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New Technology Hub created to help students and staff design the future

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14 April 2022

The University of Auckland Business School is set to open a Technology Hub with cutting-edge technology for education and research, with support from Vodafone. Located on Level 1 of the Sir Owen G Glenn Building and managed by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the Hub will prepare graduates for the future of work by providing a unique learning experience not offered by any other Business School in New Zealand. 

As the University’s first space utilising 5G, the Technology Hub will initially feature technologies including AR/VR, IoT, and 3D printing, which will be incorporated into extra-curricular and curricular programming. As with all of CIE’s programmes, extra-curricular and co-curricular opportunities will be open to all students and staff of the University of Auckland, no matter which faculty they are from. 

The Business School’s Associate Dean Technology Andrew Eberhard discusses his vision for the Technology Hub and the importance of students having the opportunity to explore emerging technologies.

What does your role as Associate Dean Technology involve, and why has the Business School created this new role?

“The key purpose of the Business School is to make the world a better place, and it is hard to see how we can do that without leveraging technology. Technology fundamentally changes how we interact with and view the world – it’s the great enabler. So, the purpose of my role is to champion the use of technology to enable and empower our people (both students and staff) to make a difference. I want to support people who want to solve problems.” 

Why is it important for students to explore emerging technology?

“The rate of technology change is phenomenal. Our students must be actively engaged with emerging technologies as these will be the tools they use in the future. The purpose of the Technology Hub is to give them practical experiences with new technologies, as it’s hard to ideate new ways of doing things without experiencing them themselves. 

One of the huge advantages we have as an institution is that we’ve got so many bright people, and throwing them at new technologies will inevitably spark amazing ideas. It’s incredibly exciting, and that’s why I think it’s important to have spaces like the Technology Hub where we can harness those ideas and empower people to take them further.”

How is technology transforming the way business is conducted?

“One of the things I think we’re really bad at is predicting the future, especially something with exponential growth. When I started university, we didn’t have access to the World Wide Web, so I went through my entire studies using paper-based books. Today, we can’t fathom it. If I try to picture the world that my daughter will live in, in twenty years’ time, I’ve got no idea. We just cannot conceive what will be possible.

We’ve already embraced Zoom. Maybe we’ll embrace the metaverse, smart glasses, holograms. The challenge is to decide what actually adds value, and what is more of a gimmick. For example, I was once demonstrated a meeting with holograms sitting around a table. It was cool, but it was very complicated and really, a 2D Zoom call works just fine. Businesses will need to evaluate whether new technologies are actually giving them a return on investment, or if it’s just a fun vibe.

On a personal level, technology has certainly transformed my work as an educator. One of the secrets to my success is that I’m inherently lazy so I try to leverage technology and automate wherever possible. For example, I’ve figured out a way to automate a lot of my student communications, so every student is getting individualised feedback but it’s all generated by me ticking boxes rather than having to write out everything. I’m now investigating how I can do that with video feedback as well because people respond well to it, but it takes a lot of time when you have a course with thousands of students.”

What is your vision for the Technology Hub? How will this be utilised for teaching & learning?

“My vision is to have a space where staff, as well as students, can freely explore and experiment with emerging tech. I think it’s important to have a dedicated space for that because it doesn’t just happen magically. Many people don’t know what kind of technology is available in the world. So, I’m hoping that it will be a vibrant, attractive place for students and staff to go and have a look at technology and what it is capable of. Every Business student will go through the space and be exposed to what’s available, with the intention of sparking their imaginations and inspiring them to make the most of the facility.”

Why is 5G being incorporated into The Technology Hub?

“5G is essentially a new protocol that allows for faster mobile internet. The latency is much faster than 4G, so if you’re doing things remotely, it allows for much finer control. An example that is often used is telesurgery – the responsiveness that 5G allows means that people will be able to operate remotely in a way that is comparable to when they’re in the room. For the average user like you and me, it means we can do things such as send high-quality video feeds instantaneously.

When I was first thinking about 5G, I couldn’t really think of a reason why we would need it over what we have now. However, I see that as a feature, not a bug. When we introduce new technologies, it may not be particularly obvious how we’re going to use them because we don’t know what can be done. Take the iPad for example – for the first month or so, I didn’t really know what to use it for. Now, I can’t live without it. It’s the same case with 5G. People will take time to figure out what they can do with it, but through playing and experimenting, ideas will spark and we’ll eventually be wanting it for everything. It’s really about throwing people at it and getting those ideas bouncing off each other.”

What are you most excited about in your new role?

“I’m most excited to see what students come up with. I mean, that’s really why I’m here. Everything we do is so that students can take what we show them, and use it to make the world a better place. With my assignments, I give students problems and they constantly blow my mind with what they come back with. I’m never disappointed with the results. I am always amazed by how much creativity and passion the student body has, and I’m incredibly excited to see how they unleash that in the Technology Hub.”

The Technology Hub will open in mid-2022. Sign up for CIE’s newsletter for updates.

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

14 April 2022

The University of Auckland Business School is set to open a Technology Hub with cutting-edge technology for education and research, with support from Vodafone. Located on Level 1 of the Sir Owen G Glenn Building and managed by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the Hub will prepare graduates for the future of work by providing a unique learning experience not offered by any other Business School in New Zealand. 

As the University’s first space utilising 5G, the Technology Hub will initially feature technologies including AR/VR, IoT, and 3D printing, which will be incorporated into extra-curricular and curricular programming. As with all of CIE’s programmes, extra-curricular and co-curricular opportunities will be open to all students and staff of the University of Auckland, no matter which faculty they are from. 

The Business School’s Associate Dean Technology Andrew Eberhard discusses his vision for the Technology Hub and the importance of students having the opportunity to explore emerging technologies.

What does your role as Associate Dean Technology involve, and why has the Business School created this new role?

“The key purpose of the Business School is to make the world a better place, and it is hard to see how we can do that without leveraging technology. Technology fundamentally changes how we interact with and view the world – it’s the great enabler. So, the purpose of my role is to champion the use of technology to enable and empower our people (both students and staff) to make a difference. I want to support people who want to solve problems.” 

Why is it important for students to explore emerging technology?

“The rate of technology change is phenomenal. Our students must be actively engaged with emerging technologies as these will be the tools they use in the future. The purpose of the Technology Hub is to give them practical experiences with new technologies, as it’s hard to ideate new ways of doing things without experiencing them themselves. 

One of the huge advantages we have as an institution is that we’ve got so many bright people, and throwing them at new technologies will inevitably spark amazing ideas. It’s incredibly exciting, and that’s why I think it’s important to have spaces like the Technology Hub where we can harness those ideas and empower people to take them further.”

How is technology transforming the way business is conducted?

“One of the things I think we’re really bad at is predicting the future, especially something with exponential growth. When I started university, we didn’t have access to the World Wide Web, so I went through my entire studies using paper-based books. Today, we can’t fathom it. If I try to picture the world that my daughter will live in, in twenty years’ time, I’ve got no idea. We just cannot conceive what will be possible.

We’ve already embraced Zoom. Maybe we’ll embrace the metaverse, smart glasses, holograms. The challenge is to decide what actually adds value, and what is more of a gimmick. For example, I was once demonstrated a meeting with holograms sitting around a table. It was cool, but it was very complicated and really, a 2D Zoom call works just fine. Businesses will need to evaluate whether new technologies are actually giving them a return on investment, or if it’s just a fun vibe.

On a personal level, technology has certainly transformed my work as an educator. One of the secrets to my success is that I’m inherently lazy so I try to leverage technology and automate wherever possible. For example, I’ve figured out a way to automate a lot of my student communications, so every student is getting individualised feedback but it’s all generated by me ticking boxes rather than having to write out everything. I’m now investigating how I can do that with video feedback as well because people respond well to it, but it takes a lot of time when you have a course with thousands of students.”

What is your vision for the Technology Hub? How will this be utilised for teaching & learning?

“My vision is to have a space where staff, as well as students, can freely explore and experiment with emerging tech. I think it’s important to have a dedicated space for that because it doesn’t just happen magically. Many people don’t know what kind of technology is available in the world. So, I’m hoping that it will be a vibrant, attractive place for students and staff to go and have a look at technology and what it is capable of. Every Business student will go through the space and be exposed to what’s available, with the intention of sparking their imaginations and inspiring them to make the most of the facility.”

Why is 5G being incorporated into The Technology Hub?

“5G is essentially a new protocol that allows for faster mobile internet. The latency is much faster than 4G, so if you’re doing things remotely, it allows for much finer control. An example that is often used is telesurgery – the responsiveness that 5G allows means that people will be able to operate remotely in a way that is comparable to when they’re in the room. For the average user like you and me, it means we can do things such as send high-quality video feeds instantaneously.

When I was first thinking about 5G, I couldn’t really think of a reason why we would need it over what we have now. However, I see that as a feature, not a bug. When we introduce new technologies, it may not be particularly obvious how we’re going to use them because we don’t know what can be done. Take the iPad for example – for the first month or so, I didn’t really know what to use it for. Now, I can’t live without it. It’s the same case with 5G. People will take time to figure out what they can do with it, but through playing and experimenting, ideas will spark and we’ll eventually be wanting it for everything. It’s really about throwing people at it and getting those ideas bouncing off each other.”

What are you most excited about in your new role?

“I’m most excited to see what students come up with. I mean, that’s really why I’m here. Everything we do is so that students can take what we show them, and use it to make the world a better place. With my assignments, I give students problems and they constantly blow my mind with what they come back with. I’m never disappointed with the results. I am always amazed by how much creativity and passion the student body has, and I’m incredibly excited to see how they unleash that in the Technology Hub.”

The Technology Hub will open in mid-2022. Sign up for CIE’s newsletter for updates.


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