Collaboration will include joint course development and research

The “Internet of Things (IoT),” which refers to the vast interconnected network of devices—from cell phones to factory equipment—provides a treasure trove of data and other information that can greatly improve numerous aspects of society.

To capitalize on IoT as a regional economic driver, Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University have formed a new partnership to expand research and educational opportunities in this emerging technology. Cleveland State President Ronald M. Berkman and Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to formalize the new collaboration.

“This partnership will further the regional effort to make Cleveland a leader in the Internet of Things revolution, expanding the development of new innovations, increasing technology transfer and enhancing economic investment,” Berkman said. “I am proud to join with President Snyder to announce this unique collaboration between our two institutions.”

“We deeply appreciate the Cleveland Foundation’s support of this collaboration,” President Snyder said, “and look forward to advancing discovery and education in ways that create new business and employment opportunities for our region. I thank President Berkman and the entire Cleveland State team for engaging so enthusiastically in this effort.”

The effort builds on an initial $200,000 planning grant from the Cleveland Foundation that enabled CSU and CWRU to assess regional expertise in IoT technology areas and identify gaps to be filled. The grant was part of the Cleveland Foundation’s recently announced “Digital Excellence Initiative,” which invests in efforts that create a more connected community, support digital skills development, improve digital civic engagement, elevate regional digital leadership, and encourage technology innovation for social good.

“Our region’s future depends on how well we are able to mobilize people from all disciplines to help build a thriving digital community,” said Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard. “It’s wonderful to see the progress that is being made through this new collaboration to enhance Cleveland’s standing in computer science and information technology so that our residents and our community can stay relevant and competitive in an increasingly high-tech world.”

The partnership will include new course development, student exchanges, joint research programs and economic development initiatives with third-party partners to support the continued expansion of the Internet of Things and make Cleveland a national hub for research and development.

The university leaders announced the MOU at a regional IoT symposium developed through the Cleveland Foundation grant project. The symposium brought in key leaders—both locally and nationally—to provide short- and long-term views on the future of research and development in the IoT. Speakers represented such organizations as the MetroLab Network, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and multiple Fortune 100 companies.

“With increasing reliance on social-networking systems and the growth in embedded sensors in all manner of machines, the fundamental structures of human contact and communication have begun to include the physical infrastructure around us in ways previously never imagined,” said Nigamanth Sridhar, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at CSU and co-organizer of the symposium. “The vision and uses for this Internet of Things is being shaped as we speak, and CSU, CWRU and the Cleveland region as a whole are now poised to play a major leadership role in this technology revolution.”

“The research and education opportunities in the emerging field of the Internet of Things are vast,” said Kenneth Loparo, the Nord Professor and chair of CWRU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “This symposium will help frame an approach that allows our institutions to capitalize on our individual strengths, leverage our complementary assets and identify critical needs for the future.”