THE advent of new affordable technologies, together with the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), brings great opportunities to local businesses.
They can transform the way they currently operate and gain access to new markets.
To understand this requires some insight into the potential that new technologies and high speed broadband can bring.
First, consider our road system.
For centuries transport depended on a network of dirt roads for horses and carts.
The construction of tar roads at the start of the 20th century led to possibilities not foreseen at the time, especially with the mass production of cars that followed.
The widespread introduction of broadband, such as the NBN, will provide the new transport service of the 21st century.
More and more products can now be ordered and delivered through the digital medium.
This will continue to change the way we provide health services, education, entertainment and business.
For example, the increased use of high definition video allows for remote consultations, virtual classrooms, remote care of the elderly and business video conferencing, reducing unnecessary travel to seek out specialists or visits to head office.
The NBN network of universal high speed fibre, wireless and satellite connections that will connect to every home, every business and every service supplier allows for a shift in the way we handle our technology.
One such example is ‘cloud computing’.
This is a new model for IT service provision that can change the way we rely on our IT services, particularly for small businesses.
The cloud is a concept that allows the IT service provision for emails, shared electronic calendars, data storage, office applications, to be sourced by a third party provider and made available whenever you are connected.
This is essentially ‘software as a service’.
Users pay for the bytes stored or by the computing time actually used.
Because the cloud is a large universal resource you can tap into the service and make use on demand.
That is, if your business picks up and you need 10 times the computing power you needed yesterday then that will be on tap and you simply pay as you go.
The use of such technologies and the ability for businesses to become NBN ready will be addressed through a new demonstration centre being established in Coffs Harbour, through a partnership between Southern Cross University and the Coffs Harbour City Council, with funding from NSW Industry and Investment.