Optus, Cisco, and La Trobe and Curtin unis form National Industry Innovation Network

The alliance will be used to respond to industry problems and challenges of national interest.

Optus, Cisco, and La Trobe and Curtin unis form National Industry Innovation Network

Optus, Cisco, and La Trobe and Curtin Universities have jointly established the National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN), an alliance between universities and industry that will be "cleaning house" to respond to industry problems and challenges of national interest.

Under the alliance, the NIIN will pool collective resources including research chairs, innovation centres, supply chains, partner networks, and specialist expertise.

"Australia faces immense health and economic challenges and no single company or university has all the answers. In combining our technology, expertise, and networks, we can create a greater impact together," Optus Business managing director Chris Mitchell said.

Curtin University vice-chancellor Deborah Terry emphasised the importance of universities and industry working together.

"We have demonstrated that sharing our resources and expertise brings great value to our communities and our economy. We are proud to partner with Cisco, Optus, and La Trobe to take a leading role in finding new ways to solve industry problems and address national challenges," she said.

The founding members said one of the initial projects by the NIIN will be to develop a white paper about the role collaborative technology can play in remote working, with a specific focus on government, health, and education sectors.

"We can take the learnings out of the recent surge in the adoption of collaboration technologies that have enabled remote working, and build on the capability and productivity that's been realised, to support a more resilient digital economy and society," Cisco Australia and New Zealand vice president Ken Boal said.

It is anticipated that more members will join the NIIN over time.

See also: 10 ways businesses and academia are benefiting from collaboration (TechRepublic)

The alliance builds on relationships that currently exist between the four organisations.

Optus and Cisco have long partnered on delivering technology solutions in areas including cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, networking, and digital health.

La Trobe University and Cisco inked an agreement last September to collaborate on all things related to IoT -- from skills to research, and technology development.

As part of the agreement, Cisco created a new role, chair of the Internet of Things, who will be responsible for teaching IoT to undergraduates and postgraduates, as well lead research that could inform the development of IoT solutions to solve real-world problems.

Cisco will also establish a Co-Innovation Centre presence at the university's campus. It would serve as a place for researchers and Victorian-based small-to-medium enterprises and large corporates to develop solutions together in areas such as agriculture technology, smart cities, and IoT.

More recently, Optus and Curtin University announced a partnership to build an on-campus 5G lab that will be used for research, teaching, learning, and collaboration on 5G projects.

To be underpinned by the Optus 5G network, the lab will enable remote virtual learning and class trips, and support academic applications of virtual and augmented reality in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and medical training, according to the telco.

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