Colleges Adapt IT Infrastructure to Expand Internet of Things
Not too long ago, the Internet of Things existed only in our imaginations and was a trend to be monitored as it crept its way into higher education institutions. This is no longer the case. Now, the Internet of Things is already a core part of our professional and personal lives.
If you want to know the weather, you ask Google Home. If you want to monitor your fitness progress, you turn to an app on your phone. If you’re going to send and receive emails on the go, we look at our smartwatches.
Let’s take a look at how colleges are adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate the IoT expansion.
IT Leaders Reinvent Networks for the Internet of Things
Keeping up with the growing demand for WiFi connectivity is a challenge that IT leaders in education are already facing. Students generally bring several devices to the classroom and their on-campus residences, and bandwidth-intensive videos have become core parts of course materials.
The IoT is only increasing this pressure. According to a survey of K-20 IT professionals done by the Center for Digital Education, most institutions will install more access points to expand WiFi capabilities.
To support IoT technology’s emerging use, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock installed Aruba APs in their recreation areas and residence halls. These are the places that students want to use smart assistants and stream music. The access points were also installed in academic areas, where researchers use devices like the HoloLens from Microsoft.
More Connected Devices, More Security Vulnerabilities
More connected devices are representative of a corresponding increase in potential vulnerability points from the perspective of data security. In a recent edtech survey conducted by the Campus Computing Project, 81% of CIOs and senior IT officials on campus in U.S. colleges stated that enhancing and upgrading data and network security is one of their top priorities.
To address concerns specifically related to the Internet of Things, Gartner’s 2017 report suggests closer monitoring, encryption, and using network segmentation to differentiate computers and other systems from IoT devices.
Meeting Storage Needs Through Cloud Solutions
Improving bandwidth speed and quality to handle the increased network traffic and protect data is more than enough to keep IT professionals busy. However, they also have to be diligent about where all of the information that accompanies the IoT expansion will be stored.
Consider that the number of devices that connect consumers is projected to increase by 5 billion in the next few years. This projection does not capture the connected enterprise devices, and several of those systems are creating information almost constantly.
This is one of the many reasons that several institutions are resorting to cloud storage. Being able to scale storage up quickly affords them the flexibility needed to respond to the changes in IoT device use as they happen on every campus without additional hardware.
Adapting college IT infrastructure to expand the IoT is a must, and it is something that all colleges should be striving to do very shortly.