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What’s Stopping Education IoT?

By Tom Ruff
February 15th, 2017

College and University campuses could greatly benefit from the Internet of Things, so why is adoption in higher ed lagging?

The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices is on a steady rise. Analysts predict that from now through 2020, the number of connected “things” will grow from 13.5 billion units to 38.5 billion units, a growth of over 285 percent.

While many people think of consumer devices, like smart TVs and thermostats, as making up the bulk of IoT devices, their role in education should not be overlooked. More and more, everything on a campus is connected to the Internet. And, just as IoT connected devices are improving consumers’ lives, enterprises’ business and public sector organizations’ services, IoT could benefit the entire education ecosystem in numerous ways.

How College and University Campuses could Benefit from IoT

Online classes, text books and student portals not only make learning easier for students, but they make teaching more efficient for the institutions. Further, the data from all of these connected devices, particularly from wearables, can be used to further increase efficiency, save money and make campuses safer for students.

Educational institutions have been slow to adopt IoT so far, but that will change in 2017 as most industry experts expect wearables and mobile devices to become more prevalent in the classroom. From virtual and augmented reality gear to life-logging and brain sensing technology, the progress wearables have made in enterprises over the last several years have created an opening for the classroom. However, two particular roadblocks still remain.

Slow IPv6 Adoption

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is basically the newest version of the identification, location and routing system for everything on the Internet. It is replacing IPv4, which is close to running out of Internet addresses. The more modern IPv6 is also technically better than its predecessor, having been designed with greater consideration for mobility and security, both at the heart of IoT. Without the extensive global adoption and successful deployment of IPv6 as the primary version of the Internet Protocol, IoT won’t be possible. There simply are not enough addresses left to support all of the connected devices.

Luckily, recent reports have found consistent increases in IPv6 adoption, a trend that appears to be accelerating. In fact, in July 2016, the major U.S. mobile networks passed a significant milestone, reaching IPv6 adoption levels of greater than 50 percent. At the same time, Comcast Cable announced that 50 percent of its traffic would be on IPv6 by the end of 2016. In addition, Akamai’s U.S. federal government customers, who represent 85 percent of the Internet traffic in and out of the government, leverage IPv6 55 percent of the time and the number continues to grow faster than the commercial market. This increased IPv6 adoption will clear the way for increased IoT adoption in educational institutions in 2017.

(Next page: Lagging higher ed IoT due to security vulnerabilities)


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About the Author:

Jeff Festa

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