Photo by Anna Toth

CSU's new IOT innovations and digital director, Shilpa Kedar, has been a part of the IOT Collaborative since it's inception in 2017.

Feb. 4, 2019

Director of digital and IOT innovations appointed

Cleveland State appointed Shilpa Kedar as director of digital and Internet of Things (IOT) innovations, just after the IOT Collaborative received a $2.2 million grant from the Cleveland Foundation.

The IOT Collaborative is a partnership between Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve University, funded via grants from the Cleveland Foundation. Started two years ago, the initiative received the additional $2.2 million grant in December for use in 2019.

Kedar comes to Cleveland State from the Cleveland Foundation, where she worked closely with the collaborative since its start in 2017.

“I was very familiar with the people at CSU, the faculty members across from the urban school, the engineering school, computer science and the law school,” Kedar said. “When people ask me, ‘Are you liking this job?’ I say, yeah, I have a great team of people to work with.”

The goal of the collaborative is to build a digital economy within Cleveland and surrounding neighborhoods while giving students and faculty a chance to work on action-based research projects.

So far, students and faculty have been able to work with the City of Lakewood as well as the City of Cleveland and the neighborhood of Hough.

“This initiative is unlocking opportunities for students to work with faculty on real life, action-based projects,” Kedar said. “Whether that is working with the City of Lakewood on how sensors are being deployed to make smarter decisions on maintaining the infrastructure of the roads or working with the neighborhood of Hough.”

For the Hough neighborhood, Kedar explains that the collaborative is working with the citizens on a ground up approach to tackle issues citizens feel are important. The most recent grant from the Cleveland Foundation will go to continuing these projects, but proposals have already been submitted on both state and federal levels to expand these projects and start new ones.

Projects like these are important to build up Cleveland’s infrastructure as well as its digital economy, something that Kedar said she thinks is important to give the city a competitive edge.

“The reality is the digital world is here to stay,” Kedar said. “Cleveland has to transform itself into a digital economy to continue to be relevant, and to be a national, international leader in at least some aspects of the new digital economy.”

The projects use students and faculty from the urban, business, law and engineering colleges to tackle topics like infrastructure, cybersecurity and economy. Kedar wants to increase the schools involved with the collaborative and see them working together.

“I think cracking the code on not just multidisciplinary research but transdisciplinary research is going to be very important,” Kedar said. “That’s where I’d like to see us go at CSU, working across the different schools and disciplines within CSU.”

Another important element that Kedar wants to capitalize on is the relationship with Case Western Reserve University. By combining the forces with Case Western and potentially other universities in the future, Kedar believes that the collaborative has the power to help Cleveland compete on a larger level.

“So this public university, private university collaboration is quite unprecedented,” Kedar said. “If we can continue to nurture this collaboration in the near future and then slowly but steadily start bringing other universities that bring unique strengths into the fold to make it more of a Northeastern Ohio collaborative, then Cleveland and Northeast Ohio the region has the ability to really compete on an international scale.”


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