For most educational institutions, wireless networks are primarily designed to connect students and faculty to the campus network and the internet. But for some universities, Wi-Fi is evolving into a backbone for Internet of Things devices that help to create a connected campus model.
“Colleges have some interest in trying to create a Wi-Fi ecosystem throughout a campus that would help with things like facilities management,” says James Wiley, a principal technology analyst for research advisory firm Eduventures. “If you know through your IoT and Wi-Fi devices that a building’s not being used at a certain time, then you don’t have to keep the lights on in that building.”
Universities Invest in IoT for Campus Facility Management
Some campuses are already implementing IoT to manage facilities and cut waste:
- Arizona State University: Sensors connected to wireless and cellular networks collect data on temperature, humidity, water use and even noise levels on the ASU campus. At Sun Devil football stadium in Tempe, noise meters measure the volume in each cheering section, with the loudest ones displayed on the stadium’s big screen.
- University of Washington: More than 2,000 sensors on UW’s Seattle campus measure power consumption, feeding an advanced metering and analytics network. So far, the university is projecting a return of $5 in energy savings for every dollar invested in the IoT system.
- Pacific Lutheran University: This private school in Tacoma, Washington, employs sensors on its HVAC equipment and door sensors on campus buildings that can count how many students enter and leave each day.