La Trobe University transforms digital infrastructure in race to net zero

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La Trobe University transforms digital infrastructure in race to net zero

La Trobe University has partnered with Cisco and Optus Enterprise as part of its digital infrastructure transformation.

The investment is focused on next-generation network transformation, including moving to a Software Defined Network (SDN) to allow for virtual management of resources and the ability to monitor applications in the network.

Cisco says this will enable La Trobe to be more responsive to demands from its Melbourne and regional campuses, as well as improving its innovation capacity and cybersecurity.

According to La Trobe University’s Vice-Chancellor John Dewar AO, “The way we teach, learn, work and operate is fundamentally changing, and technology innovation is rapidly evolving to support this change.”

“La Trobe’s decision to transform its underlying technology infrastructure is a major step towards creating a university that is more resilient and adaptive to the changing landscape of higher education.”

This comes as part of the university’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2029, of which Dewar says would be unachievable without committing to digital transformation at La Trobe.

According to Professor Wei Xiang, Director of Cisco-LaTrobe Centre for AI & IoT & Cisco Research Chair, “The [net zero] goal is very ambitious and we realise we have to rely on advances in digital technologies to achieve the goal.”

“Digital is crucial in terms of gaining visibility into the current emissions system,” he says.

The universitiy’s investment includes incorporating a living test and experimentation lab, powered by Cisco technology.

“By treating the entire campus as a Living Lab, we can develop and test in a controlled environment and scale into operational settings. The scope is enormous with early opportunities relating to building management system optimisation, lighting innovations, waste reduction and energy analytics.”

Xiang says that AI and IoT play a critical role in achieving this target.

The Centre for IoT is undertaking a number of net zero initiatives including a digital twin for modelling net zero interventions. The benefits of this initiative is to de-risk investments in decarbonisation, says Xiang.

Other decarbonisation initiatives include embedding circular economy principles across La Trobe’s supply chain and using data to drive down energy consumption.

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