La Trobe University launches world-class Digital Innovation Hub to supercharge skills and industry

La Trobe University launches world-class Digital Innovation Hub to supercharge skills and industry

La Trobe University has today welcomed the Hon Gayle Tierney MP, Minister for Skills and TAFE, who opened the world-class Digital Innovation Hub.

In partnership with global technology leaders Cisco and Optus, the Digital Innovation Hub is a state-of-the art innovation precinct, which offers unprecedented technological capability for greater collaboration between students, researchers, business and industry.

The Digital Innovation Hub will accelerate research and development across a wide range of critical sectors, including healthcare, education, advanced manufacturing, transportation, smart urban infrastructure and more.

Located at La Trobe’s Bundoora campus, the hub, which leverages Optus’ 5G connectivity, is the only one of its kind in Australia to host Cisco’s Webex Hologram technology and offers a one-stop-shop for enterprise and government organisations, students, start-ups and Victorian businesses to grow, innovate and transform together.

La Trobe University received $9 million from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund and contributed $2.75 million to the project with additional funding from Cisco and Optus.

The Minister for Skills and TAFE Gayle Tierney said, “Victoria is an innovation powerhouse and as international leaders in research and development, our universities play a crucial role in our state’s success.

“Facilities like La Trobe University’s Digital Innovation Hub give students a chance to test and improve their skills while helping businesses to tackle real-world challenges – this means everyone involved is transforming and growing”, Minister Tierney said.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor John Dewar AO welcomed the opening of the Digital Innovation Hub, saying the purpose-built centre confirms the University’s position as a leader of tech innovations that are relevant to industries around the world.

“The Digital Innovation Hub builds on the University’s deep connection to business, creating a catalyst for new research and commercial developments that could transform sectors like healthcare, education, and telecommunications. It offers real-time opportunities for our students, academics and business to collaborate and innovate,” Professor Dewar said.

Cisco’s Vice President for Australia & New Zealand Ben Dawson said, “The Digital Innovation Hub in Melbourne brings together a range of partners, projects and precincts to offer students with access to the industry right at their doorstep. That’s why we’ve chosen it as the home of Innovation Central Melbourne – a facility that brings tech leaders together with industry and academia to address the skills gap and solve real world challenges. The Digital Innovation Hub offers the next wave of technologists with the latest tech and connections at their fingertips to turbocharge innovation.”

Kavin Arnasalon, Head of Government, Enterprise and Business at Optus said, “Optus continues to invest in supporting many of Australia’s universities to be leading research institutions.  Through Optus’ fast and reliable 5G connectivity, students and researchers across the country can harness the untapped possibilities that technology such as AI, virtual and augmented reality and ultra-reliable low latency hold.

“Through our strategic partnership with La Trobe University and Cisco, Optus looks forward to supporting students, researchers and the next generation of business leaders to have hands on experience in integrating technology into the workplace to drive business transformation.”

Jeffrey Jones, Director, Cisco Innovation Central Melbourne, said, “Social interaction is really important when you’re talking about innovation. There’s a general theory that you don’t get innovation unless you’re in the same place at the same time, at least some of the time. Our new Digital Innovation Hub will enable interactions that will lead to exciting new tech developments.”

Minister Tierney was given a demonstration of technologies including Cisco’s Webex Hologram using Microsoft HoloLens, and the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department which allows students an immersive, real-time experience using Augmented Reality technology.

The Digital Innovation Hub which is located within the University’s Research and Innovation Precinct, a key platform of La Trobe’s  University City of the Future, is one of a small group of beta testers around the world with access to Cisco’s Webex Hologram technology which creates a live, photorealistic holographic interaction using industry-leading AR headsets.

Other functions include;

  • Augmented reality experiences, including through Cisco’s Webex hologram: A range of smart glasses are being trialled for various use cases in healthcare, education, agriculture.
  • Interactive touch wall: a cutting-edge presentation where visitors can explore various research projects through interactive multimedia presentations
  • Optus 5G co-design showcase: experimentation and prototyping in areas such as IoT (Internet of Things), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR)
  • National Industry Innovation Network showcase: sharing interactive maps, case studies, success stories, and a directory of member organisations across Cisco’s ‘National Industry Innovation Network’, highlighting their innovative projects, technologies, and contributions to their respective industries across Australia.

The Digital Innovation Hub is powered by the co-location of three leading digital labs in one facility includes Cisco & La Trobe’s Centre for AI and IoT; Innovation Central Melbourne and the Optus 5G Lab. La Trobe University, Cisco and Optus are foundational members of the National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN).