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G'day I am trying to stir a bit of action with local community groups with a call to arms... Beggars on the edge of the Virtual Highway. The rapid world wide growth of the Internet has been the catalyst for the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is now starting. The business environment as we know it will change dramatically offering many new challenges and opportunities. The Macquarie Valley is not well placed to prosper in this exciting future. As a service technician I regularly travel throughout the Orana Region. There are many towns that are a step back in time socially and commercially. I am seen by many as an expert and am often asked as to how to get on the Internet and make some money out of it. I have some little known local success stories to whet their appetite, and then explain what it is going to take to get there. The problem is that some of the tasks are beyond the local skillset. Those wishing to make their first steps have to look out side their local area and so are liable to be exploited by opportunistic marketing companies. I have several examples of that happening. I believe that there needs to be a business model developed for small regional communities where the youth are given incentive to learn the new skills, and then employment opportunities offering those skills to local businesses. This would be a win-win situation for the sustainability of the communities. When web pages can be easily built by the community, opportunities and ideas can become realities. There are good people in the region who have the knowledge, however there is currently no program in place to help them impart to others. The other issue is venue. There has been dramatic change in classified advertising with gumtree.com.au cornering the market. I do have concerns about its ownership and future direction. When I tell the story of gumtree’s origins and purpose, there is always surprise. A good example of what could be developed is the virtual bazaars that offer a venue for small traders and management of the financial transaction. aliexpress.com and buychina.com offer a venue for very small traders in China to get a world wide presence. How many of those will become big traders in the future? The first three industrial revolutions came about as a result of mechanisation, electricity and IT. Now, the introduction of the Internet of Things and Services into the manufacturing environment is ushering in a fourth industrial revolution. Those who do not embrace this change risk slipping into third world status and becoming beggars on the edge of the virtual highway. How about it? Are you really about getting the valley moving and shaking in the 21st Century? Or just shaking a beggars bowl on the side of the road? Chris Ryan of PanOrana Engineering. I also added a quote about revolution... Too much??? Regards