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Bladerunner and the age of the automated vehicle

September 2015

- Mr Dean Zabrieszach - The autonomous or driverless vehicle has been popularly depicted in everything from Blade Runner through to Minority Report. Is this just a fictional device used by science fiction writers or were they actually accurate predictions?

Terms like autonomous vehicles, driverless vehicles and connected vehicles are becoming part of industries’ lexicon, but does this mean that the age of the ‘Blade Runner’ is really upon us? I would propose it is, being careful to include a proviso of ‘but’.

For the past decade, vehicle manufacturers, communications providers, software developers and equipment suppliers have been working with state-of-the-art technology to make smarter cars and trucks. 

Features like dynamic cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot assistance, reversing cameras, navigation systems and radars are examples of how this type of technology is already in play with modern, mass produced vehicles. This is what I would describe as the first phase of an automated vehicle.

In the next 2-3 years, car-makers will be introducing even more intuitive vehicles; vehicles that can communicate with road-side infrastructure such as traffic signals to ensure not only that the journey is efficient, but to avoid collisions with other vehicles.  Most brands (Toyota, BMW, Ford etc.) are working on these initiatives and improvements. This is the dawn of the connected vehicle, a stepping stone in the evolution towards the automated vehicle. 

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Importing and exporting talent the Melbourne way

September 2015

- Professor Nadia Rosenthal - I’ve always been impressed with the way Melburnians connect. From local to global, Melburnians have a very attractive way of nurturing links and creating professional networks.

Networks are a critical element in the success of the science and technology sector in Victoria and one of Melbourne’s greatest competitive advantages in the innovation age. They will deliver the world to Melbourne’s doorstep over the next ten years.

In the space of fifty short years Melbourne has become a global science city, recognized around the world. Medical research and sport were together the first global communication systems that Melbourne invested in to drive recognition and economic and intellectual value on the world stage and they continue to be the vanguard.

Ten years from now Melbourne will be on every international scientist’s bucket list of top destinations to study and work.  Melbourne will have sharpened and honed her powers of persuasion and attraction, retaining and gaining the best of the worlds minds for a short time or a long time. It will be the flow of great minds in and out of this city that will continue to make Melbourne great. 

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What will customers want from venues in the future?

September 2015

- Mr Peter King - Gone are the days where you simply sell space, give customers the key and wish them well for their event. Now, more than ever, venues need to offer significant value-adds and evolve their business to meet the growing needs of customers.

We’ve heard it many times over, the customer is king. And becoming a truly customer centric organisation is part of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) strategic direction. But it wasn’t until recently, when we took a step back and looked at the journey customers take when doing business with us that we now have a clear picture of how their needs have changed and put the steps in place to make sure our customers are at the heart of everything we do.

Events have moved to a 24/7 operation and to keep ahead of the game and global competition, we need to predict what the customer will want in 10 years and this is where our recent customer journey research comes in. 

The industry-first external research looked at a whole range of event organiser personas and the types of events they host. It showed the interactions and experiences customers have with MCEC each and every step of the event process. 

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Will we travel to the MCG to watch a game in 2025?

September 2015

- Professor Hans Westerbeek - When we attend a live sporting event at the ‘G’ 10 years from now, we will have a radically different experience to the one we have today. Technological advancements will allow us to attend virtually, rather than travelling to the stadium.

Sporting events are a great platform to bring communities together. When attending a football or cricket match in the stadium, social and economic barriers disappear and friendly rivalry between human beings is centred on passionately supporting their team. In Australia, and Melbourne in particular, sport events are part of our way of life.

On any autumn weekend, one can choose from rugby league, rugby union, football, several AFL matches, top-level netball and basketball. On a regular basis, we can even see the likes of International Champions Cup teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Roma.

The number of governments using sport to capture the attention of the world is rapidly increasing. In the Middle East and Asia, governments and corporations alike are investing billions of dollars in infrastructure and bids to attract major events to their shores to steal the sporting limelight from first world economies.

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Our secret weapon for a better tomorrow

September 2015

- Dr Alessandro Demaio - Humanity is currently at a crossroads. We are at a moment in time where future generations will likely look back and either judge us for delay, or recognise the courage in our conviction.

Our three greatest global challenges today are problems we created ourselves. The very success we associate with the technological, social and economic progress made over the last few centuries now threatens our health and the planet we inhabit. 

The first great challenge is, of course, climate change. As the world passes the critical 400PPM concentration of atmospheric carbon, this year is once again on track to be the hottest on record. Unmitigated, rising sea levels will mean more conflict, displaced populations and more severe natural disasters. Serious threats which overwhelmingly and disproportionately affect the world’s poorest, and those communities least prepared or able to cope.

The second is Non-Communicable Diseases: heart disease, diabetes, cancers, mental illness and respiratory disease. These diseases share common causes and despite, therefore, being collectively preventable, together they constitute some 68% of all global deaths. These are not diseases of rich, lazy, old, white men. These are diseases that cause, deepen and entrench poverty; with the world’s poorest populations and the poorest in our community bearing the brunt of the NCD morbidity and mortality.

And the third is the disintegration of social contract: the trust and connection between us in society. The very ‘glue’ we need to overcome these great, collective challenges. Because it is only through truly caring for one another that we will act on threats that face a future generation, which will bring suffering to families we have never met, or that cause a widening of social inequality and the economic marginalisation of foreign populations.

The good news is that just as we are the cause of these challenges, we, too, can be their solution. The question must not be if we can or will make tough decisions for a better 2025, but how - and when.

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