Optus and Curtin University have teamed up to use the telco’s nascent 5G network for teaching, research and industry collaboration and establish an on-campus 5G lab.
Optus' first 5G partnership with a university will also be used to further Curtin's smart campus initiatives that kicked off in 2017 and increase adoption of emerging technologies like augmented reality by using the high-speed, low-latency network.
Curtin vice-chancellor Deborah Terry said the co-investment builds on the university’s relationship with Optus, which has had a strong focus on data science and applied research into artificial intelligence.
“The lab will give us the space to educate and conceptualise the application of the new technology and enable our students and staff to make substantial contributions to the Australian industry and economy,” she said in a statement.
“Curtin’s new smart campus will allow students to learn new digital skills and experience the power of 5G through practical, hands-on applied research while collaborating with industry.
“We will also be able to better integrate emerging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence into our teaching and learning programs.”
Importantly for a WA-based institution, the increased connectivity should also help overcome “the tyranny of distance” in delivering remote education and telehealth operations, Terry said.
Optus Business vice president of product innovation Deon Liebenberg said the collaboration with Curtin will be a practical solution to advance 5G developments and use cases across a range of industries including mining, agriculture, health and fossil fuels.
“The technology’s low latency and fast speeds have the capability to transform remote learning and support academic applications of virtual and augmented reality,” he said.
“From virtual lessons and class trips, to advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and medical training – the potential of 5G in education is enormous and we’re excited to explore its future alongside Curtin.”
Optus’ 5G network has been expanding since its launch last year and now covers more than 740 sites in capital cities, with 72 located in the greater Perth area.