Internet of Things and Australia’s Regulatory Framework – Think Tank  announced by Communications Alliance

Sydney, 25 March 2015 - The growth trajectory of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and its pervasive influence means that parts of Australia’s telecommunications regulatory framework may be rapidly overwhelmed or inhibit the national ability to reap the benefits of the changed environment, Communications Alliance warned today.

A major new industry research project announced at the Rewind: Fast Forward conference in Sydney, will see the creation of a Think Tank in which industry heavyweights and other expert parties will work with Communications Alliance to focus on:

  • Identifying and addressing regulatory and other enablers and inhibitors, to help create an environment that allows the full potential of IoT services and their cross-sectoral benefits to be realised in Australia;
  • the opportunity for Australian companies to be early beneficiaries of new business models through IoT and for Australia to become a significant exporter of business solutions enabled by IoT.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton told the conference that for the Australian economy and society, the rapid emergence of IoT represents both a significant opportunity and a very real threat, depending on whether and how the nation adapts to and harnesses the power and potential of the phenomenon.

“The proliferation and business relevance of the ‘Internet of Things’ and communications services based on the capabilities that a connected environment engenders, are growing rapidly worldwide,.

“IoT is the next massive disruptor in the global communications environment and today we stand at the base of a growth curve that will steepen dramatically over the next 10 years.”

While forecasts vary, there is a generally held view among expert commentators that the number of connected devices will grow to within the region of 30 billion by 2020 – around a five-fold increase from present day experience. Even more rapid growth is anticipated in the Asia-Pacific market place.

The Communications Alliance membership includes Australia’s major service providers and global communications vendors, who are leading the development of next-generation connected environments. Communications Alliance is also working with Australian consulting firm Creator Tech and is in the advanced stages of finalising additional commercial partners to join CA members in a ‘think tank’ that will direct the project. Discussions about the potential to partner with Government are also proceeding.

The objective of the project is that by mid-2016 Australia will have an activated IoT industry community, with a future strategy and vision that is understood and supported by Communications Alliance, industry and the Federal Government. The project is also intended to dovetail with the Federal Government’s deregulatory and red-tape reduction programs.

The IoT project will examine ‘Enablers and Inhibitors’ across several axes of influence. These include:

1.    Technology enablers such as:

  • availability of a wide range of sensors;
  • access technologies from low bit to high – predominantly wireless, but not necessarily mobile;
  • networking protocols and platforms for creating IoT applications; and
  • access to big data analytics capability

2.    Business drivers and enablers such as

  • expansion of internal M2M initiatives to external customers;
  • the cost of embedded wireless receivers; and
  • service business models  optimised for low bandwidth, wide coverage markets;

3.    Regulatory enablers and inhibitors such as

  • Roaming Rules: Traditional roaming regimes and interconnect/revenue models were not designed to suit the demands of a globally-interconnected or notionally connected multitude of mobile sensors.
  • Numbering Schemes: Numbers are a finite resource and the existing formats will be exhausted very quickly by IoT demand unless some accommodation is made.
  • Data Sovereignty: The emergence of IoT creates an environment in which data will become available from a far more rich and diverse array of sources. Data streams from different countries, different vertical and from many more points within the value chain will enable a revolution in ‘big-data’ analysis and create solution platforms that are undreamt of today.
  • Identity Management and Privacy: The value of data in cross-sectoral applications, such as health and insurance is apparent. However the efficacy of user consent to applications will be tested as will the meaning of privacy. These are issues under serious consideration overseas and will have ramifications in Australia.
  • Access Security: As the value of data becomes more evident there will be new challenges around access security. IoT creates new opportunities for fraudsters. The boundaries between ‘research’ and ‘espionage’ may blur.
  • Spectrum Allocation and Cost: The Australian Government is already undertaking a review of its spectrum management and allocation regime. An IoT environment may be significantly hampered by the application of traditional philosophies on how spectrum is priced and allocated.
  • Access to Low Cost/Low Data Access Networks: IoT and M2M applications are often high frequency, how volume, low bit-rate in nature. Data network access models may need to be rethought to produce a ‘win-win’.
  • The Commercial Value of Information: New commercial thinking is likely to be required as new IoT-based business models and opportunities emerge. ‘Analysis-as-a-Service’ could touch the commercial lives of every sector.



Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see

Media information contact:

Lucy Chamberlain 0402 106 613