INDi will hold a conference from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 19 at the Ball State University Fishers Center, 12175 Visionary Way, Fishers, IN
Seven Ball State professors and staff started a new institute to focus on the development and collaboration of smart devices, specifically what has commonly been referred to as "the Internet of Things."
David Hua and Ronald Kovac started the Intelligent Network Devices Institute, or INDi, last year at Ball State. INDi’s mission is to promote the responsible development of smart objects and their interactions with mankind in the Internet of Things.
Simply put, the Internet of Things focuses on turning normal objects into smart devices.
Kovac said he thinks the Internet of Things could take off much like the Internet did.
He and Hua saw the magnitude the Internet of Things was going to hit and decided to try to capture it and create projects and research to be able to come in with more control than when the Internet did.
“There was a time when the Internet was just starting to grow, nobody knew what it was going into. We know what the Internet did," Kovac said. "Now, the Internet of Things is going to take and twist that whole thing, and we would like to do it in a more controlled fashion.”
Many companies, such as IBM and Cisco, use the Internet of Things to collect data on large scale operations and businesses. This data is then collected and analyzed to increase efficiency, get products faster and adapt to regulatory requirements.
Other companies, like Fitbit, have found success in using the Internet of Things to market to individuals.
Fitbit makes devices that record, analyze and display users' exercise activity. The data collected can then be used to create plans to help people meet their fitness goals. Since its founding in 2007, Fitbit has sold more than 21 million devices.
Graduate assistant and INDi member Dominic McClung said connecting home appliances can transform the home experience.
“So someone could come home, have a lock door that’s smart and can open through a smart phone," McClung said. "The smart lock would automatically signal the smart thermostat to set to an optimal temperature, then the smart lights would turn on the lights and tell an appliance such as a Roomba vacuum to go back to its docking station.”
To better practice and demonstrate the benefits of smart devices in a home setting, INDi is attempting to secure a Ball State apartment they could use as a demo. This demo home would be equipped with Internet of Things devices to show how they work and why they are beneficial.
In order to fund the demo’s device purchases, INDi received a $10,000 grant from Cisco and $5,000 from the university.
Ball State and INDi have also collaborated to offer a 3-credit-hour course on the Internet of Things. This class is the first of its kind at Ball State, and McClung said it's one of the first of its kind in Indiana.