CQU students future-ready with new Internet of Things training labs

08 August 2023
Three students sit at a desk with IoT monitoring technology and a computer dashboard display.
CQU Melbourne students work in the Internet of Things lab

A new network of internet of things (IoT) labs across five CQUniversity campuses means students are skilling up for cyber security, data-informed design and artificial intelligence (AI) application, and to lead in cutting-edge digital careers.

The cyber IoT labs across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Rockhampton and Cairns feature industry-grade IT tools, for solving real-world problems through advanced networks. 

The $375,000 School of Engineering and Technology project means hundreds of IT students can get hands-on tech experience, through safe-controlled opportunities for cyber security challenges and defence against vulnerabilities. 

Dr Biplob Ray, the Emerging Technologies Discipline Lead at CQUniversity, spearheaded the design and implementation of the IoT network. 

According to Dr Ray, the state-of-the-art lab facilities were custom-built to provide students with the best possible access to the latest advanced technologies. 

“The labs enable Information and Communication Technology students to gain hands-on experience in cyber security and networking fundamentals, to explore and apply industry-level tools in a controlled environment, and to solve real-world problems with the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.”

The cyber IoT labs connect to CQU’s new university-wide Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), including more than 20 IoT gateways, robotic arms and hundreds of air quality and moisture sensors for students to use for their practical work.

CQU Postgraduate ICT Head of Course Dr Steve Gordon worked with CQU's Digital Services Directorate, to ensure the lab network was segmented from the enterprise CQU network, so students could use software and networks in a safe and controlled environment, with scope for rapid prototyping.

He said the labs met the growing demand from industry for employees skilled in data science and computational intelligence. 

“This technology means students gain the theoretical and practical knowledge to defend businesses and governments against attacks,” he said.

CQU Head of College for Information and Communication Technology Associate Professor Marilyn Wells commended the project team, and challenged students to immerse themselves in the new technology. 


A bank of desktop computers line either side of a central desk.
One of CQUniversity's cyber IoT labs, including a robotic arm

“The IoT labs will be vital training grounds for the next generation of IT and cyber security professionals,” she said.

Dr Ray worked with industry partner OneWiFi to install equipment based on his design and said students across undergraduate and postgraduate programs were already using the labs. 

“Students both on-campus and online can use the Virtual Learning Environments developed as part of the labs, and this industry-scale facility will be used by students to perform practical activities across IoT and AI specialisations,” he said.

“We will also extend access to engineering students who can use the infrastructure to learn asset management, sensor building and so on.”

Tech enthusiasts in Central Queensland can soon see the lab functionality in-person, at the Rockhampton AgriTech Immersion Day on Thursday 16 November at CQU’s Central Queensland Innovation Research Precinct (CQIRP) on Ibis Avenue in Rockhampton. The event will showcase emerging technologies being incorporated in agriculture and agribusiness. 

Participants will have the opportunity to get hands-on with robotics, engineering, telecommunications and drone technology, and hear a keynote presentation from Dr Biplob Ray. 

To attend, email Cynthia.gusman-nolan@acs.org.au

Learn more about CQUniversity’s Information Technology courses here