The bedrock that held up Australia’s economy is now shifting and cracking.

Automotive giants, once responsible for employing thousands, have pulled out of the country. Mining companies are suffering from a fall in commodity prices. Skills previously high in demand no longer provide lucrative jobs.

But amid this storm of change, we saw bright sparks coming out of Australia.

South Australia

The South Australian state’s ability to innovate and introduce new programmes shows the potential for Australia’s transformation.

The state partnered with Elon Musk’s Tesla to address its power cuts. It set up a 15-year $50 million fund to support local startups. Adelaide, the capital city, is testing new smart solutions and upgrading connectivity infrastructure. Down by the docks, the state is reviving its marine and defence supply chain using state-of-the-art technologies. In the future, it plans to become a hub for the country’s space industry.

Dassault Systèmes has been privileged to work with the state in various areas of transformation to support its local industries and academia to make the most of these new opportunities:

Virtual Shipyard Programme – Supporting local to go digital

We are working with the Department of State Development to train 16 local marine and defence suppliers to develop digital capabilities. The Virtual Shipyard programme will use 3D design and simulation technologies to show SMEs how they can meet the requirements of the sector. The platform’s capabilities will help improve planning, decision making, manufacturing quality and time to market in the shipbuilding industry.

The programme will help these companies take advantage of the opportunities that will come to South Australia from 2020 with the Commonwealth government’s AU$89 billion investment in the defence industry. It will enable the industry and local suppliers to compete on a global scale by cutting construction delays and cost overruns significantly.

Partnership with University of Adelaide – Developing the future workforce

We have partnered with the University of Adelaide to ensure students graduate with the skills to secure jobs of the future. As part of its curriculum, the university is teaching students to use technologies in an industry setting, like our 3DEXPERIENCE platform which is widely used in the defence sector.

The partnership helps the university ensure that their graduates are industry-ready. It introduces new ways for students to think about problems, by testing ideas and simulating future scenarios on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. And we will work with the university to continually adapt its curriculum to be ready for the jobs of tomorrow.

Future opportunities for Australians

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Across Australia, traditional industries like mining, and other areas like urban planning and space, are going through an incredible amount of transformation.

In mining, for instance, 3D and simulation technologies can help companies and governments monitor the environmental impact and improve the efficiency of operations. Australian mines will generate huge amounts of data as they begin to use drones and automated vehicles in operations. All of this data, brought together on a single collaborative platform provides a complete and real-time view of what is going on inside.

In urban planning, leading cities like Singapore and Rennes, France are creating 3D digital models, monitoring everything from transport to electricity. It allows cities to simulate future scenarios and answer ‘what-if’ questions on the impact of new developments. It brings together city officials who traditionally worked in silos, enabling them to find better solutions and understand what their stakeholders and citizens need.

To test new ideas in any area, governments need to understand their impact on residents and better communicate this to them. A dynamic 3D model of a city – or any other operation – can help officials see the impact, literally, from citizens’ eyes.

If a new hospital is being built, how does it affect the city landscape? Officials and planners can see the impact on traffic flow in the area, and whether it is accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and the elderly. With healthcare data, they can simulate how busy the hospital might be and what the waiting times will be. This allows them to address these problems and adjust the design and construction at an early stage, and showcase these measures to citizens.

Meanwhile, the space race is on to get humans on another planet faster and cheaper. Our work with the European Space Agency helped scientists complete a historic mission, landing a robot to collect the first ever images from a comet’s surface. The data collected during this mission will help scientists answer fundamental questions about the beginning of life on Earth.

All of these areas present opportunities for Australia to become a world-leading innovator. It already has the right ingredients – an open and forward-thinking government, dynamic businesses and skilled talent. And they are seizing the opportunities today.

This blog post was authored by Masaki Sox Konno, Managing Director, Asia Pacific South, Dassault Systèmes.