Wednesday, July 14, 2004

New High School Student Tcard

Tcard is the new way to go to and from school. It's a public transport smart card that will make it easier to get around. One day it is expected that everyone will have one, but school students using private bus services will be the first to use it.

In July 2004, 7,000 Sydney school students will participate in a Tcard trial. In January 2005, all school students in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area using private buses for school travel will receive a Tcard.

Click here to find out more about Tcard.

Editor's Comment - It's rather poor that Australia has taken so many years to adopt such a system (and even now it's only a pilot trial!). What am I on about? Let me explain... Hong Kong's underground train network relies on a quick and efficient payment of transport using an "Octopus Card", which international students from HK will know about :)

There are no headaches of the public transport system we have here in NSW - inflexible ticketing system, long queues to buy tickets, lack of full compatibility between transport operators, incorrectly programmed ticket barriers (false rejection of your ticket), maybe you can think of more...

To quote the website "The Octopus system was created by AES ProData (Hong Kong) Limited [in 1997], a member of the ERG Group of Companies, based in Perth, Western Australia. AES Prodata is responsible for the design, build, operation, maintenance and financing of automated fare collection in the Octopus system."

In other words, an Australian company engineered this fantasic solution to public transport for Hong Kong yet (as usual) we are 7 years away from adopting this technology in our home country :(

The card looks and feels exactly like to old Telstra Phonecards that were floppy and had holes punched in them. Remember back then?

Hong Kong citizens have even adopted the technology as eCash, a technology dream which has been been touted so much over the last 5 years but hasn't taken off in Australia.

Click here for more technical info on the Octopus Card info here.

So I highly encourage YOU, as the future of I.T and engineering in Australia to take on a more proactive approach than our past leaders, to think globally on how we can advance Australia to the top of the charts! Australia has time and time again show to other countries that we have the talent and ability to create world-class solutions to problems, yet we really need to capitalise on our talent - or our talent will leave for greener pastures offshore.

With the Free Trade Agreement we (companies and individuals) really, really, really need to become globally competitive or we will lose out to our international competitors. The FTA opens Australian markets up internationally and Australian companies are no longer protected by huge taxes. Although not affecting the technology industry as much, it is an indication of things to come.

Take Telstra and Optus as a prime example - which is doing better and why? Optus because it is operated internationally and they are proactive instead of being stagnant. And remember that many of our "Australian" brands are being sold off to companies in America. If we don't move forward then we are moving backwards because our international competitors are trying harder.

And YOU are the solution. Become a more aggressive thinker, think long term, think internationally, be proactive in your career and industry, be ambitious and most importantly voice your opinions to your future company on what we need to do. Because if we sit back and do business like we've always done business, then we'll lose to offshore companies.