Is Australia facing a digital innovation dead-end?

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Australia’s window of opportunity for becoming a digital leader is shrinking, argues APIdays Australia organiser and Sixtree CTO Saul Caganoff

 

The Federal Government’s $1 billion innovation statement was met with much excitement by the startup ecosystem last year.

 

Two months on and the community is now fervently demanding the Government ‘walk the talk’ and avoid bureaucracy from hindering the policy’s implementation.

 

Australia has a vibrant innovation economy comprising startups, large enterprises, companies, governments, providers and consumers. This country is in a key strategic position to make use of APIs to compete globally and to build the next wave of digital services. However, Australia’s window of advantage to be a digital leader is shrinking.

 

Impatience is understandable. The reality is that Australia is struggling to implement the kind of infrastructure that is needed to keep up with consumers’ appetite for innovation. This country boasts the fourth highest penetration rate of mobile telephone subscriptions of the third generation or above. Yet, globally, Australia is among a group of nations seen as currently at a digital standstill.

 

Despite this, Australia can still lay claim to several home-grown technology start up success stories. Most notable is Atlassian, the company behind private chat web service HipChat.

 

The Sydney-based enterprise software group has grown to a multinational that’s listed on the US stock exchange and has an estimated value of $8 billion.

 

Atlassian has joined household names including Netflix, Amazon, eBay, Google and Uber in using web APIs to scale global businesses and achieve market dominance.

 

While many of us may not have heard of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), they are crucial to what is powering our digital world today. APIs create a way to connect data and services from a business or government system in a way that they can be packaged up and made available through a web browser or through a mobile device. For example, APIs let banks create mobile apps and help logistics companies track their delivery vehicles (and offer personal tracking to shoppers).

 

Around the world, Web APIs are creating a wide range of business and technology opportunities in the realm of digital business, mobile and the Internet of Things.

 

What this tells us is that web APIs are a key ingredient to digital transformation. Some experts even predict API traffic will overtake Web/HTML traffic within the next five years.

 

To build on the clear pathways to digital evolution that web APIs are presenting, informal collaborative opportunities are taking place between the Government, the startup community and established businesses. One such initiative is the upcoming APIdays Australia conference, an event where businesses can educate themselves and remain competitive in the digital age.

 

Local organisations of all types, from bleeding edge leaders to the aspirational mainstream, are using APIs every day. People in all roles are thinking about APIs from CEOs and CMOs through to architects and engineers. The opportunity to maximise on this momentum and put Australia in the digital spotlight at last, is now.

 

Learn more about the APIdays Australia conference series, an opportunity to connect with and hear from some of the world’s most influential business leaders, entrepreneurs and technologists.

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