MILWAUKEE — Microsoft has
pledged more than $1.5 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in collaborative efforts between students, businesses and
the government. The corporation’s president Brad Smith announced his
pledge to UWM’s Connected Systems Institute during his keynote
speech to the IoT Talent Consortium annual meeting.
The institute is part of a growing multidisciplinary field working
on developing new technologies for the IoT, or internet of things: a
system of interrelated devices that transfer data over a network
without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
UWM College of Engineering & Applied Sciences Professor Adel Nasiri
said he is thrilled to see the increased interest and work to
provide the fundamental education for this field, which has a range
“This is a very quickly growing and evolving field and with more and
more products and concepts out there, companies can adapt and
learn,” Nasiri said. “That is part of our vision, to help companies
put the systems together to overall benefit them and their
The other part is working with students to prepare them for careers
at the cutting edge of technology.
By investing in the Connected Systems Institute, the university and
its partners have recognized the value in new IoT technology and are
contributing to its expansion. About a year and a half ago, UWM
started seriously working on their IoT and connected systems
offerings and began crafting courses. This donation and five-year
partnership with Microsoft will bring more courses as well as
bolster the new Connected Systems Institute.
While the institute is located in Milwaukee, students at extension
campuses, as in West Bend and Waukesha, stand to gain from the
extended course offerings and will have opportunities to work and
learn from the central Milwaukee location. Nasiri said new classes
are not narrowly designed for students in a handful of tech-based
majors, but can be included in curriculum for business, engineering
and other paths.
“This is a major change in what students were doing as the concept
of connectivity and systems is taking over all fields and
disciplines,” he said. “We are giving students a broader view of
what the systems look like, including using real-time data to make
decisions, because it is going to happen in every single field, in
everything around us.”
Microsoft’s donation includes $1.25 million in cash, $250,000 in
Azure cloud credits and $80,000 in Surface Hub hardware. Other
players were instrumental in creating a united force for
technological advancement, including Rockwell Automation, Wisconsin
Economic Development Corp., We Energies and the Wisconsin Economic
Development Corporation, which renovated space on campus for the
Together, the students, companies and governmental agencies create
an ecosystem of technology providers and consumers to learn from one
another and challenge future augmentation.