In future the network will be the building
Integration and convergence is now going beyond IP (internet protocol) telephony with the concept of the ‘connected real estate’ that Cisco has developed. Cisco Connected Real Estate (CCRE) involves all aspects of building management control right down to lights in individual rooms being controlled automatically across the network. It’s like the building management system has come of age by becoming ubiquitous, digital, and network based.
Big Brother will be watching you
New wireless devices such as CCTV cameras are becoming available that impact how we manage our spaces – especially those for open access student learning. Wireless CCTV cameras that also have 2 way sound facility can be located anywhere and easily moved. They provide a way of monitoring activity and sending voice to control and advise students remotely. Students can also use these devices by asking for help, support and direct questions without having to go to a desk and leave the place of study. The promise of these devices is a much more flexible approach to support and security.
Whatever it is, wherever it is you’ll be able to track it
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is starting to be used widely in business for tasks such as inventory control. In the Saltire Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, and other libraries, it is being used for identification of resources such as books and laptops. It is an improvement on the old magnetic strip ID as it is more sensitive and more reliable. There are two types, active and passive:
- Active tags have an internal power source which enables a ‘conversation’ between the tag and the reader; this means that they are more accurate and can be used over greater distances than passive tags.
- Passive tags do not require an internal power source due to the minute electric current that is part of the incoming wave having enough power for the circuit to power up and transmit a response. Passive tags are lighter and cheaper than active tags.
The next stage for RFID gets personal when we use it in student ID tags or student cards. Active RFID in student cards will record their use of facilities and space preferences and can link individuals to use of specific resources. There is a potential problem that it might generate so much data that we never find time to make sense of it but at the macro level it could give very informative usage data that shapes provision continuously over time.
The chattering classes
There is a great deal of work going on to find better ways to control computers and other devices. Whilst it is possible to control some applications on some machines by voice to a certain extent at the moment this is likely to become a dominant way of interacting with a computer. If total voice control does become a reality it has considerable implications for the layout, organisation and soundscape of your space.