Australia’s IoT Opportunity: Driving Future Growth

Australia has benefited and prospered from an unprecedented 27 years of economic growth. However, economists argue our good fortune is mainly due to external factors rather than through improvements in the productivity of our industries or workforce. Weak productivity growth is costing the economy dearly and could make Australia uncompetitive in global markets critical for our future and even fall out of the G20.

In our report, Australia’s IoT Opportunity: Driving Future Growth, we explore how the ‘Internet of Things’ represents a set of technologies that can help Australia address its productivity challenge. In many industries, particularly those that are dominated by physical activity, the IoT can significantly increase productivity.

We’ve collaborated with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) to quantify, for the first time, the potential economic benefit to Australia as a result of broad uptake of IoT technology in five industries that have the most to gain: construction, mining, healthcare, agriculture and manufacturing. In these industries, Australia has the chance to leapfrog the productivity gap through the intelligent use of the IoT. While a great deal of IoT technology is relatively new and specific opportunities are still to be uncovered, it could be a chance for these industries to undergo a radical transformation and make a fresh start. 

Our report sets out a number of straightforward recommendations for both business and government to make sure that Australia takes advantage of the IoT opportunity. If adopted, these actions would not only add hundreds of millions to GDP, boost productivity and make the nation’s exports significantly more competitive, but also help make individual businesses more competitive and ‘future-fit’. It’s time for Australia to step up its game and establish its place in the Internet of Things.

 

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Key findings

Across the five industries assessed in our report, which represent 25% of Australia’s GDP, the Internet of Things can achieve potential annual benefits of A$194–308 bn over a period of 8–18 years. This impact translates into average productivity improvements of around 2% p.a. across these industries.

Total potential annual run rate benefits = A$75–96 bn

Construction has been one of the slowest industries to adopt process innovations, yet it is characterised by physical activities and a significant amount of technical equipment. The combination of these two factors makes for substantial potential benefits from the IoT.

Total potential annual run rate benefits = A$50–88 bn

The stable and controlled setting in which manufacturing typically operates combined with the large number of ‘things’, such as machines and sensors, creates an ideal environment for the IoT.

Total potential annual run rate benefits = $A34–68 bn

While other industries have reinvented their delivery models, technology base and value chain, healthcare in Australia remains relatively unchanged and is becoming increasingly unsustainable. The potential impact of the IoT on the broader healthcare sector is enormous.

Total potential annual run rate benefits = $A22–34 bn

The IoT has significant potential to increase output, decrease production costs, improve safety outcomes and reduce environmental impact. The benefits delivered by the IoT would have substantial flow-on effects given the importance of mining to the Australian economy. 

Total potential annual run rate benefits = $A14–22 bn

Adopting IoT technology would help primary producers increase yields and reduce costs, which in turn would lift profitability and improve the competitiveness of Australian produce in international markets.

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