Meeting of tech minds a WA first

All these people’s phones have been ringing more frequently over the past two months.

Since the elevation of Malcolm Turnbull to Prime Minister, and the strident innovation focus he has brought to the job, the leaders in WA’s innovation and technology sectors feel a little more popular and relevant.

And for the first time, they are coming together under one umbrella. Next month, WA’s chief scientist, chief information officer, the Information Technology and Telecommunications Alliance, the WA arm of the Computer Society, eGroup, OzApp Awards, Curtin University and the major political parties will unite for the West Tech Assemblage event.

The gathering on December 8 is part of WA’s expanding West Tech Fest which attracts Silicon Valley investors and other tech heavyweights to about 10 events across five days. The assemblage is the newest event on the calendar, and will see tech leaders along with Government innovation representative Matt Taylor and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan give their views on where WA can go and how the industry can better promote itself.

Chief scientist Peter Klinken said it was the type of event needed in Perth to understand “who’s who in the zoo”.

“It’s not like everyone is here is competing,” he said. “In many ways they’re all complementary to each other. But sometimes you need the nucleation step before you form the crystal . . . and I love saying these things around these people because I know they understand.”

Curtin University intellectual property director Rohan McDougall said the West Tech Fest gave the tech sector a voice.

“I think there’s a lot of chatter about Sydney and Melbourne, but we are doing great things here and these sorts of events put Perth on the agenda, which is the first step,” he said.””

IT consultant Nilesh Makwana, who moved to Perth three years ago after working overseas, said he was impressed by the local tech scene but was perplexed by its fragmentation.

Published by the The West Australian on 1st December 2015.
Written by Nick Sas.