The Brisbane node of Australia's first research centre focused totally on the services sector, Smart Services CRC, was launched today with a showcase of stunning examples of what the future holds in digital-based services delivery.
Queensland University of Technology is the largest academic contributor to the CRC (cooperative research centre) in which the State Government and Queensland partners SAP- the largest industry contributor, Suncorp and RACQ have invested $38 million
The CRC's 18 industry, government and research partners will invest more than $120 million over a seven-year period, including a $30.8 million grant from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
QUT's Dr Ross Brown demonstrated his breakthough work at the launch showing how the QUT-developed software, YAWL, enables educators and businesses to teach in virtual environments such as Second Life.
It was one of six exciting examples of services innovation for media, financial services, education and government showcased on the day.
"Using YAWL we can take learning opportunities to where the students and employees are and make learning more relevant to community use of Web 2.0 technologies," Dr Brown said.
"We can also use YAWL to create virtual, training environments for industries such as health, mining or fire fighting where the actual danger is removed but people can train in a realistic environment."
QUT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Coaldrake, said the University is delighted to be hosting the CRC and its Services Innovation Foundry, and providing the driving force for the strategically-focussed Services 2020 project.
"The Foundry will stimulate brilliant ideas and translate them rapidly into new working solutions to underpin the burgeoning services sector," Professor Coaldrake said.
"The Services 2020 project, directed by QUT Professor Simon Kaplan, will keep pace with the sector by examining energy trends and postulating future breakthroughs for the services economy.
"QUT researchers are already working collaboratively with our partners SAP and Suncorp on projects to benefit ordinary people. The One-Stop Personalised Financial Services project to allow banking customers to plan their financial future is an example of this.
"Customers will be able to analyse their own financial status, forecast their future situation and evaluate financial options when making important household decisions."
Suncorp group executive, business technology Jeff Smith said that to support customers in planning and reaching their personal financial goals, services in the banking sector need to be delivered across the full range of financial products and services.
"Customers today are faced with a high level of complexity in financial decision making, and we anticipate this project will help simplify that process," Mr Smith said.
CRC Chairman, Neville Roach, commented on the importance of the service sector which is now more than 80% of Australia's GDP.
"It is critical that we increase the competitiveness of Australian services both nationally and globally through leading-edge innovation," Mr Roach said.
"One of our priorities will be education and research, which are fundamental to the future of Australia. It is an industry where we can excel through improved collaboration and delivery of a wide range of education services, bridging geographic, national and cultural boundaries. An area dear to my heart, it's pleasing to see strong interest from our partners and a high level of innovation around the use of popular Web 2.0 tools for collaboration, teaching and learning."
Also representing the talents of Queensland, the Services Broker Portal, a project led by CRC partner and business software solutions company SAP, demonstrated how companies and end-users get access to targeted services whenever and wherever they need them.
CRC CEO Warren Bradey said: "We are excited about the opportunity for the CRC to work together with such a strong group of partners from Queensland and look forward to helping deliver an exciting array of new service opportunities for our partners."
The Brisbane node of the CRC and Services Innovation Foundry will be headquartered at QUT and was opened today by the Hon. Arch Bevis Federal MP for Brisbane.
The Smart Services CRC is a $120m research collaboration between 10 leading industry participants, six leading universities and the Federal Government and NSW and Queensland Governments. The focus of the Smart Services research is in delivering new and improved services for the services economy. The CRC has a particular strength in understanding the service needs of customers, development requirements of ecosystems for service delivery and long-term trends for services of the future. Smart Services will draw on the background of its Participants to deliver initial demonstrators in the finance, government and media sectors.
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