Now it’s Time to Start Innovating Again
This time with modular technology. Taking a modular approach to technology, like what we do at Kuali, means that you can keep costs down and produce less waste while keeping up with evolving technology and your institution’s needs. With modular technology blocks, you can add to your campus-wide system—like Banner—update it, change processes and more, without making huge investments or losing valuable pieces already in place. A consumer example of this is the smartwatch called Blocks. The core product is the basic smartwatch, and buyers can add modules to increase functionality. So instead of upgrading their watch every year, and ditching the old model, they can add modules for new features. It’s also how consumers buy music—they don’t buy whole albums anymore; they buy songs.
Iterate to Evolve
Modular technology allows institutions of higher education to make incremental changes as needed.
“Universities are interesting collectives of all kinds of people, and needs evolve at different paces,” said Brad Wheeler, Indiana University’s Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer. “Things that are really important in some of our Big Ten institutions appear one year or perhaps are also important for IU, and then the next year they’re very important for IU. So being able to move incrementally, as a campus has priorities, has needs around modules, but yet have things fit together over time is a much more efficient process than when you’re trying to just do it all in one big system at once, so the whole place goes into chaos.”
Reduce Electronic Waste
Opting for modular technology blocks over fixed systems also reduces electronic waste, a growing scourge around the world. According to iFixit, people in the U.S. produce 3.4 million tons of e-waste every year. Globally, people discard 20 million tons of electronic waste every year. These discarded products leach mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, and lead into the soil, water, and air. In addition to reducing e-waste in landfills and preventing pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, you’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing to add modular blocks instead of buying new, fixed equipment.
Gone are the days when you need to dedicate whole wings to technology equipment and make colossal infrastructure investments to update and upgrade systems. Modular technology gives institutions the ability to more quickly adapt and innovate as technology changes and students demand, without generating tons of electronic waste.