Are we ready for Uber-versities?

September 2015

- Professor Linda Kristjanson - Digital Disruption and Academia: Universities will experience profound changes during the next ten years and some may not survive in the way they exist today.

Technology is changing the way we go about our daily lives. Entire industries are undergoing transformations as connectivity creates new ways of doing things.

As universities plan for the future, it is important to take note of the major economic and social transformations that changes in technology are bringing about around us.

Although advances in technology have always wrought change, the pace of change has intensified in the last few years. We are now seeing entire markets being re-imagined to be more responsive to consumers’ expectations.

The taxi industry is a case in point. Taxis enjoyed a virtual monopoly for decades in a market built on the idea that only tight government regulation was capable of protecting consumers. With relatively simple technology, Uber now provides a ride sharing service that has fundamentally challenged the status quo.

Using mapping technology available on every smart phone, Uber ensures that drivers need never get lost. By allowing consumers and drivers to rate each other’s performance, it has created greater accountability between market participants. It eliminates the need for customers to carry cash. Uber even has an answer for the vexed issue of supply and demand. Pricing floats according to demand with higher prices at peak times bringing out more drivers. Regulators have struggled to keep up because the ride-sharing model is so radical that no-one saw it coming.

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How an engineer might be the answer to curing disease

September 2015

- Associate Professor Jonathan Shaw - In 10 years’ time, our current model of medical research may be superseded by cross-disciplinary collaboration involving specialists from a number of fields outside the medical sector.

So what does an engineer know about medical science? As much as I know about engineering, I would imagine, which is next to nothing. However, engineers have skills and knowledge that might benefit medical research.

Until recently, people within a medical discipline were self-contained, not only with the knowledge they had, but the research they were conducting. There is an increasing amount of evidence that suggests that this is not the most efficient way to tackle all medical research, mainly because this expertise does not support ‘out of the box’ solutions.

When you apply a cross-disciplinary approach, you can often find a new angle to tackle very complex problems. A medical research team working on respiratory medicine might involve experts on metabolic disease. This is what is called a multi-disciplinary approach, as the fields are different, but stay within the boundaries of medical science. This is nothing particularly new.

But what happens when you throw a completely different field of knowledge into the mix? In other words, a trans-disciplinary tactic. What can a mathematician, physicist or engineer possible contribute to medical science?

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The changing face of surgery at ICOMS 2015

December 2015

The 22nd International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery was held earlier this year at MCEC and featured a new approach using robots.

Around 1700 delegates from over 60 countries gathered at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) during the 27-30 October to attend ICOMS 2015. Not only were attendees exposed to leading speakers and the presentation of over 700 free papers, but they were also invited to activities and tours that highlighted the natural beauty of the state of Victoria.

Club Melbourne Ambassador David Wiesenfeld, who was the conference chair, said the educational highlight was demonstrating the use of robots for excision of cancer at the back of the mouth.

“Performing surgery to the back of the mouth is difficult and hard to reach. The robots having little arms are able to access this area more easily and with improved accuracy.”

Transoral robotic surgery is a relatively new approach, but it promises to be quite an effective alternative to chemotherapy and radiation. The reason why surgery to remove cancers in this area has not been more widely used in the past is that it can be quite invasive, requiring such things as the splitting of the mandible (jawbone) to expose specific areas.

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Club Melbourne End of Year Reception

Last night, on Monday 7 December, Club Melbourne Ambassadors and industry guests including the Treasurer of Victoria Tim Pallas MP gathered for the final time this year to celebrate another successful year of the program.

In 2015 there were 13 international conferences held and 14 secured for future years through the hard work of Ambassadors.

Guests were treated to Melbourne’s first gala pop-up space, Lorem Ipsum. This hidden space within MCEC captures Melbourne’s creative and sophisticated style and was a surprise to those who thought they knew our venue’s capabilities. 

We hope you enjoyed your first taste of Lorem Ipsum, a unique celebration of Melbourne’s creativity, culinary culture and world-class style.

In launching Lorem Ipsum, MCEC and event partner EMG have created Melbourne’s most flexible end-of-year event space. Offering sophisticated theming, state-of-the-art technology and award-winning food, the space can host gala dinners or lunches from 500 to 1200 people and cocktail functions for up to 2000.

Each year Lorem Ipsum will be completely transformed, offering an entirely new event experience. This year’s opulent and glamorous design is set to transform into a fresh, organic and innovative concept for 2016.

For more information about Lorem Ipsum, or to enquire about a booking for next year, or call (03) 9235 8210.

Photos of the evening are available to Ambassadors via the Club Melbourne private portal. If you would like to receive photos directly, please contact us on 03 9235 8238 or at
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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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Can we remain the intellectual capital of Australia?

September 2015

- Ms Karen Bolinger - Melbourne has positioned itself as Australia’s intellectual capital by hosting some of the world’s biggest conventions, but to ensure it continues to be seen as such, it will need to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

For Melbourne to remain the countries’ centre of knowledge, it will need continued government involvement as well as investment to maintain its world-class universities and ground-breaking research facilities.

More importantly, it will need strong leaders in these fields to help drive Melbourne’s research agenda. In a decade’s time, retaining, as well as attracting these highly sought after individuals will help Melbourne continue to be a global leader.

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Future opportunities for Victorian small business

September 2015

- Mr Mark Stone - If small business can adapt to an evolving economic and technological landscape, it has the potential to emerge as a formidable sector by 2025.

Technology is impacting how we do business with more and more business taking place online. Videoconferencing and other tools are making communication easier, while social media is playing a larger role in business networking. However, none of these innovations can replace the face to face communication, information sharing and networking that is facilitated by business events.

There will always be a need for businesses to make new connections, rekindle old ones, learn from each other, share experiences and hear from leaders in their fields. There are fundamental benefits in people getting together and interacting that cannot be replicated online. The face to face connections that are made at business events can lay the groundwork for strong working and business relationships which can grow over time. 

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Melbourne of the future

September 2015

- Lord Mayor Robert Doyle - Flying cars and robotic servants or bikes and feet in 10 years? Trends are all about the people in the world’s most liveable city.

As a boy, my favourite television show was “The Jetsons”, a 1966 cartoon family of the ‘future’: that is, of 2016!The Jetsons promised that we would all be driving flying cars and be waited on by robotic servants. 

If you had said to people in the 1960s that the future is all about bicycles and public transport and walking, they would have laughed at you. In fact, that is what has happened.

Over the last three years, we have invested more than $10 million to increase connectivity and safety across the bike network in Melbourne.

We now have more than 136 kilometres of bike lanes throughout our city, and cyclists account for 17 per cent of all vehicles coming into the city, which is nearly double what it was in 2008.

I have no doubt these figures will grow significantly over the next ten years, as we aim to further boost the number of people riding into the city from surrounding suburbs and encourage residents to use bikes around their neighbourhoods.

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September 2015