Businesses not prepared for NBN's 'big bang', former Tas premier says

Bartlett, who was premier of the state between 2008 and 2011, still lives in Tasmania and says the NBN will help build on Tasmania’s “natural strengths”, such as its renewable energy resources.

David Bartlett, former Tasmanian premier, is championing the National Broadband Network (NBN) as a driver of digital disruption, but he says businesses aren’t ready for the opportunities it will bring.

Bartlett believes one of the key impacts of the NBN will be on teleworking. He says in regions such as the Sunshine Coast, where commuting to Brisbane can be difficult, the NBN will enable the collapse of “value chains” and enable employees to work from anywhere.

However, he says there are several barriers to businesses becoming more accepting of teleworking and many do not understand how the NBN will transform business.

“NBN or not, what ubiquitous broadband means for the world … [is] 60 per cent of industry sectors are heading for a 'big bang' disruption and I think in large part Australian industry sectors are under-prepared for that,” he says.

“If you look at the retail sector in Australia, just two or three years ago Gerry Harvey, supposedly [a] retail sector leader, [said] ‘no one’s ever going to buy a fridge online’ – well it seems like a fairly naive statement,” Bartlett says.

“I think a lot of other industry sectors like manufacturing, tourism, the service sector, hospitality – a whole range of them, and government itself – are in for massive disruption and I think largely Australian industry sectors are under-prepared.”

Bartlett is currently working with Regional Development Australia, the Sunshine Coast Council and other institutions, including the University of the Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast TAFE, to help them plan for their digital future.

“They are planning [and] doing a lot of work to build capacity in industry and that’s I think where the major challenge for Australia stands – getting our traditional industry sectors to understand the digital economy and to understand what [the] NBN is going to do to transform their businesses,” Bartlett says.

The ‘digital disruption’

In September last year, Deloitte Access Economics released a report stating retailers, financial companies and the media were in the firing line of a digital “big bang” which will change their revenue structure by at least 15 per cent.

Other impacts could include job loss and the changing use of social media and online applications, according to Deloitte.

“As we saw in the recent company reporting season, digital innovations are transforming the economic landscape far more profoundly than other big shifts in our economic history such as deregulation, oil shocks or mining booms," Dr Ric Simes, Deloitte director, said.

Bartlett says this upheaval is occurring on a global scale due to high-speed broadband becoming more prevalent and it is starting to happen in Australia.

“What the NBN will do for Australia, in my view, is enable Australia to play in this space and create productivity and innovation in the digital economy,” he says.

But he says there is a “missing ingredient” that needs more focus which would allow key industries to take full advantage of it.

This includes understanding how new ways of wealth is created, such as new value chains, new marketing models and new products, according to Bartlett.

However, he says businesses also need to understand how old models are slowly being destroyed.

Tags David BartlettNational Broadband Network (NBN)ubiquitous broadband

5 Comments

Jason

1

Is this the same Tasmania people who objected to having NBNco Wireless Towers erected because of dope smoking hippies?
The same dope smoking hippies who would rather let houses burn instead of allowing backburning?
If Tasmanians dont want the NBN, dont give it to them. Let them keep on weaving hemp carpet all day long. There is millions of people on the mainland who are screaming for NBNco to come by there door!

SilvanaS

2

This is the same Tasmanian Government who crush any innovation in the Technology sector both within government and without if its not Microsoft. I happen to know of a little project that had the promise of bringing great savings to government through the deployment of alternate computing platform, and it was ruthlessly crushed. Unfortunately we are not forward looking like the French in seeking alternate more effective platforms in this post PC era. Next time Tasmanins, ask yourself why we dont have money to spend on hospitals and policing, because we are paying for Microsoft and TMD. Whole of Government E-mail anyone ??? cant say that didnt increase costs for the same service we already had, (we just love to pay all those Directors), and we won't worry that anyone administering e-mail for Tasmania can read any email that was ever written across any department including police investigations...oops. Oh and one more thing, isn't it odd that Asdeq labs is now the primary cloud service provider to DPAC, bet there was no tender for that.

Charlie

3

I'm was in a government department and we had Apple computers with latest Apple software, which we all loved, and we had them taken off us and told we had to use Windows 7, we were even told we couldn't use iPads, because we had to use the Microsoft stuff instead. Not very forward looking or thinking, my daughter uses ipads in school for god sake ! Don't come to Tasmania if you want to use anything new, it's back to he future 1994 style here, I guess the Tasmanian NBN will be connected to a dial-up.

Robert

4

David B did nothing for Tasmanian IT when he was in government except choose the Microsoft option. So why are we listening to him like he is some IT genius. It just doesn't make sense, political connections will get you far, but lets face it, Sasquatch would probably know more, sorry David, but it's true.

Bazinga

5

I agree with what David says, but I believe there is no chance of the Tasmania government getting a connection to the NBN in conjunction with any external\mobile services. TMD haven't allowed it in the last 5 years and I can't see them supporting mobile services in conjunction with the NBN any time soon. Maybe they will allow it now the M$ Surface has been released, no iPads though, and only if Telstra provides the service :)

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