IoT hits college campuses

Writing for EdTech Magazine, Tommy Peterson reports that students attending the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts will soon be able to use their smartphones to check whether washers are free in their dormitory laundry room.

As Ellen Keohane, the director of IT services at Holy Cross confrms, the campus is one of many where apps based on the Internet of Things (IoT) — are moving beyond their established role in facilities management and into classrooms, laboratories and student life.

“It’s interesting to think about the convergence of several trends, particularly the cloud and mobile app ­development, which are related,” Keohane explains. “We have an increasing variety of mobile devices with access to cloud-based information services. The possibilities seem endless.”

Eric Matson, associate professor and director of the Robotic Innovation, Commercialization and Education Research Center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, expressed similar sentiments.

Indeed, students already access the IoT through their smartphones, says Matson, and they expect their available network of connections to grow. Although the IoT promises to make enterprises more efficient, Matson emphasizes that bandwidth, security issues and the adoption of ­standards for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication must be ­addressed as the space grows.

“If we want to set high-level policy and let machines make lower-level decisions, we need to understand the machines, the network and the ­implications of the policies we make.”

Meanwhile, Sanjay Sarma, professor of mechanical engineering and ­director of digital learning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says he believes security will improve as the IoT expands.

“It’s not as though the world is secure now. As more devices are connected, we’re going to be forced to recognize our vulnerabilities,” he adds.

The full text of “IoT Goes to College” by Tommy Peterson can be read on EdTech Magazine here.

Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can check out Atmel’s recent IoT SoMa panel on the subject here, Patrick Sullivan’s EELive! 2014 presentation here and our extensive Bits & Pieces IoT article archive here.

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