26 June 2024

Keeping the Riverina's tech innovators connected with a yarn around the 'virtual fire'

| Chris Roe
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An ACS Fireside Chat in Albury last year examined the Challenges of Cyber Security.

An ACS ‘Fireside Chat’ in Albury last year examined the challenges of cyber security. Photo: M31.

Wagga-based digital strategist Mike Meyer is passionate about fostering a technology community in the Riverina and is inviting like-minded locals to join him for a deliberately low-tech event.

The upcoming Australian Computer Society (ACS) ‘Fireside Chat’ this Thursday will gaze “into the crystal ball of rural and regional telecommunications” but is strictly in-person.

“It is quite low-tech in a sense because it’s not online, it’s all face-to-face, solid relationship building, and I think there’s something powerful in that,” Mike explained.

“It’s an informal conversation around a virtual fire where we bring two or three great leaders together around a topic and we hear what they’re doing and then engage in a Q and A with everybody.

“It’s a great way to get to know what’s going on in our community and just to get together for some good pizza and drink.”

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Mike is the founder and CEO of M31 Consulting providing specialist advice and leadership to businesses looking to develop their digital technology strategies and applications.

He is also focused on building networks among fellow technologists and business leaders in the region.

With the recent boom in remote and hybrid working arrangements, Mike said locals in the Riverina are sometimes unaware of the digital innovation in our backyard.

“You don’t always know who’s around the corner from you and what sort of technology they are working on,” he said.

“You could have someone working from CommBank in the tech department and you might not even know that they live in Wagga or Albury, so it’s a great opportunity for us to understand that there’s a powerhouse of resources around our regions and that innovation is not just completely focused on the cities.”

Mike Myer is passionate about fostering a technology community in the Riverina.

Mike Myer is passionate about fostering a technology community in the Riverina. Photo: M31.

For rural and regional areas with smaller populations and large distances to cover, improving telecommunications is critical, and the ACS event will look at the transition out of Telstra’s 3G network.

TPG/Vodafone switched off its 3G network in December last year and Telstra plans to turn off its 3G service at the end of August, with Optus to follow suit in September.

The three panellists will explore the impacts of this transition, the latest infrastructure development plans, and the innovation in connectivity in rural Australia.

“We are looking at the future of what rural and regional telecommunications is going to look like particularly as people need to move from 3G to 4G and 5G and it also means that there’s a great expansion and growth in the NBN footprint,” he said.

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“We have people like Andrew Cottrill from NBN coming along with Dan Winson from Zetifi, who has been developing farm-wide Wi-Fi and communications to help bridge those gaps as well.”

The third panellist for the night is Jock Graham from Wi-sky, a wireless internet service provider supporting some of those hard-to-reach areas of southern NSW.

“I think it’s going to be a great discussion to help understand what’s coming in the future and also what’s happening right now,” Mike said.

“People might find themselves being quite surprised that so much innovation is happening in our area.”

The ACS Riverina Murray Regional Fireside Chat: Gazing into the crystal ball of rural and regional telecommunications, is on at the Enterprise Plus Business Hub conference rooms at 85A Travers Street from 5:30 to 7 pm on Thursday 27 June.

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