The Internet of Things: When everything is connected

Have you heard of the Internet of Things? If not, you’re about to.

The Internet of Things is the network of everyday items—from mobile devices to appliances to security systems—that are able to receive and transmit information. It has serious hype in the IT world and beyond. Financial Aid offices, and higher ed in general, need to take notice.

Think about all the “smart” devices in your home. Your phones? Your wearable devices like fitness trackers? Your security system?  Maybe you have mobile trackers on your keys or light switches you can operate from afar via a mobile app.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the huge deluge of connected devices constantly coming into use. 5.5 million new things connect to the Internet each day. 6.4 billion connected things will be used worldwide in 2016. That’s up 30 per cent from 2015.

Think about the possibilities of a mega-connected world. That’s the power of the Internet of Things.

Coming To A Campus Near You

The Internet of Things may develop faster at college campuses than many other places, since students tend to be early adopters of technology. Already, the average college student brings seven Internet-connected devices (smartphones, notebooks, tablets, gaming consoles, Fitbits, etc.) to campus with them.

College administration is adding their own technologies to the mix: think of smart security systems and building features like remotely controlled thermostats, just to start.

What Does It All Mean?

On-campus possibilities are endless. Some ideas that have been floated include smart parking systems that would alert users to free nearby spaces, an app that could let students know when a washing machine is done its cycle in the residence laundry room, or mobile alerts on the status of laboratory experiments.

The Internet of Things holds amazing possibilities but it’s going to take some on-campus prep.

Experts recommend colleges prepare for the impending influx of data by training staff to deal with these new technologies, moving on-premise storage to cloud-based service, and using the expertise of technology partners to explore best options.

The Internet of Things is rapidly progressing and it’s best to get on board now. Because what’s next? A Cisco white paper predicts the Internet of Things will soon evolve into the Internet of Everything, a world where the line between physical devices and data blurs, where everything is connected.

Read more about our ever-increasing use of mobile devices >

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