(TNS) — CLEVELAND, Ohio — Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University have received a $1.75 million grant from the Cleveland Foundation to launch the IoT Collaborative - an effort focused on the "internet of things."
The internet of things refers to items connected wirelessly so they can communicate and make data-based decisions. The term also describes devices connected to the web.
Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020, excluding smartphones, tablets, and computers, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The two universities formed the partnership to expand research and educational opportunities in this emerging technology in May 2017.
Last November, a team of faculty and staff at the two institutions received a $100,000 one-year planning grant from the National Science Foundation to determine what the internet of things will mean for small and mid-sized businesses in several Cleveland neighborhoods.
The Cleveland Foundation grant will help the universities attract top academic talent, create research labs on their respective campuses and formally establish the IoT Collaborative organization, according to a joint statement. The grant builds upon a $250,000 planning grant awarded by the foundation in January 2017 as part of its Digital Excellence Initiative.
CSU said the funding is for this year and the collaborative intends to seek additional funding from the foundation in future years.
CSU and CWRU will collaborate on research programs, research assets, cross-registered courses and community engagement.
CSU will leverage its strengths in technology development, social and applied sciences, cybersecurity, and business.
CWRU said the partnership with CSU dovetails with an effort the university launched in March 2016 to create the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems to advance IoT research.
"This work has the potential to be economically transformative if we are able to take a global leadership position on this critical aspect of the IoT revolution while leveraging Cleveland's history as an industrial and manufacturing powerhouse," Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard said in the news release. "We applaud this game-changing collaboration between Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State and we hope our support will help spark additional sources of funding to get this initiative quickly online."
CSU President Ronald Berkman said the partnership already has led to new relationships and early successes.
"It is imperative that we build the research infrastructure, both in terms of talent and a supportive environment, to establish Cleveland at the forefront of this rapidly growing and evolving sector," he said in the release.
The IoT Collaborative will focus primarily on manufacturing, energy and health care, as well as infrastructure initiatives.
"The possibilities for Northeast Ohio are extraordinary, among them enhanced patient care, increased factory efficiency, and improved local infrastructure and services," CWRU President Barbara Snyder said in the release. "Just as important, we also will prepare leaders to seize the opportunities inherent in an increasingly digital economy."
The colleges will seek additional support from federal and state grants, traditional fundraising through alumni and other donors, research agreements and other local and national foundations.
"IoT already has been a tremendous driver for Eaton in areas including energy and lighting, and it will continue to do so moving forward," Michael Regelski, a senior vice president at Eaton said in the release. "The Cleveland IoT Collaborative will allow other companies and the nonprofit sector to quickly adapt and embrace this burgeoning technology - and to seize the opportunities that result."
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