Cloud

Unleashing regional Australia’s potential with IBM Cloud Satellite

Author: Jason Price, Vice President IBM Technology A/NZ

The current focus on – and migration – to regional Australia has been a long time coming. As working from home became the norm last year, many Australians quickly learned that they could work away from offices in the cities. “Tree change” is no longer a pipe dream, and Aussies have been leaving the city in record numbers. In fact, with a record 43,0001 Australians moving to regional Australia in 2020, the demand on connectivity infrastructure has surged.

However, a big challenge remains amidst the beckoning fresh country air and true Aussie laid-back lifestyle: slow, unreliable connectivity.

Jason Price, Vice President IBM Technology A/NZ

Digital connectivity has become increasingly important as more Australians rely on connections to work and access health, education and welfare services. The recent boost to the Regional Connectivity Program by the Australian Government is welcome news, promising new and improved mobile and broadband services to locations across regional, rural and remote Australia.

The promise of 5G in transforming, accelerating and enhancing digital experiences across the country also is becoming a reality, with Australia’s largest telcos committed to building 5G networks and dramatically improve mobile and internet speeds.

Improved connectivity can open new markets to businesses and increase economic participation among communities that have been isolated. At IBM, we think businesses and employees should thrive no matter where they’re located.

To ensure that increased business and foot traffic growth in regional Australia, there’s a need to deliver a similar network and cloud experience as in metro areas. Currently, regional organisations can experience latency due to having their data stored everywhere and nowhere that’s easily accessible, or traversing unreliable connections back to cloud providers in Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra. As you venture further away from the capital cities, data must travel great distances to and from these cities through backhaul networks – resulting in increased costs for organisations, along with poor connectivity at times.

For example, with regional emergency services, this increased latency can mean the difference between life and death. Access to reliable connectivity is critical in situations such as extreme weather, bushfires, flooding or road accidents. Poor connectivity can delay response times, heightening the risk of lasting injury or loss of property. With the introduction of local data centres in regional Australia, latency can be reduced, providing the potential for significantly improved resiliency and productivity for businesses. This is why I am personally excited about IBM Cloud Satellite being delivering a real option for regional Australian businesses to help bridge the digital divide.

IBM Cloud Satellite can be deployed via a distributed cloud platform model which extends public cloud services to any location. This gives clients across industries access to a consistent and secure set of cloud services from their factories, distribution centres, stores, hospitals and wherever else their workloads live.

As organisations continue to adopt IoT devices at the edge of the network, many sectors can benefit from reduced communications costs and faster response times associated with analysing data where it is captured at the edge.

For example, in the agritech sector, some farmers use moisture sensors on the ground and drones to monitor crops. All these sensors create an immense amount of data at the edge and, by bringing compute and storage capabilities closer to where the data is being generated, it can be analysed in near real time so decisions can be made without the latency of sending it to a central cloud.

Internationally, we are seeing IBM Cloud Satellite used in different industries to and a great example is one of Germany’s largest teaching hospitals, University Medical Centre Mainz. When the pandemic hit, medical centres everywhere were thrust to the front lines and needed to speed their digital transformations using a hybrid cloud approach.

But in just a few weeks, the hospital built several apps on Cloud Satellite and is now able to securely share patient data between care providers, schedule and streamline COVID-19 testing and results, and schedule vaccine appointments for employees.

It’s easy to see how IBM Cloud Satellite helps multiple sectors – and will be a major benefit for regional Australia – to deliver low latency while still allowing for the same levels of security, data privacy, interoperability and open standards found in hybrid cloud environments.

11 Australian Bureau of Statistics (Reference period: April 2021) Migration, Australian Methodology, 2019-20 financial yest [https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/migration-australia/latest-release#regional-internal-migration], ABS Website, accessed 05 May 2021.

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