With today’s college students arriving on campus with an average of seven Internet of Things (IoT) devices and 8.4 billion connected things forecasted to be in use worldwide by 2017, according to Gartner, Inc., it’s clear that IoT is not only here, it’s here to stay. Campus IT leaders have the challenge of supporting these students – and their devices. In that challenge however, is the opportunity for IT leaders to play a strategic role on campus and rethink the student experience.
As CIOs and IT leaders assess the potential of smart technology and IoT on their campus, there are three factors they should consider.
What is IoT?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the Internet of Things is defined as the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. Gartner reports there are 7 billion connected “things” today, ranging from computers and smart phones to refrigerators and cars. The possibilities of the Internet of Things are nearly boundless at this point. Popular products such as Google’s Nest, Amazon’s Echo, and the Apple Watch are examples of the rise in IoT prevalence. IoT is also already present on college and university campuses. It can be found in keyless dorm entry, laundry machines that text students when their load is complete, dining services that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) to understand traffic flow, printers that connect to any student device on campus, and even in those exact devices students bring with them to campus.
IoT transforms IT beyond just a service
While implementing IoT requires specific technical considerations, it also creates opportunities for IT to play an integral part in how a student engages in and experiences campus life. Apart from the examples of how colleges and universities are using connected and smart equipment, ranging from tools that can be used in the classroom, apps that enhance things like laundry services or dining halls and in campus printing, technology has been elevated as a vehicle for addressing some of the biggest challenges in higher education. Understanding the potential of IoT is key to IT leaders on campus showing how useful connected devices can be to every department on campus.
IoT helps campuses meet students “ideal experience” expectations
In moving past just a service, CIOs can leverage IoT to adapt to the new expectations of students. Technology is no longer something that touches students’ lives tangentially, it has become engrained in their everyday lives. Today’s students are used to having high degree of internet connectivity, accessibility through mobile devices, and experiences both customized to the individual and aimed to simplify their lives. It’s no wonder they arrive on campuses expecting all campus services to act the same. Using IoT, IT leaders can define a new kind of student experience on campus – one that matches students’ expectations of simplicity, customization, reliability, and ease.