Digital News

To all members of our TAT family, readers and contributors, who celebrate Diwali..

We wish you Safety, Good Health, Happiness, Prosperity and Good Fortune.

May they all be with you in the coming year.


The inaugural ‘The 8 Percent Festival’ ( will be held in Melbourne on 10-11 October where Australia’s budding entrepreneurs will come together at Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom this October to celebrate the biggest thinkers and leaders who aim to disrupt and provoke social change.

Keynote speakers will include, lead singer of rock band Everclear, Art Alexakis; undefeated martial arts artist, TEDX Sydney speaker and Cancer survivor, Nadine Champion, South Sudanese refugee and law graduate Deng Thiak Adut as well as author, journalist and television presenter, Indira Naidoo Hosted by one of Australia’s top marketers, Leela Cosgrove, the two-day festival will invite the brightest minds in business and the arts to discuss live on stage, problems facing the health, film, media, education and business industries, designed to prompt thought, question and debate on industry specific topics.

The festival will run across two days from 10 October and consists of four keynotes, 8 Think Tank panels and a number of breakout workshops.

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Wearable tech has long been the domain of early tech adopters but hasn’t always been accessible due to affordability for some. Now three young entrepreneurs from Adelaide, Australia are gearing up to launch a crowdfunding campaign to introduce the mainstream population to smart rings, at a lower price than any of their global predecessors.

Meet elppy – the smart ring which the trio say is both affordable and useful to the everyday user, and which has unlimited possibilities in use, with it’s built in swipe, control and bluetooth enabled hardware.

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Australian travellers are divided on how much a robot could add to the holiday experience, according to a global study by travel deals company Travelzoo. The study reveals that two thirds of Australians are open to the idea of a robot working in roles such as a receptionist in a hotel, however almost half admitted they find robots quite frightening.

The Travelzoo Future of Travel project includes a poll of over 6,000 people in Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Australia to understand if consumers are ready for robots and artificial intelligence to play a major role in travel and hospitality.

Robots are already being used in many international hotel chains such as Marriot International, Holiday Inn and Hilton and some cruise lines have put robot bartenders and guides into their ships. Industry reports cite the total spend on robots will exceed USD40 billion by 2020, with Asian countries Japan, South Korea and China leading the market in both spend and development.

As a global average the Travelzoo research reveals nearly 80% of consumers expect robots to play a big part in their lives before 2020, with three quarters believing they will make their lives significantly better. Almost two thirds are comfortable with robots being used in the travel industry.

In Australia opinions were mixed. Notably 93% of respondents have concerns that robots could be weak in softer skills such as showing emotions and the same number are worried about robots taking away jobs from humans. Australians are also concerned that robots will be unable to understand informal language such as slang, irony and the Australian sense of humour.

Those in the Australian pro-robot camp highlight the unlimited energy levels of robots and eight in ten respondents believe robots can handle data faster than their human counterparts. The majority of perceived benefits are around data handling, memory and skills like communicating multiple languages.

Australians also prefer their robots to look like machines rather than humans, however their voice should sound human rather than robotic. Chinese respondents by contrast prefer their robots to look human – with 76% saying they prefer this.

Commenting on the survey findings, Cemlyn Jones, said, “Right now is a very exciting moment in the history of the travel industry – ground breaking technology is revolutionizing what is possible from the perspective of customer service, entertainment and personalization. Robots and artificial intelligence are making their debut on the tourism stage, and our research into global acceptance of robots working in the travel industry is largely positive.”

“It is fascinating to see some cultural stereotypes emerge from the research into global acceptance of robots. The UK and Australian participants worry the most about humour and irony being lost on robots, and the French and Spanish are completely unaccepting about replacing their waiters with robots – even if a human waiter is much less efficient than a robot!”

Jones concluded, “While the advent of technology such as robot butlers and bartenders is hugely exciting, it’s also very clear from our research that consumers from all markets surveyed see the combination of robots and humans working in tandem in customer-facing roles in travel as the ideal solution.”

Victoria University will take part in SportsHack – India’s first sports innovation hackathon – which will bring together the best and brightest tech experts to develop a mobile app for sports training.

Professor Hans Westerbeek, Dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science and the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL), will be at the hackathon in Mumbai between 26 and 28 February.SportsHack will lead to the development of a mobile app that will provide specific information, based on historical training load data, on how much a person should train – in the future – to maximise performance and minimise injury risk.

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Are you interested in technology and all things digital? Do you want to be published?

The Australia Times wants writers to join its digital team!

The Australian Times is a free, magazine based, non-aligned, grassroots, national online publication. We are a blend of professional and citizen journalism creating online content for specialist groups and the community at large.

Each month the TAT Digital magazine sets out to provide an experience of the digital world, to inform, educate, entertain and hopefully inspire the reader.

If you’re passionate about the digital world and would like to be published in a national online publication- email


**Submission does not guarantee publication. Joining the TAT digital team as a writer is a voluntary position.