Marsfield, New South Wales. If I said this name to you in general conversation you would have no idea what I am talking about. However if you have been reading Inside BlackBerry Blogs lately, and I said Macquarie University, then a light of recognition may dawn in your eyes. In an article published yesterday, Georgina Hart of BlackBerry Australia told us about how BlackBerry and At-Hoc are working with Macquarie University to develop alert systems for a growing number of University Students attending what we colloquially refer to as ‘Club Mac.’
Now rather than reiterate the detail in the article, we wanted to present to you a little bit of history surrounding the University itself and the area in which it was situated and talk about why systems like At-Hoc utilising BlackBerry’s IoT infrastructure are very important for the future and need to be implemented now. What we have here at UTB is one who has actually lived, worked and studied at Marsfield where Macquarie University is based over a period of 15 years in various forms. So let me tell you about the area.
Back in the late 90’s Marsfield consisted of a small, but not insignificant, University; a few independent colleges; a small shopping centre and a few single story industrial offices. I had the privilege to work in one of them as an apprentice draughtsman. It was rural, it was small and the majority of the population caught a bus to get to anywhere meaningful. It was the last place anyone would think of to be a major commercial and educational hub. In less than five years, Marsfield saw the first Multi-storey buildings being built. To the point that when I went to work there in the early 2000’s as a radio network mapper for Ericsson, I was surprised at the changes in the place. I still found that while there was a lot of business happening and the motorway finally had an exit to the place, that the majority of people who lived and worked their went somewhere else to do and achieve things. A couple of years later, I was attending to do more study. The University was booming and those high rise buildings had risen higher. The place was gaining a lot of human traffic. When I came to live on campus, it was growing even more and there was finally talk of putting in a train station. It has been eight years since I was regularly in Marsfield and the few times I have returned, it has shocked me just how much human traffic there is in the place. When I was there, a simple loud speaker system was sufficient to inform students about any emergencies that were happening across the campus. Now you could be on one side of the campus and not hear what was going on down the other end.
This is where early warning systems come in and it is pleasing to see that BlackBerry and At-Hoc are partnering together to implement these systems for the safety and security of the student body. Years ago in the early days of Mobile communications this would never have been dreamed of, but in the years to come as places like Marsfield, as educational bodies like Macquarie University become Multi-storey, multi-platform mini cities, that systems like At-Hoc and BlackBerry will be available to keep us safe and secure. The beauty of such systems is that once the infrastructure is in place there is no need to expand the hardware and create new devices for this to work. So to start now and get in on the ground floor is important. If a place like Marsfield can grow so much in such a short space of time, imagine the future. How much human traffic will there be in ten, twenty, even thirty years time. BlackBerry with At-Hoc are poised to ease our consciences for study options in the future and more. This is indeed an exciting time for mobile communications.
Thanks Georgie for highlighting, not only a great project for BlackBerry and At-Hoc, but showing displayed it in a micro-culture which provides an excellent case study into what the future holds.