The University of Kentucky introduced Wi-Fi on campus about 20 years ago, when few students had personal computers, according to CTO Doyle Friskney. “We started in what we would consider study areas like libraries or student labs on campus, and noticed that students as well as faculty quickly migrated to those areas where there was wireless,” he said.

Over the years, the school grew from several hundred wireless access points to more than 9,000 on campus today–a necessity, as more than 98% of students own a computer, and 93% own a smartphone or tablet, Friskney said.

“When you consider that wireless smartphone has a transparent network access with the cellular networks, we have truly created the environment where students can access anything, anywhere, at any time,” Friskney said. “But what’s really interesting right now is the cellular networks are improving.”

In the coming few years, 5G and other technologies will allow the university to take advantage of emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and wearables, Friskney said. This will be especially important for the hospital located on campus, as developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow doctors and students to better monitor and care for patients.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Friskney said.