IBM Research - Australia 2013 Colloquium: Living in an Instrumented World - Speakers

Living in a instrumented World

Michael Dixon, General Manager, Smarter Cities, IBM

Michael Dixon leads IBM's vision, strategy and operations for teams active in cities around the world which are focused on a core element of IBM's long term strategy. The integration of transport, health, public safety, energy, utilities, social services, education and urban management are at the heart of numerous initiatives.

During an IBM career spanning 27 years, Michael has held a series of sales, management and executive positions associated with the public sector across increasingly broad geographies. His depth of industry experience has seen him range from working with policy makers and senior executives in public sector organizations through to presenting to Government leaders at APEC summits; and from advising Public Sector CEOs on strategy development and project implementation through to partnering with private companies to deliver associated services.

Michael spent several years based in Tokyo and was a Brookings Congressional Fellow, based in Washington, DC.

Abstract: Fact based decision management in today's corporate world is tied to an IT infrastructure that is rapidly evolving from merely supplying technology to applying technology on a myriad of new data sources. The collection, aggregation and interpretation of these vast new data sources are prerequisites for success. How equipped are you to lead in this emerging vital area?

Greg Bruce, Executive Manager of the Integrated Sustainability Services Department, Townsville City Council

Greg Bruce specializes in leading an integrated coastal-water-energy and carbon cycle management approach to on-ground sustainability outcomes. This has included establishing an integrated sustainability framework. His passion is in developing whole of community collaborations. He holds a deep interest in sustainability by finding practical new ways to communicate and implement on-ground outcomes in sustainability, including whole of community approaches.

Prior to commencing work with Townsville City Council he spent 14 years as a Military Officer in various roles around the world. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Natural Resources Management (NRM) from the University of Adelaide.

Abstract: Lessons from Sustainable Townsville can help address the challenges of information overload, technological complexity, rising infrastructure costs and fostering citizen engagement. We are integrating business and social knowledge with experiential learning and collaboration so that our citizenry and businesses can become their own actors in their city's transformation. They are, in effect, becoming their own integrative cognitive-technological sensors. Greg will discuss the Townsville model, which is based on the applied scientific fields of cognitive psychology, brain-social science and systems thinking.

Dr Axel Bruns, Associate Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Bruns is the Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation and author of several books including: Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage; Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production. He is a co-editor of Twitter and Society (2013), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (2012) and Uses of Blogs (2006).

His current work focuses on the study of user participation in social media spaces such as Twitter, especially in the context of acute events. See or his research blog is at for more details on his current social media research.

Abstract: When important news breaks, social media facilitate the rapid formation of ‘issue publics’ that come together naturally to ‘work the story' of the unfolding event. This is especially evident in the context of natural disasters and other crises. The close study of social media feeds during such crisis provides a valuable insight into the dynamics of the event, with participants acting as human sensors for new information and current trends. This talk discusses crisis communication research conducted at the ARC CoE for Creative Industries and Innovation at QUT and outlines the need for greater understanding of the future of social media platforms.

Tom Kvan, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning and Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of Melbourne

Tom Kvan is internationally recognised for his work in the management of design practice and development of digital applications in design. During his academic career he has worked at the Universities of Melbourne, Hong Kong and Sydney and is an active researcher and author in design, digital environments and design management.

His engagement in the design of campuses for educational and industrial purposes spans forms and technologies, including research into the intersection of Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces. Author of over 140 publications, his latest co-authored book, The Making of Hong Kong, explores the volumetric city as a sustainable urban form.

Abstract: A considerable volume of data is gathered and used in urban analysis, governance and management. These data can be used to guide decisions ensuring a higher quality of life for a majority of the global population. Significant barriers exist, however, to their access and application. A particular challenge and opportunity in this field is the use of such data not only in analytical contexts but to extend the use into propositional exploration. The talk will discuss how such data is being applied in design and propositional thinking.

Josh Byrne, ABC TV presenter and environmental scientist

Josh Byrne is an environmental scientist with a passion for sustainable gardening, appropriate technology and innovative environmental design. Josh is recognised as a national leader in urban water management and permaculture, is the author of The Green Gardener, and as well as presenting on Gardening Australia, also writes for the Gardening Australia magazine.

He is the patron of the WA Organic Growers Association and the WA chapter of Sustainable Gardening Australia, as well as an ambassador for the WA Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s Living Smart Program.

Abstract: Josh’s House is a two-dwelling residential housing project in Fremantle WA demonstrating that high performance housing doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Both achieved a 10 Star rating and incorporate multiple energy and water efficiency measures that will lead to an estimated 90% reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and a 60% reduction in mains water use when compared to a typical Australian home. Josh’s presentation will provide a snapshot of the project to-date, and explain how instrumented data will monitor the houses and be shared.