Wireless sensor networks and their growing emergence is bringing together industry leaders from Australia and the Asian region for the SEARCC conference in Sydney this month.
A panel discussion will feature University of Melbourne researcher Marimuthu Palaniswami, CSIRO ITC Centre researcher Peter Corke, Len Sciacca from the Department of Defence, Stan Skafidas, sensor networks program leader at NICTA, and Dr R Srinivasan a former president of the India Computer Society. Daintree Networks' managing director Bill Wood will moderate a follow-up question-and-answer session on sensor networks.
Peter Corke, research director at the CSIRO ICT Centre's Autonomous Systems Laboratory, said SEARCC will be a good opportunity to share ideas with the various groups which are working on wireless networks in Australia.
"I know of them but haven't met them," Corke said. "We also have great technology to show other people. SEARCC looks like a great way of getting our capabilities out there and known."
Corke's research activities span machine vision, vision-based robot control, field robotics - with a focus on mining applications - and sensor networks. His team is now using the same technology "for a very different application".
"Our work is concentrated on pastoral areas by monitoring the environment including the pasture and animals that graze on the pasture," he said, adding that NICTA is also doing work in irrigation in conjunction with a cooperative research centre.
As his primary research area is robotics, this year will be Corke's first SEARCC.
"Everyone is busy so time away from the office is competing with a lot of other activities," he said, adding that companies increasingly need to make a case for robotics.
"Robots and wireless have a synergy these days and we can use robots to deploy sensor networks," Corke said. "When the network is out there it can help the robot navigate."
Corke, who is also an adjunct professor at the Australian National University and the University of Queensland, said it is possible his team will unveil new technology at SEARCC.
Sensor networks appealed to Corke, who admitted SEARCC is not usually the type of conference he would typically go to, but he said it looks like a good opportunity to discuss them on a national scale, and "anything on top of that would be icing on the cake".
"Emerging technologies is the track I would mostly attend as I'm a technologist and want to know what others are doing," he said. "The presentation 'five technologies to embrace and three to run away from' also looks interesting."
SEARCC 2005 is being organized by IDG on behalf of SEARCC and the Australian Computer Society. For more information about SEARCC 2005, and to register for the event, see www.searcc05.com.au.