5 things you need to know in Australian tech today


Today’s 5 Things you need to know in Tech are brought to you by Tower One, International Towers Sydney. Innovation is undoubtedly at the core of business success. Discover why business leaders are looking to Barangaroo to future-proof their enterprises.

IT executives are in demand. Picture: BBC

1. Remember to mention innovation in your next government funding application. There’s a new bucket of commonwealth money businesses worth between $20 million and $200 million. Federal innovation minister Greg Hunt says he wants to move the focus beyond start-ups, and is putting the cash on the table to make it happen, offering it SMEs having difficulty in finding investment capital.

“I will be exploring with the sector the value of a broader national innovation fund based on matching debt or equity, rather than grants, for this mid stage commercialisation,” Hunt says.

And yes it does sound a bit like Labor’s Innovation Investment Fund, abolished by the Coalition. There’s more on Hunt’s plan here.

2. Macquarie University’s getting into the innovation business too. The uni announced the launch of the Macquarie Park Innovation District (MPID), a business hub keen to lure in startups, with backing from Optus, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Global, KonicaMinolta, NAB and AMP Capital. To give you an idea of the ambition for this 350 hectare site, which already employs 45,000 people alongside 40,000 students, it already has 180 multinational companies, 200 SMEs, a teaching hospital, and the university, making it Sydney’s second biggest business district, and they want to double that number in the next 20 years.

A pop up business innovation centre targeting entrepreneurs and start-ups opens on campus next month ahead of a 1,500 square metre, purpose-built centre in April 2017. Here’s all you need to know.

3. What Campaign Monitor’s founder learnt kicking off during the GFC. CEO Alex Bard says if he has one piece of wisdom to share, it’s “build a business that solves a fundamental need in your market”. But he also has lots of other things to share here.

4. It’s never been a more exciting time to be an IT executive. Demand for IT execs is high according to Spandas Lui at Lifehacker, who got a hold of a consulting firm’s monthly executive employment index, which shows new jobs offered to executives in July jumped 17% to a three-year high. Organisations are increasingly on the lookout for professionals to fill IT executive roles, E.L Consult says. Check out the details before you start job hunting here.

5. Two uni students claim they built a census website in 54 hours. And for $500, they claim, although that figure puts their labor below the minimum wage, although the idea that they managed it for $9 million less than taxpayers handed over toe IBM has turned into into an irresistible IT story for many, with EFTM reporting that first-year students Austin Wilshire, 18, and Bernd Hartzer, 24, from Queensland University of Technology, knocked the whole cloud-based thing together at a weekend hackathon called Code Network on a diet of pizza and no sleep.

Wilshire is studying IT, majoring in computer science, Hartzer, creative industries and IT and their website, Make Census Great Again, was load-tested to 4 million page views an hour and 10,000 submissions per second, which kind of knocks the ABS’s boast of 260 per second out of the park.

The pair even found a free open source load testing solution. The ABS paid $469,000 – $55,000 to run the testing, the rest in licensing fees – for the privilege.

They reckon they’d be able to survive a Denial of Service attack, but “it would have racked up a bill”.

Here’s the website, which looks pretty convincing and if nothing else, shows they could always get jobs as phishing designers for Eastern European scammers. The lads scored a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for their efforts.


See you for the end of the week tomorrow. I’m on Twitter at @simonthomsen.

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