Ageing populations and increasing demand for improved quality of life for the rising number of people with disabilities present an opportunity for South Australia to become a leader in the assistive technology industry, according to a new report from Flinders University’s Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI).
The report, Assisting Transition: growth prospects for the development of the assistive technology industry in South Australia, says South Australia is well placed to establish itself as a centre of assistive technology innovation and solution development in the nation and offset job losses in the automotive and manufacturing sectors.
It estimates an untapped Australian annual demand for assistive technology of more than $4 billion.
“Populations are ageing, retirees are wealthier than ever before, governments are moving to provide greater assistance to persons with disabilities and new technologies are creating the prospect of longer, more independent, more active and healthy lives,” the report says.
“Individuals and communities are demanding access to assistive technologies (or AT) in line with their higher incomes, requirements for a high quality of life, and the technological innovations that are creating an ever-more vast array of possibilities,” says Professor John Spoehr, Director of Flinders’ Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI).
“Medical devices and assistive technologies are an area of substantial growth, driven by a population that’s ageing here, and worldwide.
“There’s a real demand for the development of technologies that can help people live fuller, more active, and more independent lives for longer.
“It’s an area where South Australia already has significant strengths and enormous potential for further growth. This could be a field of immense importance to the state’s economic transformation, supporting the transition from traditional manufacturing into high tech, clever industries.”