New advanced manufacturing hub to foster sport technology innovation


Australian manufacturers and researchers have been given the opportunity to foster innovation in developing sport technologies and tap into the AU$300 billion global sports technology market with the launch of the national META Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub — the product of collaboration between META and the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN).

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According to ZDNet, the Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub — which launched on 2 June at the Melbourne Cricket Ground — is expected to provide SMEs, researchers and large corporations; with the support to develop, market and export their sports technology products and services to make them commercially available both domestically and internationally.

“Australia currently has a tiny share of that market,” said ASTN chairman James Demetriou.

“We export only AU$286 million in manufactured sports products but import AU$2 billion from overseas. The Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub has been created to address this imbalance as there is a very real risk that Australia will get left behind if we don’t take action now.”

META chairman Albert Goller noted that the most innovative businesses in Australia were mainly small to medium enterprises.

“The problem or challenges we see at the moment is Australia is not travelling very well in this market. We have great products, we have great sports people, but unfortunately we haven’t moved that into global powerhouse as an industry,” he said.

In addition, the META Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub is also expected to attract significant foreign investments and create employment opportunities through new commercial projects, having already identified up to AU$600 million worth of possible revenue generating projects.

“We want to establish Australia as a global leader, not only on the sports field but also in sports manufacturing and technology. We will connect the dots between manufacturers and researchers, build the brand of our sports technology industry and showcase Australia’s capabilities to the global market,” said Zoran Angelkovski, META’s Managing Director.

ASTN and META members will also use the META Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub as a platform to identify ways that technology being developed for sport can be transferred across other industries, such as research into fatigue on muscles or the development of protective equipment being transferred into the aged care or defence sectors.

“Our country is a major global player in industries such as mining and medical science, but we have so far failed to fully exploit the potential of our sports technology such as smart apparel, wearable technologies, and protective wear,” said Demetriou.

“We have a pipeline of projects that have overseas interest and it is the job of the Sports Advanced Manufacturing Hub to convert this interest into tangible opportunities and sell Australian innovation to the world.”