Connected on campus: how IoT is changing college life

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Although the Internet of Things (IoT) is widely expected to reshape the way business is done across several sectors of the economy, colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to benefit from this new technology. Students are going to college with an average of seven unique connected devices, according to re:fuel's most recent College Explorer Study. To keep up with today’s emerging tech savvy generation, more and more universities are evolving from their traditional methods of learning to a more collaborative and connected environment.

Through the adoption of technologies like virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), there are many ways that (IoT) technology is streamlining and revamping the overall college experience – not only for students, but faculty and visitors as well.

Embracing adaptive learning

Students are increasingly moving away from books and notepads, and into a world of tablets, mobile phones, and online textbooks and learning tools that grant them access to essential data, with information just a tap away. This movement arms students with the power to learn at their own pace, resulting in an educational value we’ve come to know and expect in the traditional classroom setting.

This concept of remote, online learning has driven the development of various video conferencing and interactive communications platforms that make it possible for a student in China to join an American classroom. Some companies also use AI technology to collect and send data on each student to instructors for easy and accurate customization of lesson plans.

Integrating mixed reality

Augmented reality (AR) and VR are slowly gaining traction in the education space, replacing traditional lesson plans with a more immersive approach to learning. While many initiatives are still in the early stages, we are already beginning to see applications that offer students 360-degree virtual field trips to museums, as well as 3D digital reconstructions of archeological ruins. The future of AR and VR in education offers students the opportunity to explore a world of subjects in a way that has never been done before.

Monitoring resources and cutting costs

Technology is typically viewed as an expense across the board, but new technology can actually help campuses cut costs and save time and resources. According to Capterra, “an average school spends an average of $30,000 to $50,000 per year on paper,” but reusable technology, such as tablet rentals, would substantially reduce (if not eliminate) that cost. In addition, tracking devices and sensors can be used for monitoring specific machinery and equipment on and off the campus, resulting in increased operational efficiency and reduced costs.

Improving physical safety

Whether you’re a faculty member, teacher, parent or student, safety on and around campus is a top priority. In response to recent headline-grabbing incidents at schools across the country, campuses have taken a considerable amount of steps to boost security procedures and ensure the safety of their students.

In addition to alarm systems, fire detection and access control cards, intelligent video systems can help identify and deter campus threats. These systems monitor dozens of cameras at once and identify potential crime and safety concerns – physical assault, firearms, break-ins, etc. – by converting video footage into valuable data, and alerting security personnel in a timely fashion. Students can also turn to personal alert devices, safety apps and wearable trackers to stay safe on campus.

With the technological advances and solutions we are already seeing in our world today, there is no doubt that the future of education will continue to evolve and progress as new generations of students grow up in the hyper-connected age.

Colleges should continue to explore and adapt to the ever-changing world of technology to provide proper guidance and resources to our future generations – thus, preparing them for not only a globalized, but a connected world.

Learn more about how Verizon is leveraging technology to improve the higher education experience.

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