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Billions of sensors power expert's vision

WICHITA, Kansas--A professor at Wichita State University (WSU) plans to create a university center with an ambitious name: The Center for the Internet of Everything.

Step one: Plant a small garden on campus where plants will message irrigation pipes telling how much water they need.

Ravi Pendse, helped by Internet companies NetApp and Cisco, hopes to create other innovations he says could put WSU in the high-tech big leagues.

The garden will model how to save water and billions of dollars in the world's crops and lawns.

In the second and subsequent steps, Pendse's students and partners would develop innovations linking computers, smartphones, social media and the billions of sensors now being attached to everything.

Pendse as a technologist has collaborated with NetApp and Cisco for years, creating technology and many WSU graduates who went to work for those companies.

Stan Skelton, director of strategic planning and advanced development at Net-App, said his company hopes to work out plans with Pendse this semester to grow the garden and establish the center.

The center will not require tax money or buildings, Pendse said; it will operate as a mobile group of students, faculty and business partners, and be financed with private money. The only expenses necessary so far: a few hundred dollars for seeds and sensors.

WSU President John Bardo endorsed Pendse's plans after he became WSU president in July.

“What Ravi is talking about in part is that we're all seeing a massive increase in low-cost connectivity ... and this allows you to think very differently about what you can do.”

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 Honing wilderness skills with iPhone in hand 
In this Jan. 21 image, Ravi Pendse, a professor at Wichita State University, sits in front of routers and switches, the tools that make the Internet work in Wichita, Kansas.

(MCT)

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