Buildings and Places, ICT, People Spotlight

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a senior audiovisual & information and communication technology (ICT) engineer from our Buildings + Places business line in Australia and New Zealand.

Anthony Agosta is a specialist consultant delivering complex audiovisual and unified communications projects at AECOM. He has also led the audiovisual component on many successful commercial projects in Australia and overseas. He works closely with AECOM’s key clients to develop energy-efficient technology solutions that help empower people to communicate their ideas and work collaboratively with others. Anthony is keenly involved in industry associations via his memberships with Engineers Australia and the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA).

What inspired you to join the industry?

I studied Electrical & Electronics Engineering and Physics at The University of Melbourne and graduated with honors. With a passion for technology and the built environment, I enjoy helping design smart buildings that leverage technology in an energy-efficient way to serve their occupants and ultimately make our day-to-day lives easier.

I naturally gravitated toward the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) consultancy space, with a special focus on audiovisual (AV) solutions, due to the profound way these systems help people communicate securely and reliably. It’s about ensuring voices are heard in various environments, from a boardroom meeting between global offices to remote teaching classes, or an orchestral performance with an in-house audience of thousands and millions streaming it live over the internet.

I consider myself very lucky to have found my dream career. I can make a difference in the world by providing technology solutions that help empower people to communicate their ideas and work collaboratively, enabling them to succeed in today’s digital economy.

What is your favourite AECOM project that you’ve worked on and why?

One that stands out is the Melbourne Connect precinct, located at The University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus. I was involved in designing, coordinating and commissioning audiovisual services across ten floors for the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology tenancy within Melbourne Connect. As a former alumnus of The University of Melbourne, it was a pleasure to design technology solutions across this state-of-the-art precinct.

Our scope comprised AV design, coordination and witness testing across all meeting rooms, teaching spaces, breakout spaces and two bespoke laboratories. This project was delivered as an AECOM integrated offering, allowing me to work closely with my fellow building services engineers to produce a well-coordinated design that met and exceeded the client’s needs. The project provided capability for academics, staff and students to meet their teaching and learning outcomes using reliable, best-in-class technology, which will serve the university now and well into the future.

One of the key spaces was a human-computer interaction (HCI) laboratory used by researchers who study and teach issues arising from people interacting with emerging technologies. The lab enable the researchers to explore, design and develop innovative interactions using movement-based devices, immersive projection technology, eye-tracking equipment and virtual reality/augmented reality (AR/VR) software to provide in-depth analysis and real-world insights into various technologies.

The lab’s 3D soundscape technology offers a deeper connection to multi-dimensional sound, creating an immersive environment for its users. This space is unique not only by accommodating multiple activities beyond AR/VR, but also by enabling researchers to test their hypotheses in a controlled environment with non-university participants. These advanced features provide an ideal facility for research into the next generation of interactive technologies.

Tell us a story of how your work positively impacted the community.

AECOM is currently providing integrated services for the design, coordination and commissioning work for the Victorian Government’s AUD492 million Mental Health Beds Expansion Program. As the lead audiovisual engineer across four sites, I successfully tailored technology solutions for various spaces, each with unique requirements.

Sensory rooms are designed to allow patients to relax, meditate and immerse themselves in a new environment. A fiber-optic star ceiling gives the room a cosmic atmosphere. The room, much like a movie theatre, is complemented by specialist-colored cove lighting around the perimeter of the space with the ability to change light color and intensity, and a variety of different scenes. An immersive interactive wall projection displays custom content—a patient uses their hands to interact with displays, such as catching leaves falling from trees above or popping bubbles in a park. This is a perfect example of where best-in-class technology is being used as a therapeutic tool to help rehabilitate vulnerable members of the community.

A high-quality sound system with an in-ceiling sub-woofer complements the visual component of the room and provides a natural, life-like soundscape to play a relaxing meditation soundtrack. Scent generation helps introduce the fourth dimension of smell to the immersive experience. The space is also fitted with a high-performance gaming PC to provide additional flexibility and allow for future VR/AR workflows. The system is controlled via a wireless touch panel for extra flexibility and ease of use.

Share a piece of career advice.

Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role and always about the goal!

Anthony Agosta

Originally published Aug 24, 2022

Author: Anthony Agosta

Anthony Agosta is a senior audiovisual & information and communication technology (ICT) engineer from AECOM's Buildings + Places business line in Australia and New Zealand.