Page 4648 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017
image of the whole earth every 24 hours and is able to provide high resolution images following its purchase of Google’s SkySat satellites. This information is obviously keenly sought by governments and intelligence agencies. Planet Labs has recently partnered with the Canberra company Geoplex to develop and use satellite image data to provide Queensland-specific data to the Queensland government. I take this opportunity this morning to thank Geoplex’s CEO, Adam Smith, for the introductions he provided for this visit.
On the other side of the commercialisation of space is SpaceX, founded and funded by billionaire Elon Musk. SpaceX has one clear long-term goal—to colonise Mars before 2030. To achieve this, SpaceX operates commercially to generate funds for its long-term objective. One of its major contracts is with NASA to resupply the international space station, but it is involved in many satellite launch activities.
SpaceX build everything in house, and a visit to their facility in Los Angeles provides a clear reminder that whilst the space industry is essential to Australia we need to clearly define what role the Australian space industry can play. The visit to both Planet Labs and SpaceX emphasised that Australia’s space agency must focus on commercialisation of space but also needs to clearly identify those niche areas where Australia has the capability to make an impact on this huge market.
We also took the opportunity to meet with two of the technology giants that have a clear interest in cyber security and smart city development; Microsoft and Cisco. Both have spent billions of dollars on security networks and preventing cyber security attacks; both are working in areas such as the development of sustainable cities, data aggregation as a tool for better outcomes in areas such as health and transport; protection from cyber-attack for the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles; and how data and artificial intelligence will shape the future of the world. These discussions provided glimpses of the how we can continue to develop Canberra as a smart and sustainable exemplar city. Both also underscored our commitment to skills, STEM and, in particular, gender diversity in technology.
I wish to briefly mention some of the other meetings the delegation attended. I was able to visit the Australian landing pad in San Francisco where I was joined by the CEO of the CBR Innovation Network, Petr Adamek. The landing pads are great facilities for companies wanting to enter overseas markets without all of the resources to set up a full-time office. They provide an opportunity for up to three months for Australian companies to test the market. Petr’s presence and his attendance at the innovation hubs conference in Boston that week demonstrates the commitment of all players in Canberra’s innovation ecosystem to internationalise Canberra companies. High growth companies are generally born global, but the propensity for rapid scale-up—the enterprise development paradigm—is what success is now all about.
I was also able to meet with Dtex, a San Jose based-company originally founded in Adelaide that is now considering establishing a presence in our city because of the cyber opportunities of having Australia’s national security agencies in our city and what that offers to cyber companies. We look forward to welcoming Dtex to Canberra in the near future.