Entrepreneurial Invermay embraces connectivity
Launceston (pakana and palawa land) in Tasmania has long recognised itself as a city of entrepreneurs.
And the biggest start up – so far – to spring from the southernmost state’s second biggest city?
It could well be the City of Melbourne (Kulin Nation) after grazier John Batman sailed up the Tamar River from Launceston and across Bass Strait to settle the future capital almost known as ‘Batmania'.
Back in very liveable Launceston, other pioneering and entrepreneurial claims to fame would go on to include: the forming of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce in 1849 (today, Australia’s oldest); the founding of Australia’s first art society in 1891; and the invention of the notepad by Birchalls bookshop owner, J.A Birchall, in 1902.
These days – with help from services over the nbn™ network – the city’s can-do spirit well and truly lives on, including in the lovely Launceston suburb of Invermay, where connectivity is helping business owners like Mike Cruse make a name for themselves.
Invermay, get connected
Welcome to Invermay, Tasmania
Located in the north of Launceston, Invermay hugs the Tamar River as it snakes its way into the city centre.
Home to Inveresk – a precinct within the suburb – Invermay boasts 3,185 residents and 424 businesses*.
One of these locals, real estate agent Isabo Davidson, says Invermay has undergone a revival in the last five or so years.
“The location has really taken a turn. We’ve seen it become much more of a sought-after area with property prices reaching a new high.
“We’ve also been noticing quite a lot of younger people moving into the area.”
A lot of this, says Isabo, is to do with how central the suburb is and the convenience that comes with that.
And then there’s the benefits that connectivity brings.
“The nbn™ [network] really helps.
Scattered throughout the Federation-era houses that define inner-city Invermay, you’ll find start-up boutique breweries, local coffee roasters and an array of tech savvy businesses.
Meet Mike from Definium Technologies
Mike Cruse, Founder of Definium Technologies, grew up in Launceston and, after many years spent working in America, decided he could continue to pursue his passion for designing and manufacturing in Tasmania, thanks largely to services over the nbn™ network.
“I grew up in Launceston but have lived and worked in the US and Europe for about twenty years and so I did the whole Silicon Valley .com start-up thing,” says Mike.
“My career in this space started in a garage in Invermay about two kilometres away, so it’s strange that I’m back here now doing what we used to do but on a much smaller budget and with a lot less experience.”
Definium Technologies has grown from having one part-time staff member to 17 full-time employees – and expects to grow even further this year.
“Everybody used to work in this building but that’s no longer the case … most people work here but we have two people based in Hobart, one person in Melbourne and one in Arizona.
“So that comes back to nbn connections – it’s fundamentally crucial to us to have good bandwidth.”‡
Adapting to the times
COVID-19 drove a lot of people to adapt, says Mike.
“It’s important we were able to do all our meetings via video conference, and to be able to have multiple video conferences simultaneously while still having the bandwidth to undertake other tasks.”‡
As for where their hard work ends up, Definium has designed and manufactured fuel injection systems for yellow cabs in Las Vegas, high-end audio equipment, devices for monitoring crop conditions, waterflow meters… plus many more devices that are likely to be increasingly sought-after as sectors, like agriculture, continue to adopt automation.
“We’re doing a lot of things in agriculture,” says Mike.
“We’re totally dependent on the nbn™ [network] and external connectivity. We have thousands of sensors in the field and probably a couple of hundred gateways, and they’re all communicating information. So, the reliability always has to be there.
“It would be extraordinarily difficult for us to do what we do without the nbn™ [network].”‡
Focusing locally for locals
As Invermay continues its revival, Sam Marshall, nbn™ Local Community Engagement Manager for Tasmania, says it’s clear the nbn™ network can offer communities a chance to evolve.
“I think that a community like Invermay is a really great example of the type of resurgence that can happen in a community.
“Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have dreamt of an advanced manufacturing facility like Definium Technologies being located here, but that’s proof of what services over the nbn™ network can help enable.”
nbn™ Local is focused on strengthening our commitment to regional Australia, and boosting efforts to lift the digital capability of regional and remote areas across the country.
Just some of the ways we’re strengthening our commitment to regional Australia include:
- investing more than $2 billion in improving nbn's infrastructure in regional Australia to help homes and businesses in these areas access higher wholesale broadband speeds and greater network capabilities
- providing localised solutions for a network better suited to regional Australia through our on-the-ground teams working within regional communities
- working with industry groups to enhance what's possible in the fields of education, healthcare, agriculture, tourism and more
Encouraging Invermay’s next generation
Mike alsofrom Definium remembers taking a primary school trip to The Examiner newspaper and being fascinated with the old computers used to print Australia’s third-oldest surviving daily newspaper.
It’s this type of experience he wants to, in turn, offer young school students throughout Launceston.
“Of overriding importance for me is the connection between industry and education,” says Mike.
“We work closely with the University of Tasmania.
“Some of the space here, I’ve allocated for a permanent presence for university students or staff – I never say no to a school group coming through.”
The suburb’s local school is no stranger to embracing technology and the benefits connectivity can bring to Australia and its people.
Invermay Primary School participated in the nbn™ STEM+X initiative, which sought to give students real-life science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experiences, culminating in a virtual learning competition.
Students from eight schools were tasked with developing an idea to help brighten the country or their community’s future by attempting to solve real-life challenges.
Located in Invermay
Launceston Tramway Museum
National Automobile Museum of Tasmania
† Your experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network, depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to your premises, whether you are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside nbn’s control (like your equipment quality, software, broadband plan, signal reception and how your service provider designs its network). Speeds may also be impacted by the number of concurrent users on the nbn™ Fixed Wireless network, including during busy periods. Satellite end customers may also experience latency.
‡ nbn is very happy with Isabo and Mike’s experience with the nbn™ network. Of course, experiences may vary. Your experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to your premises, whether you are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside nbn’s control like equipment quality, software, broadband plan, signal reception and how your service provider designs its network.