- Writing for University Business, Kelly Walsh, CIO at The College of Westchester in New York, explores the benefits and downsides of the internet of things (IoT) as its presence grows on campuses.
- IoT has helped schools like Penn State control costs with remote monitoring and control of electricity, plumbing, air conditioning and more, while students at schools like SUNY Binghamton have enjoyed the benefits of smart laundry machines that update their availability online, and those at Rochester Institute of Technology is experimenting with "Smart Suites" that utilize 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, and concerns remain regarding devices that constantly watch and listen, as well.
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, which University Business points out isn't necessarily a focus for some manufacturers, will present an additional challenge to already full plates in campus IT offices.