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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - New OU course examines the future of engineering
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

To help innovators capitalize on emerging technologies, Oakland University's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) is offering a new course this fall. “Competing in the Connected World” will teach Oakland students, as well as engineers from the industry, how to create new opportunities to gain a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

Experts predict that by the year 2020, fifty billion devices will be connected to the internet. The list won’t be limited to just consumer electronics. Any product imaginable, from appliances, cars and even mouse traps, could potentially join cyberspace. As more devices go online, mega systems will be created, generating massive amounts of data and spawning new user experiences and customer expectations. 

The most successful businesses will be those that adapt to this evolving technological landscape.

The new course will be taught by Gregg Garrett, founder and managing director of CGS Advisors, LLC. Garrett is a graduate of Oakland’s Industrial and Systems Engineering program and winner of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the highest honor given to Oakland alumni. 

He also serves as an adviser to many Fortune 100 companies and is a contributing writer for Connected World Magazine. He has held senior-level positions at Volkswagen Group of America and Deutsche Telekom.

“As far as I can tell, this course will be the first offered by an accredited program that tackles many of the key factors in this emerging connected economy,” Garrett said.

Through a series of projects and guest lectures, the course will examine a variety of strategic topics, including:

  • Basic architecture of the connected world
  • Building blocks for companies to succeed in a dynamic business environment
  • Monetization strategies for different connected products
  • Organizational options for connected companies

"We are excited to be partnering with Gregg to offer this unique course,” said Dr. Robert Van Til, ISE department chair. “This will be a high-level course focused on strategies rather than on coding and other low-level technical issues." 

The course is open any engineer as a professional development course as well as Oakland engineering students. It will be offered from 7:30 - 9:17 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday evenings, from Sept. 4 through Dec. 14, 2013. For more information or to enroll, contact Dr. Van Til at or (248) 370-2211.

For more on undergraduate and graduate programs in ISE and Engineering Management, as well as its partnerships with industry, visit the Industrial and Systems Engineering Dept. website at

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.