ICT students win award for innovative telco project

Opmantek Awards Oct 31 2013
Opmantek Award Winners with judges (L to R) Prof. Michael Blumenstein (Head of School), Mr. Danny Maher (CEO of Opmantek), Joshua Head, Rhys Bullions, Alexander Hanna, Peter Brown and Cr. Glenn Tozer (Division 9, Gold Coast City Council)

A team of final year information and communication technology students from the Gold Coasthave won the second biannual Opmantek Award for their innovative industry-based IT project.

Griffith University hosted the award night, which is sponsored by Opmantek a leading developer of Network management software at the Gold Coast campus, showcasing the highest achieving final year industry projects from the School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The winning team were Joshua Head, Peter Brown, Alexander Hanna and Rhys Bullions for their Open Node Observation Deck project to develop a visualisation tool for Village Telco to monitor wireless mobile networks for faults and interference.

Village Telco is an initiative which aims to build low-cost community telephone networks that can be set up in minutes for villages and other small communities anywhere in the world.

Speaking on behalf of his team, Joshua Head said the course project and the award was a great way to measure how well they were applying their knowledge and skills to meet industry standards and practices.

“Winning the award was great,” said Joshua. “But it was stressful too, as we worked very hard on this project and aimed to at the very least be nominated for the award.”

“The course invites you to interact with clients from the industry. We had to pitch our ideas to Village Telco and work closely with them to make sure that the visualisation tool continually lived up to expectations.

“In turn Village Telco shared their industry knowledge with us and maintained communications with us to provide feedback as we progressed towards completion of the product.

“Village Telco uses Open Source telephony software and low cost wireless mesh networking technology to deliver affordable telephony anywhere and are already doing so in places like Africa.

“Our project was to provide a solution that would monitor data for the Village Telco network and to assist in setup and maintenance as well as testing for interference and to chart its effectiveness.”

Each semester, final year students are required to complete a project from various industry sectors by applying the knowledge they have gained throughout their information technology and multimedia degrees.

The highest achieving projects will then be nominated to showcase their product in front of a panel of judges to compete for the prestigious Opmantek award.

This semester, the panel of judges consisted of Councillor Glenn Tozer from Division 9 of the Gold Coast City Council, Mr. Danny Maher the CEO from Opmantek and Professor Michael Blumenstein the Head of School from Griffith University’s School of ICT.

The three project groups selected as finalists for the award have come from a wide array of the industry spectrum to compete for the award.

Event coordinator Dr Peter Darcy said that while the competition was very intense among the three groups, eventually the judges awarded the Opmantek Award to that the Open Node Observation Deck.

“All three projects presented this semester were of a very high calibre,” said Peter.

“We will be looking forward to future events such as the Opmantek Award night to continue to showcase our future leading ICT professionals.”

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