Tech23: Education and the arts in the Cloud

Cloud computing finalists announced at annual innovation awards

Two unlikely industries — education and the arts — have taken up two of the three spots in the Cloud computing category at the finals of the innovation awards at Tech23.

At the event in Sydney, Cloud solutions organisation Momentum Cloud Technologies general manager, Pem Dechen, and props management company StageBitz chief executive, Catherine Prosser, said Cloud computing is an essential part of the future for both of their respective industries.

"Schools are recording their information on Excel or Word but the problem is they are required to store data about a lot of students and there is a lot of recording happening, but in terms of pulling it together is hard," Dechen said.

"Performance reporting is what we're doing and learning management systems may help them, but we not only take records of academic data, but also records on bullying and NAPLAN information."

Momentum uses Cloud to reduce the workload of teachers who are often short on time, with Dechen saying that the system aimed to meet the various challenges of performance reporting.

"We are not replicating what schools are already doing," she said.

"What they're doing is allowing for the easy import and export of data."

Dechen said that Momentum builds an entire profile of students — the system not only documents the student’s academic performance, but also records whether the student had been bullied.

For Prosser, she discussed the unique challenges of the theatre industry at the event, saying that the huge volume of props and other equipment thrown out by theatre groups each year prompted her to find a solution.

"Every year in theatre, we create over 25 million props worldwide that we use once," she said.

"For the creative arts industry, this is a massive missed opportunity."

Unable to find a tool to help recycle and reuse the props, Prosser started working on the StageBitz project.

"There are a lot of other applications where you can apply the same format as what we have," she said.

"As far as competitors go, it’s Microsoft Excel, and while that's a very good product, there is one company who has 40,000 props in Sydney and yet they don't have a record of these kept anywhere."

StageBitz's website enables online collaboration among the theatre community, with Prosser saying that the site manages the full lifecycle of props — providing sourcing, maintenance and an online function where they can be listed and traded worldwide. The next step for Prosser is forming connections in other areas of the entertainment industry as part of a business expansion.

"Connections with the film and TV industry are important, and a way of connecting the project to the market," she said.

"It might sound like a small market but when you add in film, TV and theatre — and areas like Bollywood — it actually adds up quite quickly."

Earlier in the day at Tech23, NSW deputy premier Andrew Stoner announced that the government will sponsor start-ups.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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