Japan–Australia tech partnership to fire new ideas for health and aged care

Aged care in Australia is set for a digital boost after a Japan–Australia IT group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Australian universities to solve social challenges common to both countries.

The MoU brings together Dimension Data Australia, its parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), Deakin University and Western Sydney University.

Healthcare, disability and ageing will be the focus of the partnership’s academic-technology research. Australia and Japan share the challenge of having large, ageing populations expected to live well past retirement age.

The MoU provides a framework for Australia and Japan to create and commercialise technologies, and it involves setting up multiple joint research projects over the next 12 months. These include research into improving communications between dementia patients, their family and other caregivers.

Another focus will be research and development into smart homes to ensure safe and secure home-living for the elderly and the disabled.

The inspiration for the partnership is a Japanese societal transformation plan called ‘Society 5.0’. This plan analyses how disruptive technologies such as connected healthcare can transform and improve society.

According to Katsuhiko Kawazoe, Senior Vice President, Head of Research and Development Planning, NTT, the MoU is a testament to the strong bonds between Australia and Japan, and a commitment to knowledge sharing.

‘[This MoU] represents another chapter in our ongoing partnership with Dimension Data, Deakin University and Western Sydney University to create solutions and applications that will help our societies grow and prosper,’ he says.

Professor Julie Owens, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Deakin University, says the university is excited to extend the partnership to NTT, having worked with Dimension Data on related research.

‘Our strong engagement with one of the world’s most significant technology companies gives confidence that we can open up new technologies to change how aged care is delivered in Australia and Japan, and have a genuine impact on the communities we serve,’ she says.

According to NTT, research projects will be tested through a proof-of-concept model in Australia. Viable projects will leverage the innovation partnership to take these ideas to a global market.

NTT is a Japanese telecommunications company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Ranked 65th in Fortune’s Global 500, NTT is the fourth largest telecommunications company in the world in terms of revenue.

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa and owned by NTT, Dimension Data is one of Australia’s biggest IT companies. It has 28,000 employees globally.

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