This Week in LIS - 11 October 2013

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Headline of the Week: Networking Possibilities…

Thursday evening Subroto Bagchi gave a talk sponsored by the Economics and Business Department and hosted by Tim Schweitzer, entitled "Leading with Integrity in the Global Information Age." He targeted his talk to students and future leaders, and addressed three topics:  integrity, globalization and leadership.

He credited the Internet and the World Wide Web as essential for the globalization we are experiencing.  He also identified the “Internet of Things” (IoT) as an enabler for exciting new possibilities.  A particular example was micro lending to women in Bangladesh enabling the proliferation of cell phones and their use in creating businesses.  The businesses created with these loans offer the possibility for Bangladesh to break out of a cycle of poverty.

We observe the IoT at Luther College. Examples range from HVAC equipment monitoring to the wind turbine. Yesterday Bob Erickson and I were discussing the value that would accrue to quality of service and management by completing the connection of key components of our classroom technology, specifically some of our newer projectors, to the Internet so they could be monitored. Historically they are stand-alone devices and we work with them in the classroom. When they are on the network we can get information about their state of operation. Network capability will come to more and more of our classroom equipment as well as other equipment beyond the classroom.  We need to be ready to handle more and more devices connected to our network.

As we looked forward together and we imagined more and more things attaching to our network we acknowledged that video will be a larger contributor to network traffic. Bob spoke of new architectures that bridge/switch video streams beyond the confines of a classroom.  With more and more video traffic we imagined our networking needs for the wireless and wired portions of the network, the backbone on campus, the nature of the “pipe” we will need to the Internet beyond Luther College. We enjoy rich community on our residential campus.  It is the Internet pipe that enables us to connect to the broader world outside of our campus.  Both the IoT and the increasing volume of video will be key drivers of our network infrastructure needs. The growing dependence on our network will lead to further conversations about business continuity.

The implementation of the Decorah Metronet is progressing. It is on the verge of getting its first revenue and enabling substantially higher speed Internet connections for the collaborating partners. Further, we anticipate it has a role in enabling possibilities for further business continuity.  

It is interesting to see the range of influences that networking can have in the world and at Luther College.  Bagchi spoke of micro lending and cell phone enabled businesses.  Bob speaks of new classes of “things” such as classroom technology connecting to the network.  The growth in video streams enables new modes of communication and reaching well beyond campus.  It is fair to say that regardless of what new strategic planning might bring, the networking infrastructure will be a key enabler on which our dependence will grow.

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

LIS Guide to Subroto Bagchi

Internet of Things


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This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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