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Australia is being left behind in high-technology development

  • 17 December, 2009 07:15

<p>Government and industry are being warned that the lack of an effective high-technology framework is stifling the growth of Australia’s IT sector as local innovators head offshore to undertake important research and development. The CEO for Australian software developer QSR International, John Owen, says it is vital that Australia develops a successful high-tech industry which is recognised and exported throughout the world.</p>
<p>“Australia needs to move past the ‘digging it out of the ground and growing it mentality’ on which we have based our export industry. We have excellent innovation that goes on throughout Australia on a regular basis but without an effective framework for research and development, this innovation is either developed overseas or never sees the light of day," he said.</p>
<p>“A case in point is the creation of the ‘black box’ used on board aircrafts around the world. Many people wouldn’t be aware that the technology was invented in Australia but developed and commercialised overseas. This is but one example of how Australia is particularly poor at nurturing and promoting home grown innovation."</p>
<p>Mr Owen says that many new companies find it difficult to break into mature international IT markets due to a lack of government and industry support when promoting and exporting new technology products.
“At the moment there are many countries in Europe far smaller than Australia which are renowned for their IT prowess, for instance the development of Nokia in Finland or Ericsson in Sweden. However nothing high-tech will come to mind if you ask a European about Australia.</p>
<p>“We need to have a dramatically improved framework to actively encourage and ensure that we can not only develop new technology but that we can commercialise and market it internationally as well. It’s unfortunate that a company that’s developed something fantastic in Australia would feel the need to list in America, where venture capitalists are more likely to back new technology, because they won’t get the support in research and development at home,” he said.</p>
<p>QSR International’s outstanding achievements in the development, manufacturing and exporting of world’s best practice qualitative data analysis software has shown that Australian designed and manufactured IT products can become successful on a global stage. The company exports to 150 countries and is the market-leader in a competitive international field.</p>
<p>In the past 12 months, QSR has been recognised for its achievement at a range of domestic and international awards and has taken out the top honours at both The Age/D&amp;B 2009 Victorian Business of the Year Award and the Dell Small Business Excellence Award in Australia. QSR has also won the prestigious 2009 Market Research Society/Association for Survey Computing Award for Technology Effectiveness which was announced in London this week and is part of the United Kingdom’s premier market research awards program. QSR is currently listed for a second international award, being the 2009 Global Dell Small Business Excellence Award, where the company will represent Australia and compete against winners from 12 other countries.</p>
<p>“Businesses which operate in the IT sector must work together and share skills, knowledge and experiences, while government needs to be more proactive in funding research and helping smart industries develop a good international reputation for IT innovation," Mr Owen said.</p>
<p>“In Australia we have the ability to become internationally recognised as a hub for cutting edge technology if an effective framework is put in place. As the development of high technology continues to grow and expand across the world, we need to move beyond the success of our primary industries and expand and diversify Australia’s export market into the IT sector."</p>
<p>Media contact:
To interview QSR International CEO John Owen, phone Kate Bright, Sauce Communications on 0427 728 245 or email kate@saucecommunications.com.au
Please note a media backgrounder on QSR International follows.</p>
<p>Media backgrounder:
* QSR International is based in Australia, with offices in Europe and North America.</p>
<p>* From its Melbourne base and with a staff of nearly 65, it has become the world’s largest qualitative research software developer.</p>
<p>* QSR’s flagship products – NVivo and XSight – are developed end-to-end in Australia and are sold in more than 150 countries. The data analysis software allows users to upload and analyze video, audio, images and text side-by-side. Its powerful analysis tools help users to interrogate their data - testing out theories, identifying trends and cross-examining information.</p>
<p>* QSR was the first in the world to deliver qualitative research software programs in Japanese and Simplified Chinese. The company's NVivo 8 software is also available in German, French, and Spanish.</p>
<p>* QSR customers are drawn from the academic, government and commercial sectors and its largest geographic markets are the United States, Europe and Australasia.</p>
<p>* More than 400,000 customers use QSR software and more than 500 organizations hold site licenses for its products, including the Children’s Hospital Boston, the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, sports coach UK, market research giant GfK-NOP, the Victorian CFA and virtually every major university in the United States, Europe and Australasia.</p>
<p>* QSR is the most published software developer in the qualitative research field - its software is cited in textbooks, research literature, journals and blogs worldwide.</p>
<p>* QSR International is the only developer in its field to earn Microsoft Gold Partner status and ISV competency.</p>
<p>* All QSR software developers are Microsoft Certified Professionals and all software testers have International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) certification.</p>
<p>* An early adopter of emerging technology, QSR was amongst the first software developers in the world to utilize .Net and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express. The company was also the first in its field to develop software using Microsoft XP guidelines and to receive Microsoft’s Certified for Vista accreditation.</p>
<p>* QSR won the 2009 Dell Small Business Excellence Award in Australia, and will compete against 12 other countries for the 2009 Global Dell Small Business Excellence Award. QSR was also named as the winner of the IT &amp; Business Services Category in The Age / Dun &amp; Bradstreet 2009 Victorian Business Awards and went on to be named 2009 Victorian Business of the Year in the same awards.</p>
<p>* QSR won the Information and Communications Technology category at the Governor of Victoria Export Awards in 2008, 2006 and 2001. It was highly commended in the same category in 2004 and 2002. The Company has also been named the winner of the 2009 MRS/ASC Technology Effectiveness Awards in the United Kingdom for its software NVivo 8. It was selected as a finalist for its XSight software in 2007 for the same award. In addition, QSR was selected as a finalist in the Applications and Infrastructure Tools category in the 2007 Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) iAwards.</p>
<p>* While QSR International was formally established in 1995, the company has its origins in 1981 – when the first software product, NUD*IST, was developed.</p>

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