Even through 2016 technology trends are creeping out of the woodwork, Joel Dolisy says colleges have been applying two major trends for years – Cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Cloud computing is here right now,” says Dolisy, CIO and CTO of SolarWinds. “It’s not a future thing…kids are using the Cloud in K-12 to higher ed. They all rely on Cloud computing, whether it’s for file-sharing, storing, application delivery, etc. It provides them a much easier way to give students and teachers the tools they need to support their courses.”
Because Cloud computing is heavily used in higher education already, Dolisy says that it serves as a “basic building block” for other applications, including IoT.
The Cloud also supports devices that are embedded in IoT, and all of the varying structures those devices are connected to.
“The Cloud has enabled the use of IoT,” Dolisy says. “Because with IoT, you have a bunch of devices spread around, but they need to communicate with something. They need to communicate with a network, and that network needs to have end points that are located somewhere. The Cloud has enabled endpoints that are listening for those devices and there are sensors spread around the globe, everywhere.”
Because usage of the Cloud and IoT are expected to grow this year, the costs of implementing solutions to support these trends are becoming more economical.
That means colleges are able to better afford these solutions and keep up with competing institutions.
One way colleges can implement these trends and keep up is by identifying which category they fit into: early adopter or follower.
Dolisy says being placed in either column is fine, and will help schools keep up with the technology-times.
“You’ve got the early adopters, who will start looking at some of those new, enabling technologies as a game changer to allow them to increase the rate of success of their students,” he says. “Other colleges will start looking at what those leaders are doing, and then they will replicate them as they see the results coming. I think as you see the adopters putting in place those systems, taking advantage of the technology of the Cloud, of IoT, you’ll see a lot of those followers taking notice of that and follow.”
On top of identifying which category they fall into, Dolisy says colleges will have the most success with these trends in 2016 if they have an open mind towards using new technologies in general.
Being open means that colleges will have a good grasp of how their networks function and the strength of their network security.
“I think most of them are at some level aware of the security and deal with hundreds or thousands of devices on their networks,” Dolisy says. “They need to have a handle on security no matter what, but they also need to keep expanding that and start sharing files; for instance, for students or teachers [who use] the Cloud, they need to make sure they understand access control, who’s supposed to access what, when, etc.”