University of NSW becomes testbed for IoT and smart city tech


The university will deploy a network of sensors across its main Kensington campus, says iTnews.

One of the university’s educators and Dean of Engineering Mark Hoffman said UNSW’s main Sydney campus was effectively “a mini city” – as it hosts approximately 50,000 students and 12,000 staff.

UNSW’s capacity to host a student body and faculty of such a significant size made it a good candidate for a testbed of smart city and Internet of Things infrastructure, added Hoffman.

[quote] The university is reported to be working with California-based networking giant Cisco, Australian data innovation group Data 61 and others to realise its “smart city” vision.

All three organisations, Cisco, Data61 and UNSW were involved in a Cisco-led IoT lab based at the ATP (Australian Technology Park) Innovations incubator, Innovation Central Sydney, which was launched today. The innovation centre will initially focus on developing new ideas and ‘IoT’ solutions for agriculture, transport and smart cities.

UNSW will host a “hub” for the main lab on its Kensington campus that focuses specifically on the intersection of cybersecurity and IoT.

Benchmarking IoT tech

Hoffman’s hope, says iTnews, is that the university will bring more research to the project, and will act as a benchmarking testbed for Internet of Things and smart city technology.

The university will leverage its campus wi-fi network, which uses Cisco access points and deploy additional sensor infrastructure.

The sensors are also expected to allow UNSW to manage energy consumption in campus buildings and ensure that workshops were equipped with the consumables and connectivity needed to meet student requirements and create a seamless the learning experience.

Another example where IoT is being demonstrated is in the university transport system. Says Hoffman, “transport, for example, is a really big issue – knowing when our students are moving and when they want to take transport off campus and around campus is really important.”

“We need to sense that.”

Commenting on the evolving nature with which education sector is using ICT to enhance overall learning experience, the Dean added that: “The delivery of education is changing quite dramatically.

“Our vision is to get the students out of the lecture theatres and learning in groups themselves.

“Currently when students are learning a particular subject they turn up to a lecture theatre at 11am and sit there for two hours. It’s all very structured.

“But once we start relaxing that and allowing students to go where they want to go, managing that becomes a lot more significant. That’s where we need the sensing.”