NICTA showcases technology research plans

National ICT Australia (NICTA) this week staged its inaugural technology showcase, 'NICTA Techfest' in Canberra, hosting 200 researchers and students.

The organization has just cemented plans to extend its operations, purchasing Crown Lease land from the ACT government for $6.3 million dollars.

Among the announcements made at Techfest was news of a collaborative arrangement struck between NICTA and ACT-based company The Distillery to develop identity tracking solutions for use in law enforcement, national security and business intelligence.

The relationship with The Distillery forms part of the Document Analysis and Understanding project in the Statistical Machine learning program at NICTA's Canberra Laboratory.

According to The Distillery chief scientist Richard Jones the collaboration will span a three-year period involving three NICTA researchers and two NICTA students.

NICTA also announced a three-year, $3.6 million agreement for a collaborative research project with the Western Australian Telecommunications Research Institute (WATRI) to focus on the development of technologies to improve information transmission.

Called the Last Metre Problem project (LaMP), it aims to develop technologies that transmit information to and from people in a transparent way without restricting mobility or forcing them to change habits.

The three-year project forms part of NICTA's Trusted Wireless Networks Priority Challenge.

Researchers at NICTA are also working on developing new technologies that may potentially reduce the cost of providing gigabit-speed optical connections to offices and home users.

The Broadband to the User (B2U) project, part of the Network Technologies program at NICTA's Victoria Laboratory, is creating an array of technologies to improve passive optical network (PON) technology and support graceful evolution towards optical access networks over the next decade.

NICTA CEO and chairman Mel Slater claims that "the technologies being developed by the B2U project have the potential to revolutionize the next generation of Internet access."

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