Nick Barendt has been named executive director of Case Western Reserve University’s Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems (ISSACS).

ISSACS was created in 2016 to empower faculty, students and partners to conduct research and catalyze breakthroughs in the emerging economy known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT). The institute leverages the university’s strengths in basic science and engineering, and has evolved to include other disciplines as well, ranging from health-oriented fields to business, the humanities and social sciences.

Barendt has been the lead consultant for the new Internet of Things Collaborative (IOTC) and an adjunct senior instructor at Case Western Reserve University’s Case School of Engineering.

The IOTC is led by Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State University, with generous support and leadership from the Cleveland Foundation.

IoT is the network of physical devices that contain embedded technology to communicate and interact over the internet. That includes factory automation, technology that monitors agricultural production, devices that remotely monitor patients and systems that monitor infrastructure for transportation and utilities.

Barendt, president and founder of an IoT consulting and product-development firm, is an adjunct senior instructor in the engineering school’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where he also earned undergraduate and graduate degrees. His appointment was effective April 9.

“Nick’s experience in the IoT space and his familiarity with both Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State made him the ideal candidate to take this institute to the next level,” said Suzanne Rivera, CWRU’s vice president for research and technology management. “We know that working together across academic disciplines, we can harness the power of IoT to solve society’s most vexing problems. Nick is going to help us do just that.”

Barendt will play a lead role in strategic planning, attracting funding, operations and public relations for ISSACS. He will work closely with Rivera, Ken Loparo, the Nord Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and academic director of ISSACS, and other constituents to serve the institute’s mission and ensure long-term sustainability.

“Technology will be crucial for IoT but can only be part of the solution,” Barendt said. “ISSACS’ ‘Tech Plus’ strategy, bringing faculty and students from all of CWRU’s schools together to collaborate on complex problems, will be critical in building a world-class institute and is truly exciting.  Working with our partners in the IOTC to help lead a regional economic transformation is just as exciting and mission-critical.”