We have all heard about smart cities where parking decks inform drivers of vacant spots even before the drivers reach them, trains that tell riders how far they are from the platform, and several other services that use the internet of things and artificial intelligence technologies to improve everyday life.
As these technologies began to mature and the human population became ever-connected with smartphones, smart infrastructure started to move into more defined spaces, like airports, hotels, amusement parks, and now, higher education campuses.
Smart higher education
The advent of these technologies within higher education campuses is particularly important to note. Not only are these making everyday lives of students safer, more productive, more predictable, and less wasteful of time and resources, but they are also making it easier for campus administrations to manage these growing campuses with a clear line of sight to returns on their investments.
Let’s look at this a bit more closely.
Several higher education campuses have already deployed the infrastructure that generates context-sensitive, real-time data that allows for a wide range of services for the students (e.g., smart scheduling, health and safety, curated local events, booking available space at the gym or meeting rooms, etc.) as well as for administrators (e.g., utilization rate of gym infrastructure, safety hot spots, etc.). All such use cases directly tie back to student well-being, student performance, and increased capital returns. And in the end, they start bending even more important metrics like student dropout rates.
The momentum around smart higher education campuses is clearly picking up. At a recent congressional caucus that included Arizona State University, Rice University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and others, the discussion highlighted the benefits of smart campuses tied to “enhancing student learning and quality of life, lowering operation costs, greater security and safety, and environmental sustainability. These digitally connected campuses are benefiting not only the students and faculty but also their surrounding community.” This is no small recognition.
“Transforming the campus to leverage these smart technologies to improve everyday life on campus is a journey,” says Sabina Saksena, founder and CEO of Cytilife, the leading smart campus platform deployed at several prestigious higher education campuses. “It is about connecting individuals (students, administrators) to physical and informational infrastructure (gym machines, campus shuttles) on a real time basis to offer services that are transformative, almost magical. The data allows us to offer predictive services where the user gets to know even before asking.”
This is the new world of living within an environment that learns about you, adapts to your needs, and helps you stay one step ahead of yourself. It sees around the corners to keep you safe. It serves you with insights that make the moment better and the waste of time steadily disappear. And all that while ensuring you remain in control of your identity and data, and how you wish to be served.
The benefits are significant and far-reaching, from improved mental health to reduced dropout rates, from higher return on investment to better all-around performance. Students have already tasted the power of this movement, from visiting Disney parks to studying at early adopter higher education schools, and that grassroots movement is propelling the growing interest among institutions.
Smart campuses are here. Are you there too?