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Campus transformation: 5G is coming to the University of Miami

SOURCE: University of Miami
The University of Miami is bringing teaching & learning to life with 5G & Edge technology.

Recognising the potential of 5G to transform pedagogy, the University of Miami is bringing the technology to its Coral Gables campus in a partnership with American communications giant AT&T.

The university recently inked an agreement with the firm, officially becoming its first-ever college campus to adopt AT&T 5G+ and AT&T Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) technology. 

The agreement means the university will be able to support the technologies on campus, placing the school at the forefront of digital transformation impacting every field.

“It will allow students, faculty, and staff to develop, test, and use the next generation of digital apps, including Magic Leap’s spatial computing platform, in new and exciting ways,” University of Miami CIO and Vice-President of Information Technology Ernie Fernandez said in a media release.

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The 5G and Edge technology rollout is set to transform teaching and learning at the University of Miami, enabling ultra-fast speeds for data transfer, with large data files like videos and graphics loading much quicker on phones and tablets. 

Academic Affairs Vice-President and Provost Jeffrey Duerk said the partnership is a clear demonstration of the university’s commitment to upgrading its educational offering and the overall student experience.

He said it’s also a critical building block of the “Roadmap to our New Century”, a strategic transformation plan for the university as it approaches its centennial in 2025. The roadmap details a set of actions to help the institution achieve its aspirations, covering areas from explorative pedagogies to digital scholarship, creative endeavors, science, technology, engineering, and math.

“The computing power of your handheld device will increase tremendously by allowing really complicated applications and analyses to be performed at the edge and answers or solutions returned to your device as part of the 5G+ and Edge environment. 

“The beautiful part also is the extension beyond to the arts and humanities. We are proud to be the pioneering University in this new arena,” Duerk added.

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Over the next few months, AT&T will begin installing the necessary infrastructure at the university. A full installation should be complete by the spring.

The university anticipates that access to the 5G+ network will be most optimal in high-traffic computing locations on-campus, such as at the College of Engineering and in the Ungar Building, at the Otto G. Richter Library, and in the School of Architecture.

More locations will be added in the future. 

“Combining 5G and Edge technology at the University of Miami powers a new category of educational experiences that we haven’t seen before. Then when paired with Magic Leap, we can ultimately provide unprecedented digital learning and development opportunities,” said AT&T Business CEO Anne Chow. 

“These powerful next-generation networking solutions will help change how students learn, research and interact with the world around them. And, it will impact the way administrators conduct everything from campus operations to the safety of students.”

The AT&T collaboration was the result of the university’s relationship with the Florida-based company Magic Leap. Founded by university alumnus Rony Abovitz, the company developed the world’s leading spatial computing platform technologies, which allows users to efficiently integrate digital content into their physical environment. 

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With Magic Leap’s first product, Magic Leap One, users are able to see and interact with digital objects in the space around them.

“I think we are going to see a migration from 2D screens, which are very confining, to three-dimensional structures,” said Vice-Provost for Strategic Initiatives Jean-Pierre Bardet.

“That will have profound implications for research and applications. We are on the verge of adding a third dimension to our cognitive process.”

Last fall, it was announced that the university would become the first “Magicverse” campus. As part of that collaboration, the university said it planned to explore ways to use the firm’s spatial computing technology in a range of fields.

Since then, over 30 applications have been developed on-campus that use the Magic Leap technology. To encourage further advancements, the university is also offering grants to student or faculty project proposals that use the technology.

Magic Leap Chief Product Officer said AT&T’s 5G technology is critical to the success of Magicverse, which requires a level of data infrastructure that can support the highest fidelity digital experiences with ultra-low latency.