How to prepare for everything

The Internet of Everything offers IT the opportunity to bend the cost curve, increase efficiency, and improve student outcomes. Laying the right foundation is key, though

internet-everything-ITThese days, higher ed IT leaders must feel a lot like Sisyphus, the poor soul sentenced to push a boulder uphill for all eternity. First, they scrambled to meet the bandwidth and security needs of BYOD on campus. No sooner had they wrapped their heads around that than they had to confront the challenge of the Internet of Things (IoT)—computers, phones, facilities sensors, cameras—all dependent on IT’s systems.

And now it appears that the stakes have been raised again. Welcome to the Internet of Everything (IoE). That’s right—everything.

IoE is seen as a logical outgrowth of IoT. “Although much of the spotlight today is on the Internet of Things, the true power and benefit of the internet comes from combining things with people, places, and information systems,” explained Hung LeHong, a vice president and Gartner Fellow at Gartner Research, at an exposition in Dubai in April. “This expanded and comprehensive view of the internet is what Gartner calls the Internet of Everything.”

It’s a view shared by networking giant Cisco. “I think of the Internet of Things as devices, sensors, cameras—anything that can be connected to the internet,” said Renee Patton, US Public Sector Director of Education for Cisco. “The Internet of Everything is the integration of people, process, data, and things to make these things intelligent.”

If this sounds almost like a definition of Big Data, you’re not far wrong. In fact, a lot of confusion swirls around what the “Internet of Everything” actually means, with some industry watchers even using the terms IoT and IoE interchangeably. To get a handle on the concept, it’s helpful to understand that IoE is not a tsunami set to crash on the shores of higher ed the way tablets and smartphones did. In fact, it’s already here.

(Next page: Examples of IoE on campus; best practices)