Winners Announced:  Connectivity Innovation Network Awards $500,000 funding to advance Digital Connectivity

Read the Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello’s announcement here.

The Connectivity Innovation Network announced this week the recipients of their $500,000 grant funding for research projects to develop innovative solutions to connectivity challenges. 

The funding will enable researchers to team up with industry and government partners to develop their digital connectivity solutions. The two chosen pilot projects address major challenges faced by government agencies, such as protecting privacy and trust while sharing data, and improving WiFi  to bolster connectivity in emergency scenarios.  

“The CIN is the first innovation network targeted at improving the quality and reliability of connectivity in NSW.  Most programs are about towers and antennas, we are using Australian know-how to tackle problems which stop us using the resources we already have in the best possible way.” 

CIN Board chair Shane Fitzsimmons

 Led by Dr. Xu Wang of UTS in partnership with World Data Exchange, the data sharing research team will work with government agencies to develop and leverage an innovative consumer centric data sharing management platform alongside blockchain and data obfuscation technologies which look to enable historical and real-time data sharing in a trusted and secure way. 

This project overcomes the limitations of current B2B information exchange approaches by allowing the organisations to perform obfuscation on-premises without releasing any sensitive data,” The CIN Technical Director Distinguished Professor Jay Guo said.

The Long-Range WiFi team is led by Professor Yonghui Li from the University of Sydney, in partnership with UTS, Pivotel Satellites and NBN Co. The project aims to develop a rapidly deployable wide-area WiFi system to supply high speed connectivity for public broadband Internet access, servicing 100 connections in a 2x2km area. The system can provide a cost-effective solution to enable broadband WiFi services over a large geographic area by using patented innovative wireless networking protocols to support steerable multibeam high-gain antennas.

Professor Jay Guo explains, “The smart antennas will enable the system to connect multiple distant users simultaneously, and the smart protocols will be implemented on commercial off-the-shelf WiFi chips to accommodate widely spread WiFi users. The system will be connected to the Internet through NBN’s and Pivotel’s satellite backhaul links and powered by a portable power supply. The innovative satellite backhaul solution will be one of the first government deployments of NBN‘s latest higher speed tier offering on their Business Satellite Service (GEO) with seamless backup and load balancing with OneWeb’s LEO (Low Earth Orbit) service. 

CIN Director Professor Ian Oppermann says the funded projects would demonstrate that clever innovation can take largely off-the-shelf technology to build robust, rapidly deployable solutions for real world environments. Data sharing at speed which preserves privacy, and robust connectivity are two of the main pillars of future solutions the Innovation Network is looking to bring to life.  

Launched in 2021, the Connectivity Innovation Network (CIN) is a ground-breaking initiative of the New South Wales Government developed by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and NSW Telco Authority. 

Jointly led by the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney, the CIN brings together national and globally recognised expertise, researchers, and industry to solve connectivity challenges and deliver improved outcomes for NSW citizens – particularly in remote and regional areas. It seeks to deliver innovative solutions for both fixed and mobile wireless connectivity as well as sensing.