Seminars on a wide range of topics attracted keen interest at T.H.E. Exchange.
Seminars on a wide range of topics attracted keen interest at T.H.E. Exchange. Rob Wright

Event highlights NBN arrival

RHEES Richards is hoping to find a job, June Coy wants to find tools to help her deal with visual impairment, Steve Little is looking for clues to the next business model and Brenda Martin wants to keep in touch with her family.

Each visitor to the Technology, Health and Education Exchange had a different reason for visiting T.H.E. Exchange and finding out more about the imminent arrival of the National Broadband Network in Coffs Harbour.

A feeling of optimism pervaded the exhibition and seminars were well patronised.

Rhees Richards, who is studying for his TAFE Diploma in Information Technology, was especially interested in the Silcar stand, because he wants to work in the area of setting up and maintaining the cables that carry the NBN.

He said the network would be very good for Coffs Harbour and would benefit all regional areas.

“It is so exciting with all these things happening,” Rhees said.

“My whole TAFE class is here.

“I come from out west – Cootamundra –- and we have missed out for so long.

“It is a positive step forward for once.”

Sawtell resident Phil Coy said he was just browsing “to see if it will affect us in any way".

“It is a wonderful exhibition and very comprehensive,” Mr Coy said.

His wife, June, was browsing with intent.

“I am visually impaired and there is a bit of a lack of help,” Mrs Coy said.

“I would like to see more voice activation – screens are not much good if you can't see.”

Coffs Harbour resident Brenda Martin said she was not in business but wanted to keep up to date with what was happening.

“We have wireless broadband and I'm happy with that, but I wanted to find out what the options are,” she said.

Mrs Martin said she used her broadband to keep in touch with her family and research medical information.

The Mid North Coast Local Health District was a sponsor of the event and CEO Stewart Dowrick was enthusiastic about the expansion of image transfer the NBN would allow and the possibility of linking the hospital's systems into iPads through wireless broadband.

“With our new radiology system we will be able to send images straight to the radiographer's rooms or home and they can see them on screen – it will speed up diagnosis,” he said.

“Smaller emergency departments can be connected to the major EDs.”

Real estate agent Steve Little said he expected that the super-fast broadband would signal a profound change in his business model.

What that model will be is by no means clear.

‘What does the future hold for the connected home and small business?' was the topic for the talk by the director for broadband and the digital economy at National Information and Communications Technology Australia, Terry Percival.

Mr Percival outlined the nuts and bolts of how to connect up the NBN inside the home or office and spoke of the convenience, disaster insurance and savings which could be gained by using cloud computing, in which information is stored offsite in a massive bank of computers and the user hires time in the cloud as needed.

His look at the more exotic possibilities of the NBN ranged from creepy – your TV automatically latches you on to the Facebook fan page when you begin watching a show, though scary – the tax office has the power to peek into some files you probably thought were yours alone, to heart-warming – the possibility you could win an Oscar for work you can do sitting at your kitchen table.

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