Victoria University receives State tech innovation award

Victoria University (VU) has received a 2022 iAward for the Education & Student Solution of the Year category in the Victorian State competition.

The Australian Information Industry Association iAwards recognise excellence in Australian tech innovation which is creating positive change. They are Australia’s longest running innovation recognition program, with previous recipients including Google Maps, Atlassian and Wotif.

VU will now proceed to the National phase of the competition with its nominated innovation, VU Explore, a new interactive campus tour on the University’s “VU App” (mobile app).

VU Explore uses the latest in mixed reality technology, computer vision and gamification to create a unique Augmented Reality (AR) campus tour of VU’s flagship Footscray Park campus.

Prospective students and visitors can use their phones as a gateway into an immersive virtual environment as they explore the site, encountering and capturing collectible AR holograms of indigenous plants local to the region (redeemable for reward) as well as learning about unique key campus facilities, location and course offerings.

“We’re excited to have partnered with VU Hive Lab to create VU Explore to offer prospective students a unique opportunity to discover our world-class facilities, explore the natural history of our location – as well as learn all about VU and how we can help set them up for a successful future,” said Alex Sims, Director, Future Students, Victoria University.

Informed by VUs Imaroo Indigenous Plant Nursery and Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit, VU Explore has translated flora native to the Footscray region including Bidgee Widgee, Gold Dust Wattle and Minnie Daisy into collectible holograms across the site.

Via scannable ground decals located around various points of interest, users see 3D hologram plants grow in real-time, and collect the virtual plants as they explore key locations around the campus, learning about VU as they go. Collected holograms are transformed to virtual trading cards and are redeemable for the reward of real native seedlings from Imaroo Nursery.

“This is the best kind of mixed reality, when we blend the tactile and virtual environments in truly meaningful ways. It was a positive experience for our team to collaborate with Future Students and ITS on this new feature,” said Kati Elizabeth, Product Manager, VU Hive Lab.

This is the latest innovation developed by the VU Hive Lab. Their VU App which was developed in-house has earned over 40,000 users and seven awards for digital design, innovation and entrepreneurship since launching in 2018. As well as VU Explore, the App offers everything students need to navigate their life at VU in one place with Digital Student ID card, printing, course readings, assessments and results, timetable, learning activities, interactive directories and personalised notifications all available on the go.

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