Wollongong is the ideal place for Google to locate a new purpose built Australian headquarters.
Daniel Rowan and the team at Internetrix have been a Google partner for 11 years and knows a lot about what the global giant would want.
Mr Rowan is no stranger to the existing facility in Sydney and the global headquarters in Silicon Valley.
He seriously thinks we have a chance and believes the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus is the perfect site for the national headquarters.
He is encouraging senior leaders and the entire community to get behind encouraging Google to the Gong. That is because he knows the city offers and ideal location a similar distance to Sydney to what Silican Valley is to San Francisco.
“Silicon Valley is about an hour south of San Francisco. It was a regional area before Microsoft and the IT boom of the 70’s and 80’s saw it become the tech hub of America,” Mr Rowan said.
“I think the executives at Google would feel an affiliation with Wollongong and it being okay to put a headquarters of a country 60 to 80 kilometres away from a major city. That is the same environment that Google headquarters globally enjoys”.
Mr Rowan said UOW’s ITC capabilities, and high calible graduates with the skills an internationally significant company would want to recruit, would also be an attractive reason for them to think about Wollongong as a serious contendor.
He expects there will be plenty of competition from locations around Australia for the Google headquarters. But Wollongong has many competitive advantages such as its proximity to a major international airport.
“At peak hour it would probably take as long to get from Mascot into a hotel in Sydney for Google executives and teams that move around. They can come down to Wollongong and be part of the Innovative Campus here. Existing international connectivity is a clear advantage for us.”
Mr Rowan said having the Google Australia HQ would be a real game changer for the region. “It would put Wollongong on the map as a university, knowledge, research, IT, white collar town. It would transform the ITC industry perspective of Wollongong in Australia. It would be a transformational event unlike any I have seen in the last 15 years here in business. It would solidify the shift the town has been under”.
Mr Rowan said the journey started by Professor Gerard Sutton and being continued by Professor Paul Wellings was producing many results in research strength and in attracting investment such as NEC’s $25 million economic injection in establishing a Wollongong office.
Mr Rowan said Google was presently spread in a number of buildings in and around Pyrmont. He thinks the Innovation Campus would be the ideal place for them to purpose build exactly what they want. And there was enough room for a development where everyone would be able to be accommodated in one location.
“I don’t think they would want to move into someone else’s ready built building. Being a global powerhouse I think they would want to build it from the ground up for security,” he said.
Broadband speed is another competitive advantage.
“The same rationale Metronode used when they decided to put in their data centre at Unanderra would be also be a compelling reason why Google might select Wollongong over other locations,” Mr Rowan said.
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“And using IT based logic we have an excellent millisecond timeframe to both Sydney and Canberra. We have less than two milliseconds in Ping Time. That is an IT term for measuring the speed of data can go from Wollongong to Sydney and or Canberra. Less than two milliseconds is very rapid.”
“And certainly there is enough fibre here from the university’s fibre network to the NBN and Telstra and Optus fibre. We could absolutely tick all the boxes in terms Internet connectivity.”
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For an IT business such as Internetrix having Google located in Wollongong would be great for its operation across Australia and into Asia.
Mr Rowan said it would be a great benefit to all ICT Industry Assocation (ICTI) members and the whole IT community.
“All of a sudden we would have the ability to collaborate with the global leader just down the street,’’ he said.
“And the calibre of projects that would be happening in this town would just escalate. We would all be thrilled to have them here. It is something that would really put us on the map. Which is something that Advantage Wollongong and many other organisations and boards around town have been pushing for years.”
Mr Rowan said after Keira MP raised the call for Google to come to the Gong, the Illawarra Business Chamber jumped on board.
The chamber’s executive director Adam Zarth then contacted him about it and he reaffirmed it was a great idea.
“Late last year I was added to the Illawarra Regional Advisory Council for the Illawarra Business Chamber. Adam rang me yesterday to get my perspective. He is 110 per cent supportive of it. I reaffirmed that and also encouraged the NSW Business Chamber to do something through its networks and influence government as well to put Wollongong’s case as a viable alternative to Google.”
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Mr Rowan is confident other senior leaders such as UOW vice chancellor Prof Wellings and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells will push for it as well.
“The University of Wollongong is in a good spot because the current managing director of Google Australia is a UOW Alumni,” he said.
“So there are some connections there. Although think it will probably be a decision made above him.”
Mr Rowan said the great thing for Wollongong was that so much positive work has been done in the last decade that the city is now in a great position to be able to pull something off like attracting Google to town.
“We have spent years building up all these talking points and rationales. And I think here is a case where we should all be all rallying together to do everything we can to at least make Google aware that we have everything they need to be a great alternative just down the road from Sydney.”
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Mr Rowan said with Prof Wellings having a vision to drive UOW into the top two per cent of universities in the world, having a global powerhouse sitting on the Wollongong Innovation Campus would be a great help.
It would also be good for the city’s research, IT and innovative credibility.
“It would transform the university as well if Google was sitting on the Innovation Campus,” Mr Rowan said.
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