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Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Internet of Things: Riding the Wave in Higher Education | EDUCAUSE Review


Looking at the vast ocean that is modern-day computing, we can see that major developments come in waves. The arrival of mainframe computers in the 1960s generated the first wave (one computer for many people), followed in the late 1970s by personal computers in the second wave (one computer for one person). 

In 1988, Mark Weiser presciently observed that computers embedded into everyday objects, objects all around us, were forming the third wave—what he called ubiquitous computing (many computers for one person). A decade later, in 1999, Keven Ashton put forth the ideas behind, and coined the term for, the fourth wave: the Internet of Things. 


In this paradigm shift, Weiser's computer-embedded everyday objects—or "things"—are connected to the Internet and can communicate with users and with other devices. The guiding principle is connection, along with the conviction that if something can be connected, it will be connected. Indeed, in recent years, the wave appears to be rising to a crest. The plunging cost and size of processors and chipsets, the massive expansion of the IP address space, and the growing coverage of broadband networks allow virtually any object to be connected to the Internet. The computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones that constitute the bulk of the Internet of Things (IoT) today are being joined by smartwatches, smart appliances, cars, lightbulbs, and an array of other devices that collect and transfer data, often without any human involvement. As that data is increasing and the technologies are advancing, we are moving from the early IoT of smart connections to a new phase, one of invisible integration...

Below, five industry leaders give their perspectives on the IoT and new devices; the IoT benefits and campus influence; the problems solved/created by the IoT; and security, privacy, and data-ownership issues. Based on their experiences with the IoT, they also share lessons learned and offer words of wisdom.

Photo: Itai Asseo, 
Strategic Innovation
 Executive Salesforce
The Internet of Things has evolved over many decades as wearables, RFID, BYOD, wireless devices, and more have increased in both number and usage. How do you define the IoT today?
The Internet of Things is not a new term. It's been around since at least the late 1990s, but another decade or so went by before it became a mainstream term. The idea is that as computing power can be condensed into ever smaller units and devices, and as the power demand gets lower and more efficient, we can embed computing devices into anything from household items to clothing—and even into living matter...

Photo: Maggie Johnson,
Director of Education
and University Relations
Google
The Internet of Things has evolved over many decades as wearables, RFID, BYOD, wireless devices, and more have increased in both number and usage. How do you define the IoT today?
At Google, we define the IoT as a network of everyday items with embedded computers that can connect directly or indirectly to the Internet. The number of devices connecting to the Internet is likely to grow exponentially over the next ten years...  


Photo:Bob Nilsson,
Director of Solutions
Marketing Extreme Networks
The Internet of Things has evolved over many decades as wearables, RFID, BYOD, wireless devices, and more have increased in both number and usage. How do you define the IoT today?
The phrase Internet of Things (IoT) generally refers to machine-to-machine (M2M) communications involving network-based remote sensors and actuators. Wireless sensors generate data (often "big data"), which can be stored and analyzed either on site or in the cloud. The range of smart IoT devices found in schools today includes e-books and tablets; sensors in hallways, entrances, classroom spaces, and campus vehicles; all sorts of fitness bands and wearables; virtual and augmented reality headsets; robots; video sensors; and smart displays, lights, and locks. Data from these devices can be used for simple tracking (e.g., campus shuttles, student attendance, and supplies) or for more complex monitoring (e.g., to understand student learning patterns as students progress through e-books and adaptive learning systems). Data can also be used for control. For example, the IoT provides the means to finely tune HVAC systems to keep all rooms throughout the campus optimally comfortable at minimum expense. Airflow, air quality, temperature, humidity, and lighting can be constantly optimized in every space that can conceivably be used for learning. Finally, flexible displays provide the important benefit of easily presenting data and status information on classroom screens or personal devices like smartphones and laptops...  

Photo:Chalapathy Neti,
 Vice President, Education
Innovation, IBM
The Internet of Things has evolved over many decades as wearables, RFID, BYOD, wireless devices, and more have increased in both number and usage. How do you define the IoT today?
The IoT is changing everything—from the way we drive, make purchases, and obtain medical treatment, to how we get energy for our homes. Data is emanating from everywhere. IDC predicts that by 2020, there will be close to 30 billion connected devices.1 Today we define the IoT not only by its ability to connect devices (vehicles, buildings, wearables, and more) to a digital network, but also by its ability to directly integrate the physical world into computer-based systems. It is how people interact with this network of things that has become most interesting as the IoT has evolved...

Photo: TJ Costello,
Director IoT
Cisco U.S. Public Sector
What are the most exciting academic and administrative benefits enabled by the IoT for higher education?   
The IoT opens a range of possibilities and benefits for faculty, staff, and students. With the IoT, students are able to attend any class, at any time, from any device—providing them with greater flexibility to consume content and knowledge when and where they'd like. The IoT removes the traditional barriers to teaching and learning, providing faculty with the same flexibility to provide better learning experiences for students and allowing them to connect with experts from around the world and create robust, hybrid learning environments. The IoT also benefits administrators by helping to connect everything on campus everywhere through one secure, unified network to manage campus lighting, parking, HVAC systems, and cameras and to provide valuable data and analytics on traffic patterns, usage, and areas of resource optimization.
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Related link
Photo: John O'Brien
"For the Internet of Things to add value to the world of higher education, unprecedented collaboration between all those involved will be crucial."
The Internet of Things: Unprecedented Collaboration Required by John O'Brien, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE.
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Source: EDUCAUSE Review


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