In 2010, the National Broadband Network (NBN) will be a major discussion point across Australia. It is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken and if done correctly will revolutionise the way we live, work, play and communicate for generations to come.
Health, a major problem for government, has been identified as one of the most significant beneficiaries of the NBN and with our aging population there will be only be an increase in the demand for high quality health and caring services.
One of current NBN debates is about the economics of the project – to me, the mathematics are very simple – the technology (and subsequent applications) to increase health industry productivity and efficiency by 10%. Apply that 10% against the existing health budget and you have a healthy ROI (Return On Investment)
Far too often accountants (god love em); politicians and consultants get caught up on obsolete manufacturing based costing models – it’s not about construction cost per sec, it is about application development and communication speed/ connections that market and social benefits are delivered and derived.
This same ROI approach can be applied to any inefficient market or process – eg the majority paper based multi billion dollar building and construction industry. Years ago using existing off the shelf software and basic business processes we could reduce housing construction costs by 25%. Across the whole market we could easily reduce 40% of costs (excluding government taxes and Builders Warranty rorts).
The fundamental problem back then (and now) is that builders had no significant motivation (economic or other) to invest in new skills development. In fairness, the technology at the time did not meet their basic needs (robust and easy to use) and the main originators of building information – the architects – were caught up using antiquated 2D software.
Today we are already on the next wave of technological change – mobile computing. The I-phone is the first real mass device to properly deliver a solution – easy and highly functional. More will come.
Back to health – this week Respite Loddon Malle has launched a new website featuring CLIVEvideo with captioning turned on to assist the hearing impaired. Video will represent over 95% of future Internet traffic.
The Loddon Mallee region consists of 56,965 square kilometres or 26% of Victoria, with a population currently reported as 307,405.
Faster broadband equals more rich functional applications and greater social benefits across the nation.
The NBN, if done correctly, can position Australia as a leader of global digital services BUT will also require an integrated approach to skills; application development and financial investment incentive.