Flinders University students will soon have access to world-class communications technology with the announcement on July 9 of a $14 million investment with leading international ICT supplier, Cisco, and its reseller, Dimension Data.
The Flinders-Cisco strategic relationship will allow students and staff to connect to a high density, high speed wireless network that will support interactive student experiences, lectures by high definition video, video conferencing, stronger research capability, and enhanced social media relationships.
In support of the future Tonsley precinct, Flinders and Cisco are committed to creating a pathway to ICT employment for students that includes “hands-on” learning, industry work experience and technical and business skill development. The company will also provide financial support for a Chair in ICT.
Flinders’ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, said the new platform represents a transformational leap in Flinders’ ICT capability, giving the University’s staff and students easy and highly secure access to a high-performance system that also has the capacity to meet the University’s demands well into the future.
“The strategic relationship with Cisco equips Flinders with a wired and wireless network that has the flexibility and capacity to foster collaborations in teaching, learning and research, nationally and globally, using dynamic, interactive online technologies,” Professor Barber said.
“The new network will also enable the University to intensify its educational and entrepreneurial role in the innovation hub being built at Tonsley,” he said.
“Put simply, this major investment in ICT infrastructure brings Flinders face-to-face with the world.”
Managing Director of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, Mr Ken Boal – who met with Professor Barber in Adelaide today – said “we have an established relationship with Flinders University and through this latest implementation of our next-generation network, the University will become a global showcase for the digital transformation of higher education.”
“Flinders University is leading the education sector in the implementation of a next-generation network of this scale that will offer students a more engaging and interactive experience on campus, while also delivering an enriched learning experience outside of the lecture theatre using social collaboration tools,” Mr Boal said.
Professor Richard Constantine, Flinders’ Pro Vice-Chancellor (Information Services), said “the significant investment that we are making in our next-generation campus network is transforming the way we teach, learn and deliver education at the University. From an IT perspective, it also means that we will spend less time running the network, and more time delivering innovative solutions to our staff and students.”
Mr Rodd Cunico, Chief Executive Officer of Dimension Data said “innovation is going to be paramount to the successful deployment at Flinders University in that we are creating something that is very distinct from any other campus. The solution will bring the University to the forefront of technology and lay the foundation for the best possible student experience.”
The key elements of the Cisco project include:
- Interactive student experience on campus: The next-generation network will enable Flinders University to support bring-your-own-device (BYOD). Once on campus, students will automatically connect to high density, high speed wireless, up to gigabit speeds on IEEE 802.11ac.
- Enriched learning experience outside of the lecture theatre: In line with offering students the best learning experience, the new intelligent network will enable students to stream content, such as high-definition video, onto their tablets that the lecturer has posted onto the University’s learning management system. Students will also be able to utilise social collaboration to discuss assignments, post questions, locate experts and fellow students, and engage with the tutors to clarify expectations.
- Real-time collaboration between students, staff and other institutions: The high performance Wi-Fi environment and immersive Cisco TelePresence video conferencing will support high-definition (HD) video and real-time collaboration between colleagues and staff cross-campus. As a member of AARNet, Flinders University will also use the TelePresence Exchange to connect with other member academic institutions and researchers based in Australia and abroad. In particular, Cisco TelePresence will support the University’s goal to deepen its engagement with Charles Darwin University and the Northern Territory to help build the regional economic corridor between South Australia and the Northern Territory.
- High performance research network: The Cisco Unified Access network will support Flinders University in attracting and retaining the best talent. For example, researchers will have access to up to 10Gbps speeds and can set up a “sandbox environment” to run analytics for a research project. The researcher can then self-provision the necessary virtual servers and storage on demand, all without impacting the performance of other users on the campus network.