuss how successful organisations position themselves. At present, the High Performance program is undertaking a benchmarking study of systems that support athletes, coaches, and administrators. John concluded his presentation with a the discussion of the soul component of success and the spirit of winning inspired by his conversations with Victor Kovalenko.

There followed five panel presentations and discussions.

First Panel Discussion

National Sporting Organisations and Their Technology Needs

Phil Martin (Australian Football League), Alisa Camplin-Warner, Alec Buttfield (Cycling Australia) and Nick Brown (Australian Institute of Sport)

Second Panel Discussion

The Sporting Goods Industry and Sports Consumer Trends

Ian Krawitz (10 Thousand Feet), Shannon Walker (Australian Sporting Goods Association), Paul Faulkner (Nike Asia-Pacific), Chris Morgan (Associated Retailers)

Third Panel Discussion

Australia’s Sports Technology research expertise: Insights from our universities and research centres (Part 1)

 Franz Konstantin Fuss (RMIT University), Michael McKenna (Victoria University), Paul Collins (Deakin University), Richard Helmer (CSIRO).

Fourth Panel Discussion

Australia’s Sports Technology research expertise: Insights from our universities and research centres (Part 2)

Daniel James (Griffith University), Keith Lyons (University of Canberra), Leon Piterman (Monash University), Nick Brown (Australian Institute of Sport)

Fifth Panel Discussion

(Chaired by James Demetriou, Australian Sports Technology Ventures)

Sports Technologies and Business: What it takes to be successful

Brian Cooney (IMG Sports Technology Group), Brendan Denning (Albion Sports), Geoff Maloney (POD Active) Nick Maywald (Sporting Pulse)

The day concluded with the ASTN’s inaugural Sports Tech Investment Pitching Competition. Albion Sports took out the first prize.

It was a whirlwind of a day in the Captain’s Room. I was very impressed by the range of ideas and practices that were shared at the Conference. I do think that this is a great time to explore a connectivist approach in a burgeoning Australian Sports Technologies Network.

I am optimistic that the day stimulated thoughts about a non-zero sum approach to the flourishing of Sport Technology in Australia. There are enormous opportunities to be explored and realised.

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Olympic Gold at the National Library of Australia: 12 June

I was delighted to be invited to the launch of Robin Poke and Kevin Berry’s book, Olympic Gold: Our Greatest Individual Olympians Since 1896.

The launch took place in the Conference Room at the National Library of Australia.

Senator Kate Lundy, the Federal Minister of Sport, launched the book and made it a delightful local, national and international event.

The Booktopia Blog has a detailed post about this lavishly illustrated book.

In Olympic Gold: Our Greatest Individual Olympians Since 1896, Robin and Kevin follow the inspirational journeys of Australia’s seventy-four individual Olympic gold medalists, at the Summer and Winter Games. The stories of these Olympians have been written by a variety of authors ranging from journalists to family members to the athletes themselves.

There were four of the seventy-four gold medalists at the launch and a number of contributing authors.

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Enterprise Computing Conference: ECC@UC

The Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering is hosting with IBM an Enterprise Computing Conference in the Ann Harding Centre on the University campus (15-16 May).

The program is here.

Senator Kate Lundy opened the Conference. In her introduction she noted the growth of enterprise and cloud computing and their role in the digital economy. She underscored the transformational potential of these approaches.

Senator Lundy discussed the potential of the National Broadband Network infrastructure in supporting innovation. She reminded delegates about George Gilder’s Law: “bandwidth grows at least three times faster than computer power.”

In the next part of her talk Senator Lundy discussed the skills required to optimise connectivity. She noted the IBM and University of Melbourne partnership and indicated the potential of a Marist/IBM model at the University of Canberra.

In her conclusion Senator Lundy affirmed the importance of collaboration to develop the skills required for a digital economy to harvest the benefits of enterprise and cloud computing. She exhorted delegates to use the conference to explore the transformational opportunities available from a connected society.