Industry flocks to RMIT technologies showcase

Movers and shakers from business, government and academia were out in force for RMIT’s industry showcase for innovative technologies.

The CSIT Industry Showcase event was held above Storey Hall in April.

With a mix of guest speakers, exhibits and project demonstrations, the event was an opportunity for attendees to find out how new and emerging technologies can impact on the work they do, and discuss potential future research collaborations.

Students and staff from the School of Computer Science and IT managed a number of booths which featured various technological breakthroughs in key sectors, such as health, emergency management, transport, and warehouse management.

Keynote speakers on the day emphasised the impact of innovative research into new technologies and why it’s critical to future growth and prosperity for Victoria and Australia.

As Head of the School of Computer Science and IT, Professor Athman Bouguettaya was encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm shown from those who attended.

“The response from industry was overwhelmingly positive, and the attendance was extraordinary,” he said.

“This means that what we are doing is very relevant to them and the breadth of work on show seems to have captivated their imagination.”

As well as a great opportunity to showcase the School’s research capabilities, Professor Bouguettaya sees the event as a forum for sharing knowledge and discussing new ideas, and to develop new relationships and collaborations.

“By making potential partners aware about the industry-related work we are doing in the School, this event is part of a wider plan to engage with industry and build long-lasting partnerships,” he said.

According to event coordinator, Dr Lawrence Cavedon, demonstrating the latest advances in areas like big data, cloud computing, sensor technology, mobile computing and intelligent systems at events such as this helps to bridge the gap between researchers and industry.

“The school is committed to working with industry; to understand and address their challenges with innovative technology solutions, and to help companies enhance their own technology offerings,” he said.

“We wanted to make the broader industry sector as well as small to medium enterprises aware of the sort of technology capabilities on offer that can be used to enhance their service offerings and/or increase the productivity of their business.”

While feedback from attendees has been excellent, event exhibitors are also excited about the interest shown in their projects and the potential collaborations that could eventuate.

“Those on the display booths reported that there was a great deal of interest in their projects, and many now have promising leads to follow up,” Dr Cavedon said.

“We want to start getting the message out to the commercial world that our School is a place to come for ICT expertise and enthusiastic collaboration, and to meet the toughest challenges that face Australian industry and society at large.”

This showcase is just the beginning, according to Dr Cavedon, as future events and activities are already in the pipeline.

“We already planning some more targeted events, focused on more specific themes and capabilities, like RMIT’s new Research Centre for Data Analytics, for example,” he said.

“But we’re also developing an industry affiliate scheme to encourage external parties to engage with us more regularly, to bring us their problems and have access to our students and software engineering teams, and to actively help us develop research strategies and capabilities that will benefit them.”

While paying tribute to the efforts of all the staff and students involved in organising the event, Dr Cavedon was also keen to recognise the contribution from School partners.

“We really appreciate the participation of our existing partners, who were able to explain the value of collaborating with CSIT on projects, and how some have led to startup companies and products,” he said.

The event was supported by RMIT’s Platform Technologies Research Institute, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the Australasian SME Alliance (ASMEA), and RMIT partner, NICTA, Australia’s Centre of ICT Research Excellence.