Terry Percival – OTC R&D

Global WiFi and Terry Percival

by Robert Brand

It is always a joy to see Terry Percival at industry meetings and other technology events. He is one of those people that radiates a joy in his work. He headed up OTC’s R&D efforts between 1987 and 1991 and that is where I bumped into him. He bough voice messaging services from my company at the time. I have kept in touch with Terry and it was great to see him in the CSIRO story of WiFi – see the video at the end of this story.

The story below is from the NICTA website and I have copied it in its entirety. You can also find out about NICTA at the site. http://www.nicta.com.au/people/percivalt

Dr Terry Percival has had a distinguished ICT research career winning many awards including the European Inventors Award, the Clunies Ross Award and the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal and an iAward.

He was awarded a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and a PhD from the University of Sydney, in 1977 and 1985 respectively and is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  The first ten years of his research career was spent in the design and construction of microwave-receiving systems for radio telescopes, including the Fleurs Telescope, the Australia Telescope, and the Very Large Array telescope in New Mexico. He also worked at the National Measurement Laboratory performing research into high Tc superconductors, satellite navigation, and time and frequency standards.

In 1987, he joined OTC Australia, where he led research and development groups working on the development of submarine optical fibre communications systems and thin-route satellite communications systems including the development of a new international standard called Digital DAMANet which was deployed to many Pacific Island nations and former Soviet Republics.

He joined CSIRO in 1991 and led a research team working on broadband wireless communications systems and high speed wireless Local Area Networks (LANs). The resulting patented technology forms an integral part of the IEEE 802.11a & g wireless LAN standards.  This technology was successfully commercialised via a start-up company called Radiata Communications, which was later acquired by Cisco Systems in 2000 for $576 million. During this time he was also a visiting professorial fellow at Macquarie University.

In 1996, Dr Percival established new mobile communications and telecommunications networking research groups at CSIRO. Based upon this research, he performed numerous collaborative research projects with telecommunications carriers, end users, and equipment vendors.

In 2000, he created and was Director of the Centre for Networking Technologies for the Information Economy (CeNTIE), which was successful in bidding for $14 million funding under the Advanced Networks Program to build the next generation research network in Australia with a roll-out cost of $44 million. Projects under CeNTIE included the rollout of the trans-continental Gigabit Foundation Network, development of networked virtual reality surgical training systems, the deployment of a Film Post Production Research Network, programmable networking technology, and the creation and deployment of a Virtual Critical Care Unit (ViCCU®) for remote emergency care in collaboration with Wentworth Area Health Service.

In June 2004 he joined National ICT Australia as the Director of the fledgling Sydney Research Laboratory at Kensington. He built up the laboratory and mentored the spinout of NICTA’s most successful spinouts; OK Labs and Audinate, as well as Cohesive Data and 7-ip. He led NICTA’s business push into Smart Infrastructure and Transport.   In 2012 he was appointed Director of NICTA’s Broadband and Digital Economy Business Team.  In this role he created the Digital Productivity Showcase which was opened in February 2012.   This has been a major focus point for NICTA’s interactions with industry and government in this area.  He also helped establish the Australian Centre fro Broadband Innovation in collaboration with CSIRO.

Since leaving CSIRO he continued to be involved as a key witness in the litigation against 14 companies for infringement of the aforementioned wireless LAN patent. This concluded with his appearance in court in Texas in April 2009 and the subsequent settlements resulting in royalties hundreds of millions of dollars. CSIRO is using this money to reinvigorate the CSIRO Science and Industry Endowment Fund benefiting all areas of Australian Research. Further litigation has resulted in 9 more companies settling giving a total of more than $400 million in revenue to CSIRO. In 2012 this work was recognised by the European Patent Office in the non-European category of the European Inventors award at a ceremony in Copenhagen attended by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Frederick and Princess Mary.

He is a graduate member of the AICD and has been a director of several start-ups and received a number of awards and memberships of government and scientific advisory panels including:

  • 2012 Winner European Inventor’s Award
  • 2010 Clunies Ross Award from the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
  • 2009 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for Research Excellence
  • 2009 – 2011  Member NSW Government Broadband Implementation Taskforce
  • 2008 Member technical review committees for the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).
  • 2008  Member NSW Government Broadband Advisory Panel
  • 2007  Member Minister Coonan’s Broadband Blueprint Industry Reference Group
  • 2007  Health Informatics Society of Australia’s Don Walker Award for Improving Access to Healthcare in Rural and Remote Communities
  • 2004  Australia Information Industry Association’s iAward for the ViCCU®
  • 2002  Nortel Networks special achievement award for 10 G Metro Ethernet pilot
  • 2000  CSIRO 2000 Medal for Research Leadership

Well if that was not all enough about our Terry, this story appeared on ABC’s Quantum TV show:
Part 1:

Part 2:


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