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New gaming and networking facility prepares students for the workplace of tomorrow

Technology has changed the way we live and work so much that it’s heralded a new era. Jobs of the future are likely to rely on technology, robotics and connectivity, and Gartner predicts that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will create more jobs than it replaces by 2020[1]. Even manual, face-to-face professions, such as nursing, are being revolutionised through data collection and analysis, cloud storage and computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).

As thousands of year 12 students across Australia sit their final exams and make preparations for their future after schooling, one University is hoping to inspire the technology engineers and developers of tomorrow through the creation of a multi-million dollar gaming and networking facility.

In July 2018, Murdoch University unveiled its $2.6 million dollar facility, which was installed by Schneider Electric, and includes an IT innovation hub to facilitate training and research, a 24/7 student common room known as the "STaR lounge", and cyber security and networking labs connected to an industry-scale data centre. A mixed and augmented reality studio, known as the "MaARs room" also provides the latest technology for visualisation and game software development.

The facility enables students enrolled in various Information Technology majors at Murdoch University to experience first-hand the software, applications and equipment they will be working with in their future careers. The space also encourages collaboration and interaction, because teamwork and co-operation are vital skills in any workplace.

Associate Professor Hamid Laga, Head of Information Technology at Murdoch University said that the facility represents a big change in the way networking and computing is taught at the University. The facility was built through close collaboration with students, academics and industry to provide students with practical and hands-on access to leading industry products.

“Our facility is unique in Australia, it allows our students to get a wide array of real-world learning opportunities from complex software development to network technologies and cyber security to virtual and augmented reality. It also provides state-of-the-art facility to undertake research in areas like Artificial Intelligence, high-performance computing, advanced data analytics and cyber security and networking.

“The facility was designed for the best possible student experience, and the feedback so far has been positive – students say the facility reinforces their theoretical learning through application, and allows them to maximise practical experience before hitting the workforce.  Our aim is to use this facility to produce industry ready graduates that can hit the ground running when they leave university,” Dr Laga said.

The new construction at Murdoch University was installed by Schneider Electric, who was responsible for the installation of the data centre and IT infrastructure, which includes power, cooling, racks, lighting, and cabling in the modern self-contained unit design.

“The university’s investment in our Ecostruxure IT architecture creates the building blocks to support the students of today to adapt and evolve to the requirements of the students of tomorrow. We need to ensure the data centre and IT infrastructure can adapt quickly to support the acceleration in game development, IoT, augmented reality, leading to artificial intelligence,” said Joe Craparotta, Schneider Electric’s VP for IT Division and Strategic Segments.

Joe said this facility will help equip graduates to become our IT experts of tomorrow. "We are passionate about supporting young Australians and our country’s future talent, and this facility will help arm them with the practical skills and capabilities to lead the charge in the new workplace paradigm.”

It also includes technology from Lenovo and CISCO, and Vixtro played a key role in the design and development of the data centre to ensure it will be fit for teaching and research purposes.

With the prediction that one in three jobs will be converted to software, robotics and smart machines by 2025[2], students at Murdoch University are already well placed to lead the workplaces of tomorrow, while learning in the future, today.


[1] https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3837763

[2] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/smart-robots-will-take-third-jobs-2025-gartner-says

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