New technologies converge with ancient cultures.

This week has been a significant one for Hitnet with the culmination of many years of research and work going into developing a tough, outdoor, mobile hub. 

This is something we have been striving for, for a long time. With 15 or more years working in remote Australia with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, we’ve had consistent feedback that people want to be able to access information outside where they feel comfortable, away from government run clinics and offices. 

Mobile Max breaks down this barrier by being located outside where the community wants him to be. As well as the interactive touchscreen, he also has mobile phone charging ports, and a free to use WiFi hotspot.

Our final prototype of Mobile Max is now up and running at Alice Springs Public Library. This is a major milestone to have him centrally located in a regional town where the local Aboriginal people, often from the surrounding remote Central Australian communities, feel welcome. The local staff who we spent considerable time with, are supportive and tireless in their efforts to engage local people with the digital world and to give them easy access to historic, cultural archives that document a lost past. 

Alice Springs is a hub of cultural activities. Art, music, dance, storytelling are richly expressed and captured, now often in digital format for posterity. Hitnet met with a number of local organisations doing this recording and documenting and will display this culture through Mobile Max at the library. 

This includes photo collections from the early 1900’s, local school year books dating back to the 1970’s, the weekly news report from local Aboriginal school Yirara College, curated music from CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association), and children’s bedtime stories in language from ICTV (Indigenous Community TV).   

We look forward to hearing the feedback from the local community and library staff in Alice Springs, and so will continue to innovate and ensure that the Hitnet Hubs stay relevant to those they are serving, and importantly help people to connect, be informed and engaged with the digital economy.

Julie Gibson