I was recently invited to give a ten minute keynote in trends in the intelligent campus space across higher education.
There has been plenty of hype over artificial intelligence and the internet of things. Is it time to put aside the cynicism that this kind of hype generates and look seriously at how we can take advantage of these emerging technologies to improve the student experience and build an intelligent campus?
I introduced my talk about looking at what was happening (and has been happening) over the past few years in smart and digital campus development.
I briefly spoke about how we now use digital mapping and layers on campus. How a range of technologies are now being used to measure space utilisation. The use of sensors and now connected sensors to provide data on the environmental conditions in spaces across the campus, including lighting, temperature, humidity, CO2 levels and even noise. I talked about smart buildings that take these sensors and start to manage levels in the physical building. I mentioned how timetabling has become digital, though sometimes no more sophisticated than an Excel spreadsheet. I mentioned RFID and Wi-Fi tracking, as well as CCTV and the Internet of Things.
My keynote described these as smart campus initiatives, but the intelligent campus took all this data and then some and did more. By bringing in data from other places, like the VLE, library systems, even EPOS, doing analysis and predictive analytics, could we by analysing when and how rooms are used organisations will be able to make smarter, more effective use of learning spaces and other facilities across campus and to improve curriculum design and delivery. An intelligent campus could also enable organisations to reduce their environmental impact by monitoring and managing energy use in real time, to streamline waste management, to move supplies around site more efficiently… the list of potential benefits goes on.
I then quickly described the potential technical architecture behind the intelligent campus.
Overall it was a brief and quick overview of what is happening in higher education now, but with an eye on a possible future.