Townsville Innovative Future

Resilient Townsville

Allow me to introduce myself and my region, Townsville. My name is Matthew Bulat and I have been a Townsville resident for the last 13 years including having the role of Chairman of the Australian Computer Society North Queensland Chapter for over 10 years. Networking has helped be participate in multiple community and industry groups. My background includes the industries of Information, Communication & Technology (ICT), Government and Education. This period and roles has allowed me a greater understanding of the region in terms of history, change, insights and the future.

Townsville has a City Deal signed by 3 levels of government to help define its 15 year future. This includes the topics of the port, defence bases, CBD, export growth, innovation, energy and infrastructure.

North Queensland Stadium begins construction this year bringing new construction activity up to 2020.

Both JCU and CQU universities opened new buildings this year.

Global mineral values have influenced how many fly in fly out miners operate from Townsville. We also provide some of the software used in the mining industry. Adani is expected to create a headquarters in Townsville for their new coal mine.

The port expansion to allow bigger ships has allowed large cruise ships to visit Townsville. It can also accommodate all the Australian Navy vessels types. This means more visitors to Townsville and boosts Tourism.

There are 2 solar farms starting this year to the south and west of Townsville. One solar farm is in response to high energy costs for the Zinc refinery. This bring new engineering and skills to Townsville.

Up to 14,000 Singapore troops will be trained in Townsville and Shoalwater Bay. This brings young people from all industries to see Townsville and possibly partner with local industry in the future.

Water availability is currently low in Townsville. There will be an options paper delivered this year. This may start new civil projects in the near future. There is a pilot wireless water meter system in place.

Energy Queensland will have a new headquarters in Townsville. This may prompt new research in energy efficiency, demand management, renewable energy and energy storage.

James Cook University created an off peak chilled water 12 million litre tank facility that provides daytime cooling for the campus buildings. This has flattened the energy use curve between day and night.

Kidston solar and pumped storage will begin construction this year. This uses 2 former open cut mines as a high dam / low dam hydro electricity generator. Solar is used to pump to the high dam when there is low demand.

Agriculture and the Great Barrier Reef have dependencies. Water flows need to be low in nutrients and silt. Earthworks and fertiliser application is avoided during the wet season. I helped design 3 fertiliser calculators to have just enough of the select nutrients to grow a selected crop. This saves money and avoids waste.

Townsville participated in the Solar City programme. This gained knowledge on how to manage energy creation and use. Magnetic Island provided the platform for new ideas such as solar, energy efficiency, smart meters and demand management. Magnetic Island now does not need to upgrade its electricity feed in transmission for years into the future. A Townsville house can generate 1000 kWh per month from solar.

Townsville participated in the IBM Smarter Cities programme. IBM helped create the future roadmap for a Smart City design. We now have a shared low powered wide area network that covers the whole city for projects like the Internet of Things. There are multiple environment IoT sensor network systems running.

NBN used Townsville as an early release site for testing. This helped establish 18 suburbs with NBN fibre to the premises. New high tech industries are now taking advantage of this infrastructure. The council also provides 500MB of NBN per day from the libraries, CBD, sporting stadiums and tourism attractions. I wrote up 74 ways to use and NBN connection. Business can update their business to take advantage of the NBN.

STEM education development can be seen in multiple ways in Townsville. CSIRO Scientist in School, Young ICT Explorer, Digital Careers, TechNQ / Tafe / CQU / JCU, Startup Weekend, iNQ Townsville Innovation Centre and Small Business Development Centre. My roles include teacher, participant, judge, mentor and lecturer. One of my interests is Skills Framework of the Information Age (SFIA) for ICT skills awareness, skills management and skills gap analysis. This is useful in planning startups, projects or organisations to meet their goals.

Other community desires include a Cooperative Research Centre, tropical energy, resilience from cyclones, energy security, water security, sustainability education, floating solar on our dam, cloud computing region management and fuel security. I wrote up 17 business models based on a community Resilient Townsville workshop.

Townsville of the future will be resilient, sustainable and smart. The article show how this is coming together. We can develop new ideas, confirm product market fit, create an advanced sustainable business model and scale up. The world can be our marketplace. If my website can reach 180 countries every month then so can yours.

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Sunday, 26 May 2019

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