Govt encourages industry innovation to tackle COVID19 blues
The fraternal spirit that has gripped Australians in the COVID19 crisis has been nothing short of remarkable. Underwritten by massive Government subsidies and impacted by restrictive health authority guidelines, the Australian public has largely worked in concert with Government by adhering to restrictions that at any other time would be considered draconian. In WA, that partnership has been captured by a little-known State Government website, www.iThink.wa.gov.au.
The iThink site actively encourages members of the public and businesses to put forward innovative ideas and services that can support and inform the State’s response to COVID19.
Outlined as a mission statement on its homepage, the iThink WA Government website says it was established to “harness the expertise of the community and put bright ideas in front of the right people.”
From innovative suggestions on how to impact shifting behaviours to the consideration of different methods and services in support of the most vulnerable to seeking out new technologies designed to meet the changing demands of a Coronavirus impacted world, the site has so far attracted a number of eye-catching submissions.
Site users are encouraged to interact with each suggestion by commenting on and even voting on the best ideas.
The submission that received the highest number of votes to-date was submitted by private healthcare technology company, InteliCare that is in the process of listing on the ASX.
The company, led by MD Jason Waller, has commercialised an artificial intelligence powered remote monitoring technology platform perfectly designed to assist in times of isolation, particularly for the sick and the elderly.
InteliCare’s in-home monitoring system involves the strategic placement of third-party sensors around the home of a sick or elderly loved one. The system learns what is normal behaviour for the resident and will report to family members via an APP if the resident’s normal behaviour is breached.
For example, it will message loved ones and carers if their elderly family member has not moved for a period of time, not left a particular room for a very long time or failed to turn an electric appliance on or off for extended periods.
The synchronicity of the current coronavirus crisis combined with an ageing population demanding more stay at home solutions to health care has seen the company already receive notifications of interest from the West Australian, Victorian and Federal Government Departments of Health.
Other submissions on the iThink website that received strong support included the bringing forward of public works projects at a time when patronage is down, reducing the impact on users and the use of public servants to assist people in need of understanding their access to online services.
And while the iThink website has been inundated with many other individual community-based action plans, one high-tech company that had its genesis in crisis, PPE Rapid Development is responding to the need for quick delivery of Personal Protective Equipment and has also lodged a submission on iThink.
Andrew Schubert, founder of PPE Rapid Deployment (PPERD) said the company was formed over concern for those still providing vital services to the community putting themselves at risk due to a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment.
Mr Schubert said: “We were inspired by a post from one of our members, showing a design of a face shield capable of quick 3D printing, utilising easily accessible materials. PPERD spontaneously formed to fabricate and deploy these face shields to the community. Our focus is on what we can do today to support workers in our community, be they nurses, GPs, pharmacists, couriers, aged care workers or anyone else who is taking risks to provide essential services and health care.”
Reclink Australia, a not-for profit organisation has also put its hand up on iThink to support contemporary community needs pivoting away from the provision of socially inclusive sports and recreation programs for the disadvantaged to the direct delivery of equipment to communities most at risk, cut off and isolated.
The organisation has commenced the delivery of specialist recreation and arts programs, pathway to employment opportunities as well as sporting equipment to the disadvantaged and isolated.
In another sign-of-the-times adjustment, CEO and founder of Iron Matrix, David Morgan suggested the company’s modular steel construction system that creates buildings from solar panels is a solution in the provision of low-cost shelter and energy.
The structures are expandable, reconfigurable, relocatable and can be built by anyone without cranes, scaffolding, heavy equipment, or earth works.
The robot manufacturing of Iron Matrix steel has already commenced in WA and the patented constructions can be entirely clad in solar panels producing either structures with free electricity or electricity with free structures.
Post-coronavirus, the world as we know it will change and adapt and a new norm will become the reality across a plethora of industries.
www.iThink.wa.gov.au may well be ahead of that curve.
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