Update From Brett

A Glimpse Into The Future

"The future depends on what you do today." - Mahatma Gandhi

We've completed another successful Back To School effort, and some of the figures are more surprising than ever.

The number of devices increased dramatically, crossing several thresholds:  students now average more than one mobile device per person, some have as many as six registered devices, and the total expansion over last year is right at 50%.

In fact the increase in devices is so dramatic that we've just added another 4000 IP addresses to the pool available to the wireless controllers. Just 5 years ago, only 1% of the students on campus had a phone capable of accessing the Internet and this year we added 4,000 IP addresses.

This data is but a taste of what is to come...a glimpse into the future of our growing involvement with the non-IT portions of the institution, both inside and outside the academic mission. Hints of dramatic change are all around us, especially in some of our upcoming projects for FY13. While I will go into greater detail regarding our larger initiatives and goals at the Annual Kickoff on October 4, here are a trio of current efforts that offer clues of other significant changes down the road.

Academic Exchange

The directors already have large lists of goals for next year which fill the white board in my office. In one example, Alan Cattier (Academic Technologies) has a challenge to take existing textbooks or course materials and turn them into iBooks. The first such attempt was recently completed as Steve Bransford and Shannon O'Daniel (both of Academic Technologies) helped put together an iBook edition of Academic Exchange, showcasing enhanced multimedia and interactive content.

According to Academic Exchange, "the edition contains two articles from the Spring 2012 issue that now include videos, 3D animation, and more. In the feature based on Howard Kushner's essay on handedness and brain laterality, read and experience how left-handedness has been understood and explained over human history and its associations with both disorders and talents. In the feature based on David Nugent's essay on the Master's in Development Program and the future of the liberal arts, view several videos that examine the meaning and impact of the program on approaches to understanding and addressing global problems of poverty and conflict."

Click here to download this free iBook to your iPad (currently this book may only be viewed using iBooks 2 on an iPad. iOS 5 is required).


Another example is the large effort around billing this year, owned by John Connerat (IT F&A), and involving Dana Haggas (Enterprise Applications), most of Paul Petersen's Infrastructure group, and half of Michael Keown's Enterprise Services team. The first taste of this effort is that Mary Kinney (Enterprise Services) has committed to moving the ten most common requests for voice and data out of MySoft and into ServiceNow. ITSMO has already started the development and should be completed by November. By moving her major billing items into ServiceNow, she will save the time normally spent in MySoft, increasing service response times and reduce error through a more automated request process. This alone would be a nice achievement, but wait until you see how it will begin to dramatically change billing throughout the enterprise along with providing our customers with a new request catalog.


The Monitoring Project is taking a fresh look at measuring service availability and how we both find and respond to availability challenges. Gaining more visibility into how our systems work together as a complete service is a crucial step towards assuring more reliable performance for the community. Better monitoring offers expediency with problem resolution. A little tease regarding this project can be seen in this demo of what service availability may soon look like. The sample window shows the last seven days of how our systems fare when we run real transactions against them. Although still in its early phases, monitoring will certainly affect the entire division.

I hope that all of you can attend the Annual Kickoff. It offers the chance to see into our future and encourages us to imagine how these projects and plans will affect each of us this year. For those whose work and family obligations prevent attending, we will rebroadcast the event, similar to last year. We also have a few new twists on participation that you'll hear more about starting next week. See you soon!

- Brett Coryell, Deputy CIO, UTS