November 8, 2021


Texas A&M’s College of Engineering is recognized as one of the top public engineering colleges. Its reputation for excellence in research and teaching has grown with the graduation of generations of successful Aggie engineers.

The College of Engineering's Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution (ETID) supports this reputation of quality and innovative education. The ETID consists of four distinct undergraduate programs: Electronic Systems Engineering Technology, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology, Industrial Distribution, and Multidisciplinary Engineering Technology (or “Mechatronics”). Each program offers a unique blend of learning, from engineering and business knowledge to methods and research.

Earlier this year, the Division of Information Technology launched an Internet of Things (IoT) pilot network in a handful of buildings on campus, including ETID’s Thompson Hall and Fermer Hall. The TAMU_IoT wireless network lets campus members connect smart devices that wouldn’t connect to TAMU_WiFi in the past, while allowing the university to link each device to the user’s account and ensure the campus network stays safe. 

Introducing IoT to the Classroom.

Bringing an IoT network to the Texas A&M campus is more than an effort to stay relevant. To students in the ETID department, IoT is a game changer.  

Research assistant and former Texas A&M engineering student Jorge Roa is a strong advocate for increasing the use of IoT in the classroom. “Further focus on IoT is essential to students' future in this field. It’s equipping them with more tools in their toolbox.”

The IoT network makes a dramatic difference in ETID’s student capstone projects. By harnessing the functionality of IoT, students can expand their knowledge and usage of technologies they encounter in daily life. An example is the use of autonomous guided vehicles. Without IoT, they can drive around with a routine path, but with IoT they are able to interact in real-time with users’ voice-commands, just like a Google Home or an Echo Dot on wheels. 

The challenge moving forward? Perfecting the deployment of IoT so it can easily be used by students as they innovate. 

Building a Future in IoT.  

Enhancing the strength of our wireless infrastructure to handle this service while maintaining a robust and secure network is the next step in harnessing IoT. 

David Malawey, Technical Laboratory Coordinator for the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Engineering, has played an integral role in the implementation of IoT within the classroom and has a clear vision of what Texas A&M’s next steps should be.

“The perfect IoT service would be just like we have in our pilot, but with an easy way to set up a ‘local network’ or equivalent system, so our devices can talk to each other not only via cloud but also via local WiFi.”

He went on to explain that ETID students will need the ability to set up their own local network inside a classroom or lab space. It is critical that their computers can discover embedded devices (like Raspberry Pi and Arduino) after they connect to the IoT network. If students can’t discover the other devices, they will get half the ordinary capability IoT can provide.

The more students and professors have access to tech tools like IoT, the more they can tackle complex issues and challenges. Collaboration and partnerships with faculty, researchers and colleges make work like this possible. Further development of IoT is already underway, and the Division of IT is committed to bringing even more tools and technology to Texas A&M that drive innovation and growth within the university.