- The Internet of Things has helped schools like Penn State control costs with remote monitoring and control of electricity, plumbing, air conditioning and more, according to Kelly Walsh, CIO at The College of Westchester in New York, writing for University Business. For Walsh, there are both benefits and downsides to IoT's growing presence on campus.
- Providing examples of IoT on campus, Walsh said students at schools like SUNY Binghamton have enjoyed the benefits of smart laundry machines that update their availability online. Those at Rochester Institute of Technology is experimenting with "Smart Suites" that use smart-phone-controlled door locks.
- Still, a number of security and privacy questions have come into play with so many devices being connected to the school's network, as one institution has seen its connected vending machines infected with malware that quickly spread and locked engineers out of thousands of systems. Concerns also remain regarding devices that constantly watch and listen.
Beyond security and privacy threats, higher ed CIOs have also had to consider IoT's demands on bandwidth capacity. The number of devices a student might bring to campus can include everything from a personal computer, smartphone and tablet to smart TVs, smart watches and gaming consoles.
As Drury University Executive Vice President, COO and CIO David Hinson told us last year, streaming services like Hulu and Netflix can gobble up to 40% of bandwidth over a 24-hour period.
Additionally, the now-connected nature of campus utility systems, vending machines and other systems can present additional targets for malicious actors or pranksters who might hack them to wreak havoc campus-wide. Figuring out how to better secure these systems and their data will present an additional challenge to already full plates in campus IT offices.
Part of the solution may be separating out network traffic, so mission critical devices and applications are on a different network than vending machines, for example.