The University of New England’s AARNet-connected SMART Farm Innovation Centre located at the Kirby Farm near UNE’s Armidale campus in regional New South Wales is now open for business.
The Innovation Centre, which sits right in the middle of the operating grazing pasture of UNE’s Sustainable, Manageable, Accessible, Rural Technologies (SMART) Farm is directly connected to AARNet’s high speed optical fibre network. It is an inspirational research, education and outreach facility built to showcase the integration of technology, science and farming.
Chris Hancock AARNet CEO said building fibre out to the SMART Farm has opened up a world of opportunities for collaborations with universities, research organisations and industry partners around Australia and internationally.
“This brand new network-enabled state-of-the-art technology centre in the middle of a working farm has access to the same very fast broadband speeds as a metropolitan university. We’re excited to see the AARNet network enabling such an innovative facility in regional Australia,” Hancock said.
AARNet optical fibre connects the Centre to the UNE campus and the AARNet national backbone over multiple 10 Gigabit per second links. Visitors and students of all ages will be able to connect remotely to the many live plant, animal and machine data streams emanating from the Farm. They will also be able to engage in lectures, field days and master classes as virtual visitors from anywhere in the world.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Annabelle Duncan said the SMART Farm is pioneering modern farming in Australia through its use of the latest technologies and science expertise.
“Our 7,000 acre SMART Farm is pretty well unmatched in Australia and in most of the world and we are actively working together with industry, in particular in the field of agriculture, to excel in research that matters,” Professor Duncan said.
“The Farm brings together experts from a number of different disciplines, all of whom are working together to address key research challenges in agricultural production and profitability, policy and business, sustainable land management, and the physical and mental wellbeing and resilience of rural and regional families and communities.”
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