OPINION: Regional technology innovation starts with access

Regional Innovation Week launched on Wednesday to much acclaim.

For several years, we have reported on ambitions to see the Bega Valley as the preferred destination for skilled “sea-changers” and IT professionals keen to maximise their lifestyle opportunities while still remaining connected to the world at large. That “connection” is the key factor here though.

There’s no doubt the Sapphire Coast is a stunning place to live with its clean, clear waters, green bushland and serene pastoral landscapes dotted with friendly and colourful small towns.

However, that remoteness also works against us when it comes to access to technology – among other things.

Personally, I am all for the idea of developing the Bega Valley as a hub for tech-minded entrepreneurs and software developers.

And I applaud innovators like Liam O’Duibhir and his ilk for forging ahead with ambitious plans for a shift in Valley culture towards the tech sector.

A small hurdle, though – for which a rather ironic example is noted.

In keeping with the idea of Regional Innovation Week, we thought we could use our new-found Facebook live video abilities to stream the official launch to those not invited or able to make it on Wednesday.

Viewers may have noticed a rather poor feed, with several drop-outs, all due to a weak mobile phone signal at the venue.

Admittedly it was inside and not in the middle of town (Robyn’s Nest, Merimbula), but really, given we are striving to attract all manner of tech professionals as well as tourists to our region, surely a phone signal isn’t much to ask for.

Are you listening Telstra? Optus?

After giving up on a lost cause and ending the patchy live video stream, I thought perhaps some audio would be a worthwhile plan B for readers/viewers/listeners on our news websites. About a minute in, a work colleague tried to call me – I guess there was enough signal for a call to come through if not Facebook access?

Of course I didn’t answer and continued enjoying the rest of the 10-15 minutes of inspiring talks at the launch.

As I then discovered, that ignored phone call had automatically ended my recording, so if anyone is keen to listen to the first 90 seconds of a week-long focus on technology in our region, I’m your man!