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KJR 4th Year Presenting at the 2024 Tropical Innovation Festival


For the fourth consecutive year, KJR presented at the Tropical Innovation Festival in Cairns last week. The event brought together investors, innovators, entrepreneurs, government officials, and ecosystem leaders from across regional Queensland, inspiring and informing delegates to advance their ideas, businesses, investments, or ecosystems.

Deep Dive into Indigenous Innovation

KJR kicked off the festival on Monday, June 17th, with the ‘Deep Dive into Indigenous Innovation‘ session. Traditional Elders, visionary founders, community members, government representatives, and leaders from various fields got together to exchange ideas and create a real impact using technology in partnership with Indigenous communities across Australia. This is the second year KJR has brought this session to the Tropical Innovation Festival.

Aaron Bell, General Manager of Remote Data Technologies at KJR, participated in the “Addressing the Digital Divide” panel alongside Darryl Lyons (Rainstick), Mike Hill (AWS), and Duncan Kerslake (Advance Queensland). They discussed the initiatives needed to ensure First Nations people have equal access and opportunities in the digital and tech economy.

Advancements in technology are now more accessible than ever, and KJR is committed to promoting technological equality. The first and most crucial step is providing remote communities with internet access. Innovations in low orbit satellite communications, such as Starlink, have been game-changers, offering reliable web access and creating a level playing field.

With internet access, these communities gain immense opportunities. Further advancements in technology, such as drones, AI, and satellite communications, are continually improving while becoming more affordable. This reduction in cost means that high-quality technology is now within reach for many more people. KJR believes that by making these technologies accessible, we can empower communities and foster greater technological equality.

KJR's Partnerships with Indigenous Businesses & Communities

By investing time and effort, KJR strives to bring cutting-edge technology to regional and indigenous communities. We have been actively involved with technology projects with Indigenous Communities: 

• In collaboration with Jarramali Cultural Tech Tours and Johnny Murison, KJR implemented Geographic Information System technologies to map Rock Art sites effectively. This approach developed solutions that protect historical land sites while preserving Indigenous culture for future generations. 

• KJR also works closely with Salty Monkeys, a First Nations-owned business in the Torres Strait dedicated to cleaning beaches of plastic waste. Using drone mapping technology, big data, and AI, we identify, categorise, and map the distribution and varieties of marine debris.

Innovation in Health and Collaboration with First Nations Communities

In the afternoon, ACT General Manager Andrew Hammond spoke at the “Innovation in Health and Collaboration with First Nations People and Communities” panel with Suzanne Andrews (Gurriny Yealamucka), Dr. Samarra Toby (Native Academy of Space, Science and Innovation), and Rex O’Rourke (Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Services). They emphasised the role of AI and technology and the crucial importance of trust as a foundational pillar for enabling innovation. Establishing trust at the grassroots level within the health provider community and among patients is essential for fostering innovation.

They discussed the significant current barrier of the ability to communicate with remote and rural communities. Emerging technologies like Starlink and satellite communications are starting to enable better and more reliable communications, which will facilitate more innovation.

Artificial Intelligence: Past, Present, and Future

Later in the week, KJR CTO Dr Mark Pedersen participated in the “AI: The Past, Present, and Future” panel on Thursday alongside Dr Sam Horseman (Queensland AI Hub), Fee Lal (Tidal Venturesand James Gauci (Ethē). Moderator Mic Black led a lively discussion which focused on the importance of applying AI to an actual problem to be solved. Dr Horesman observed that real-world value does not arise from simply tacking on Artificial Intelligence as a technology to existing software, but from scaling the application of specialised knowledge, built on well-managed data sets, to solve specific real-world issues.

New technologies are changing the way we work and live, with their practical applications yet to be fully realised. The rapid pace of change in the field urges a focus on human values and purposeful change. Both Mark and James advocated transparency and good governance around AI as an essential step in fostering societal trust in AI solutions. From an investment perspective, Fee Lal noted that the AI governance space is yet to fully develop. Artificial Intelligence remains a simulation of human intelligence for now, and there is considerable work ahead to develop productive human-machine co-intelligence.

As new technologies are changing the way we work and live, we leverage our 26 years of expertise in risk management and quality assurance to direct innovative solutions for data applications into artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies securely and safely. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business: https://kjr.com.au/contacts/

Looking Ahead

The Tropical Innovation Festival stands as a testament to the positive impact that can be achieved when innovation, technology, and community collaboration converge. It was a real pleasure to participate again this year. We remain constantly inspired and amazed by the remarkable individuals and businesses driving innovation and positive transformation in the Australian business landscape. We can’t wait for the next edition!