The Internet of Things (IoT) implies the increasing people-people, people-devices, and devices-devices interconnectedness that is facilitated by the Internet (Gubbi, Buyya, Marusic, & Palaniswami, 2013).
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According to Jing, Vasilakos, Wan, and Qiu (2014), while IoT is an emerging issue, it is going to have a major impact on how people and devices access, share and act on information. As revealed in this study, an example of how IoT is applicable or evident on a personal level is the learning environment as represented in the diagram below:
How the Cloud Enables the Devices to Communicate and Work Together
Three major components, namely, device, gateway, and cloud computing, facilitate the effectiveness of the Internet of Things (Jing et al., 2014). Devices refer to the hardware and software that enable any interaction with the world. The gateway is the communication channel between the devices and the data centers.
Cloud computing provides a platform for storing and sharing data and information remotely from where an individual, a group of individuals, or devices can access it (Gubbi et al., 2013). In the Internet of Things scenario presented in the diagram above, cloud computing is already a very critical part of the system.
For instance, it plays the role of supporting the streaming of media. In this case, the campus canvas server obtains content for streaming from the cloud, thus allowing students or faculty members to access entertainment, as well as instructional contents.
Additionally, cloud here is a central tenet of database and web services and student access. Learners can access their details and other relevant information regarding their studies and faculties, whether on or off-campus. However, the potential of the cloud is not yet fully utilized. For instance, it can be used to pave the way for remote access to examination and tests, a situation that can enable distance learning around the country, as well as globally.
Hardware and Software Needs
Universities are grappling with ever-increasing demands for more bandwidth due to the amplified number of devices that are connected to the institutions’ Wi-Fi (Jing et al., 2014). Consequently, to participate in the IoT, the college must invest in higher bandwidth and related hardware to support the growing number of connections. Another major area of consideration is security.
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Gubbi et al. (2013) assert that IoT leads to security risks following increased access to critical technology, infrastructure, and information. Therefore, it is important for the institution to invest more in security infrastructure that can protect the institution.
The other important requirement involves databases that will help to manage the high number of devices that are connected to the universities’ infrastructure. Additionally, to utilize the benefits of IoT, institutions will have to invest in devices with technologies such as sensors to guarantee better integration and access to the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things is already an important part of any college. Already, cloud computing is used to support some of the critical services such as students’ access to services and the streaming of media. The above services form a central part of institutions’ participation in the Internet of Things.
However, they (institutions) should put in place critical infrastructure and software to maximize the advantages of the IoT. Some of the considerations include increasing the bandwidth, putting in place better security measures, and investing more in new devices that can support IoT. These measures will ensure that institutions can participate and benefit from the Internet of Things.
Gubbi, J., Buyya, R., Marusic, S., & Palaniswami, M. (2013). Internet of things (IoT): A vision, architectural elements, and future directions. Future Generation Computer Systems, 29(7), 1645-1660.
Jing, Q., Vasilakos, A. V., Wan, J., Lu, J., & Qiu, D. (2014). Security of the internet of things: Perspectives and challenges. Wireless Networks, 20(8), 2481-2501.