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Source: Hawaiki

– Unique collaboration between Technology and Education partners, including Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP (Hawaiki), American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA), American Samoa Community College (ASCC), University of Hawaii (UH) and ARHT Media
– Holograms of UH lecturers based in Honolulu, HI beamed live into ASCC classrooms in Pago Pago, AS via the Hawaiki submarine cable
– First solution of its kind in the Pacific set to redefine how schools and universities connect and collaborate in the region

PAGO PAGO, AMERICAN SAMOA and HONOLULU, HAWAII, August 20, 2019 – American Samoa’s leading learning institution, ASCC today switched on a ground-breaking new digital platform that will stream 3D holograms of UH academics to deliver classes and engage with ASCC students in real-time.

Running on Hawaiki transpacific submarine cable, which directly connects American Samoa and Hawaii, and using technology from Canadian tech firm ARHT Media, the HoloCampus solution is the first of its kind in the Pacific, and is expected to spur new thinking and approaches to education throughout the Pacific Islands region and the world.

“HoloCampus is a culmination of the vision and hard work of many people inspired by the challenge of harnessing technology to provide American Samoa’s young people with access to the best opportunities for advancing their education, and creating a better future for them and their communities.” said Governor Lolo M. Moliga.
“The partnership between Hawaiki and American Samoa has delivered on its promises to bridge the digital divide in our Territory. Having ready access to high speed internet is already helping high school and college students with their learning, but the ability to have academics from around the world literally beamed into ASCC classrooms offers an exciting glimpse into what education and learning will look like in the future.”

ASCC president, Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato noted that HoloCampus will also spur new opportunities for American Samoa to more effectively share knowledge and insights from the US territory with University of Hawaii students and academics, and potentially more academic institutions in the region and throughout the world as the technology is deployed more widely.

“This technology has the potential to completely reshape how we in American Samoa – especially our young students – interact with and share perspectives and experiences with other students, teachers and schools throughout the region and the world,” Makaiwi Pato added.

The college and University of Hawaii are working together to create specific course programs running on HoloCampus, which could lead to students in American Samoa being able to earn credits and grades towards UH degrees, with UH academics and students benefiting from greater access to the college and its teachers, learning and resources.

“HoloCampus enables a remarkable new approach to distance learning,” said UH president Dr David Lassner, adding: “We expect that our work with ASCC will spark new ideas and approaches for academic collaborations across the Pacific and beyond.”

The launch of HoloCampus comes just 13 months after the Hawaiki cable went live in American Samoa, resulting in a dramatic increase in connectivity on the US territory.

“Deployment of the Hawaiki Cable in July 2018 has provided the businesses, communities and people of American Samoa with previously undreamt-of connectivity, speeds and reliability,” said Lewis Wolman, CEO of ASTCA. “Today’s launch of HoloCampus is a great example of the sorts of applications we’re now capable of delivering, to drive improvements in everything from education, to healthcare, government services, business, and academic research collaboration.”

Students and officials at today’s HoloCampus launch received an important lecture from the University of Hawaii’s Dr Chris Shuler on water contamination and ‘turbidity’ in American Samoa, which is being exacerbated by rising water levels; a theme which has special significance for Paciic Islands people as they bare the brunt of more dramatic weather systems brought about by climate change.

How does HoloCampus work?

Holograms are created using ARHT’s patented ‘capture studios’, which allow people and 3D ‘content’ to be broadcast live, virtually anywhere, in HD or 4K, on myriad devices, with virtually zero latency.

A speaker can see the room via a video signal back to the capture studio and speak to students responding to their questions and reactions in real-time.

Streaming on platforms like Facebook and YouTube is quick and easy, while broadcasts are also able to be recorded to the cloud and shared after the event.

In November last year ARHT helped London’s Imperial College become the world’s first academic institution to offer live holographic lectures.

Speaking at the launch in Pago Pago, Hawaiki Executive Director and COO, Ludovic Hutier emphasized the importance of international connectivity for Pacific Islands nations and territories.

“For many years, the Pacific Islands have suffered from the double tyranny of distance and overpriced bandwidth but the launch of Hawaiki cable has unlocked the market by providing broadband connectivity at competitive price to all customers. Today, we are celebrating both the first-year anniversary of Hawaiki and the launch of HoloCampus, which demonstrate our tremendous progress to date. We are honoured that ASTCA, ASCC and UH all accepted to join forces with Hawaiki and build this 3D telepresence learning platform, which will revolutionize the way we learn in the Pacific.”

“We believe connectivity is an enabler of socio-economic progress and have designed our transpacific cable to connect all Pacific Islands located next to the cable route. With branching units immediately available for New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, we have great opportunities to replicate American Samoa’s success in all these locations.”

ARHT Media CEO, Larry O’Reilly said the company is “very proud to collaborate with Hawaiki, UH, ASCC and ASTCA in helping bring forward such an innovative initiative for education in The Pacific”. “Our holographic technology is a powerful enabler for education and connecting academic institutions throughout the world, and we look forward to seeing more universities, colleges and schools taking advantage of its many benefits.”

About Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP

Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP, headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, owns and operates the Hawaiki submarine cable system (Hawaiki). Hawaiki is the first and only carrier-neutral submarine cable linking Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the U.S. west coast. For more information, visit www.hawaikicable.co.nz or connect with Hawaiki on Twitter and LinkedIn.

MIL OSI New Zealand News