Page 18 - Campus Technology, August/September 2017
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Coordinating IT and Facilities
As campus executives start to develop their IoT strategies, it is not just CIOs who have to be involved. Sometimes, facilities groups have their own IT executives working on data pipelines from IoT devices. Chuck Benson, assistant director for IT in Facilities Services at the University of Washington, chairs a campuswide IoT risk mitigation task force.
Energy management is a great example of where IoT is having an impact, Benson said. With help from a federal grant, UW has made an effort to meter much of the campus. There are about 2,000 data points where power and building controls are sampled. “I work with our energy conservation managers making sure all the samples are coming through,” he said. Data flows into an aggregation point and from there to consumption for reports, dashboards or ongoing research. “We do a lot of work in building that data pipeline, and there are challenges all along the way that involve different groups on campus,” Benson explained. If a meter goes offline, initially you don’t know why — or who is responsible. Did the device or routing have a problem, or is there a problem with the configuration somewhere in the data pipeline? “We have a team made up of the energy conservation manager, electrical engineer for power, our mechanical engineer for HVAC, a vendor and a subcontractor who helps us support this,” he said.
Benson is interested in the organizational challenges to make sure responsibilities don’t fall through the gaps. For example, in a new facility being built at UW, there are IoT systems for environmental control monitoring, HVAC and lighting controls. Planning and budgeting, capital development and facilities management are involved. Central IT provides the backbone, local IT helps facilitate implementation and countless vendors are involved, so that creates gaps through which accountability and ownership can fall, he said. “That is one of the things that makes this different from traditional enterprise systems — [IoT spans] so many different organizations, it makes it a different animal, and these are groups that are not used to working together in this way. That is one of the biggest challenges higher education institutions face. If this is going to be successfully implemented, there has to be oversight and coordination — not that it is going to be easy. But to have all these groups operating independently is not going to work.”
Wishon agrees that IoT could ultimately change the role of the CIO and require much closer working relationships with many different departments on campus — residence halls, facilities, retail operations, parking, transportation and public safety. “This has allowed us to establish much closer relationships with each one of those organizations on campus,” he said. “We are working with each one of them to help them understand the potential benefits as well as
When the nonprofit organization Internet2 created a Chief Innovation Office in March 2015, it surveyed members asking which key areas they wanted to work on. The three top choices were Internet of Things, end-to-end trust and security, and distributed big data and analytics, so working groups were established around each topic. “Interestingly, two of those working groups — IoT and distributed big data — chose the smart campus as one of their focus areas,” said Florence Hudson, senior vice president and chief innovation officer
at Internet2. “And when you think of the smart campus, it is the culmination of all three working groups: IoT devices create distributed big data you have to do analytics on, with end- to-end trust and security. Looking at that, our CEO at the
time, Dave Lambert, suggested we create a Smart Campus CIO Advisory Council. I reached out to 10 CIOs and they all joined.” (Both Arizona State University’s Gordon Wishon and University of Washington’s Chuck Benson are members of the advisory council.)
Hudson said CIOs are figuring out who on campus needs to be involved in IoT. She described a recent summit meeting on IoT in which CIOs were asked to bring with them the one person they are working most closely with on IoT issues. “One guy brought his provost,” she said. “A few people brought their chief facilities officers. Some people brought manufacturing/engineering professors who run IoT labs. Some brought their CISOs. What you see is that it takes a village. I like to say ‘IT plus OT equals IoT — Information Technology plus Operational Technology equals the Internet of Things.’ Different players need to come together
to deploy these solutions. A lot more people are asking questions about it now, and that is good because we can get all these brilliant people in the academy to work on it together.”
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | August/September 2017

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