E-Business: College Engineers Check out Systems

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Pain

Students from the University of Birmingham's school of engineering are checking out a new mobile 'knowledge management' system developed by BT's research, technology and IT operations business, BT Exact, it has emerged.

The trial allows students to access personalised information and to contact people based on their personal profiles.

The project was set up to help students with their studies and is part of research at BT and Birmingham in mobile technology to transform learning.

The University of Birmingham is a European centre for research in mobile and distance learning. It has developed an advanced 'flexible learning room' for multimedia and video conference teaching, and is the first university in the UK to provide students with wireless hand-held personal learning organisers.

At the heart of the trial is the intelligent personal agent technology developed by BT Exact that can reliably and accurately select information from a range of sources to match a particular user's profile of interests.

For the trial, the technology has been made accessible through multimedia hand-held 'PDA' computers that have colour screens, microphones and speakers, as well as software for e-mail, web browsing and video streaming.

Nader Azarmi, the chief artificial intelligence (AI) technologist and head of the intelligent systems laboratory at BT Exact said: 'We have worked very closely with the University of Birmingham to set up this trial and we see projects like this as an essential investment for the future of learning. Collaborations with premier league universities are a key mechanism through which our leading-edge technology can be tried and tested by those who will become the technology movers and shakers of the future. …