By Dr. Ralf Steinmetz
Today there are more than 9 billion connected devices such as, smartphones, sensors and more around the world. That number is expected to grow to between 50 billion and a trillion within the next decade.
These connected devices are at the heart of the Internet of Things and contribute volumes to our society’s growing mountain of Big Data, which provide insights to everything from biometrics to energy consumption, and trends to preferences.
This increasingly unprecedented amount of data is driving dramatic changes across industries and requires a new level of power to process and analyze it all: the cloud.
For more than 125 years, the Technische Universitat Darmstadt, one of Germany’s premiere research universities, has been focused on helping our students solve challenges that address the urgent issues of the future. Our job is to not only to prepare our students for the job opportunities that exist today, but the ones that will become increasingly important as students grow into their careers over the years to come.
Technology is central to our mission and curriculum, and we are pleased to partner with companies and other research institutions in preparing our students with the skills needed to thrive in emerging sectors and disciplines. Through these partnerships, we are able to not only work on emerging challenges and opportunities, but ground them in practical, transferrable skills.
One such partnership is our work with IBM to build workshops and labs around Internet of Things and cloud development for our Masters curriculum. Students in these programs learn how to interact with sensors and how to use analytics to capture and work with data in real-time. To run these apps, they use modern, cloud-based development tools, such as IBM Bluemix, for creation and implementation of these applications.
In our current student projects we focus on the smart building scenario and using things like smart meters, camera, noise and vibration sensors, wireless sensor networks and smart phones.
- Build an application that notifies users when a washing machine has finished its cycle by using microphone and vibration sensors
- Design and implement an application that uses multiple sensors embedded in modern smart phones, such as real-time location information
- Build an application to monitor and respond to human activity around the home (waking up, leaving the house, etc) using wireless sensor networks
By helping students to develop these skills around cloud, analytics and physical sensors we are preparing them for an emerging set of job opportunities, which will only become more significant in the years ahead.