The University of Wollongong (UOW) and technology giants Telstra, Microsoft and NVIDIA are uniting to position the Illawarra as a global leader in the uptake and creation of the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIOT) via a Telstra-UOW Hub. This will help Australia access a world market estimated to reach $35.8 billion by 2023.
The university’s SMART Infrastructure Facility will establish the Telstra-UOW Hub for AIOT Solutions to deliver innovative, cost-effective and fit-for-purpose AIOT solutions for communities, enterprises and governments.
Telstra looks forward to working with the other partners to help develop pilot projects for local customers, Telstra group executive of Product and Technology Kim Krogh Andersen said.
“Combined with Telstra 5G, the potential applications of these transformative technologies including edge compute, Digital Twins, IoT, AI, ComputerVision and drones are profound,” Anderson said.
“That’s why we’re excited to put them into the hands of some of the smartest people across different industries, while helping them create the best environment to build and test solutions. I’d like to thank Dr Iain Russell, who led the engagement into the Illawarra community and our key partners to help establish the consortium.”
Under the federal government’s Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF), the Telstra-UOW Hub will receive $1.7 million to give Australia international traction and use applied research to increase productivity and create jobs.
Its focus will be research in several AIOT technologies including AI-enabled video analytics, sensor-embedded edge computing for optimised data fusion and transmission, as well as industrial digital twin technology.
Once established, the Telstra-UOW Hub will strive to improve the adoption of AIOT technologies by Illawarra industries, attracting and retaining a skilled workforce in AI and IoT technologies. It will develop a regional ecosystem of SMEs focused on AIOT products and services and ensure greater sovereignty in Australia, in sensitive sectors such as AI and IoT technologies.
“Our pioneering work in accelerated computing to solve problems normal computers cannot solve will benefit both the research and production capabilities of the projects being targeted by the Telstra-UOW Hub,” NVIDIA country manager – Enterprise Sudarshan Ramachandran said.
“Simultaneously, the work undertaken at the hub ties into our strategies for such applications as ethical AI, secure end-to-end communications and edge computing to build smarter, secure and safer cities.”
Four initial pilot projects have been identified for immediate design and testing, with ten projects expected to be supported during the initial two years of the collaboration. The AIOT Solutions will be supported by cellular LPWAN (NB-IOT) or LTE/5G technologies, as well as cloud computing such as Microsoft Azure.
“We see the UOW, through this hub, taking an innovative lead for the Illawarra region, the community and its members,” Microsoft spokesperson Steven Miller said.
“Combining Microsoft’s Azure ecosystem and Telstra’s 5G network will enable UOW to build high impact end-to-end digital solutions, and we look forward to this exciting partnership.”
The four projects will focus on intelligent manufacturing, smart transport, smart logistics and resilient infrastructure. They will be tested at scale with the support of key end-users such as Bluescope Steel, Premier Illawarra, Remondis, and Wollongong City Council.
The Telstra-UOW Hub will connect a task force of 30 AIOT experts from industry and academia, UOW vice-chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson said.
“At the UOW, we believe it is important for our academic leaders, researchers and developers to work with industry and community groups to deliver practical solutions with long-term benefits,” Davidson said.
“Our mission is to help improve society through research, collaboration and innovation, and we have a long history of being at the forefront of deploying technology within the Illawarra.
“The Telstra-UOW Hub has the potential to create AIOT solutions with worldwide applications that will be refined and tested locally. By working with Telstra, Microsoft and Nvidia, we can position the region as a leader in the uptake and creation of AIOT-enabled solutions,” she said.
The hub will provide the Illawarra and Australia with a unique chance to move from early adopters to leading innovators in the AIOT space, according to SMART Infrastructure Facility director Professor Pascal Perez said.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I would like to thank Dr Johan Barthelemy, who leads SMART’s IoT Hub and Digital Living Lab, for driving the collaboration with our technology industry partners,” Perez said.
“It is through this collaboration and the support of regional enterprise that this operation will succeed.”