Smart Campuses – Experimental Platforms for Smart Cities

Smart Cities initiatives are gaining popularity in almost every corner of the World – increasing urbanisation and myriad of socio-economic challenges are forcing governments and public sector organisations to leverage Information Communication Technologies (ICT) for conceiving and materialising innovative solutions for socio-economic challenges under a broad umbrella of Smart Cities. Since Smart Cities initiatives present significant socio-technical challenges, Smart Campuses can be leveraged as Test and Experimentation Platforms (TEPs) for devising, deploying, and evaluating theories and applications for Smart City services. That means Smart Campuses can become suitable living labs for solutions that may find their ways for smart city initiatives. For our Smart Cities initiative, we have been working on developing and implementing a few projects related to Smart Campus at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Most of our projects will be conceived and designed in close collaboration with all the key stakeholders (e.g., students, staff, and management) and leveraging our knowledge and expertise in engineering software intensive systems using Internet of Everything (IoEs), Big Data, and Cloud Computing. We have identified some of the potential benefits of building a Smart Campus below. 

The modern day Universities are expected to have all the required elements to build and operate a “mini” smart city. Most of the Universities usually have the infrastructure, knowledge, and expertise that are required for designing and implementing intelligent technological solutions. And a large number of students and staff can be the potential users of the solutions. For example, the availability of the high speed Internet and Wi-Fi across the campus could support and accelerate the process of implementing, deploying, and evaluating the next generation technologies leveraging IoTs, Cloud Computing, and data analytics. Furthermore, hosting highly educated and smart citizens, the universities offer potential participants whom can effectively participate in identifying requirements and evaluating solutions.

Whilst a Smart Campus is expected to increase the experiences of all the students and staff, there are very specific educational and personal development benefits for the International students as they come from diverse backgrounds. Providing them orientation and education through Smart applications in sustainable waste management can be a valuable contribution as they may not have been exposed to the concepts and practices of sustainable Waste management, Water management, and Energy management.

A Smart Campus can also provide the students (and International students in particular) with an enhanced experience of Smart living on a Campus as the International students tend to spend a significant amount of time on Campus. For example, Smart Asset tracking system or Smart management of study facilities. A smart campus can enhance students’ learning experiences by enabling staff to analyze the potential of learning materials in preparing students for a smart city. A Smart campus empowers students and staff to be highly involved in analyzing the problem areas and devising innovative solutions for building and evolving a smart campus.