Specifically designed for the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, the lab features smart energy solutions, devices that allow for remote, real-time monitoring, and immersive augmented and virtual reality technologies that power smart building solutions.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, vice-chancellor and principal of UJ, said, "The launch of this lab today is important for facilitating the understanding of 4IR technologies in practice. My call, however, is that as we consume this technology and embrace it, we do so with humanity in mind."
Mpedi said the university is cognisant of the possibilities the technological shift brings, but that advancement and technology are inextricably linked.
"We must find empowerment in advancement and use these tools to create more sustainable frameworks. This, I would argue, is the real future of the 4IR," he said.
UJ's partnership with Schneider Electric began in 2016 with the goal of bridging the gap between industry and academia, explained Zanelle Dalglish, global leader: training and education affairs at Schneider Electric. Through the partnership, students are readied to take up the challenge as they enter the workforce, trained in advanced technologies already being applied in industry.
"The beauty in our partnership really is that Schneider Electric is a global energy management specialist, and we have fantastic technology, but this technology only comes to life when we install it into communities and into society where it's really utilised and people are benefiting from it," she said.