The Internet of Things Team: An Inside Look

The name “Internet of Things” can seem so vague, but in reality, it is almost the perfect name for it! It is the connection of different smart objects which they communicate through to your phone, computer, or to each other. To put it even more simply, think of anything that isn’t directly a computer or phone that uses the internet. Most likely, it is part of the IoT. Now- that’s a lot of ‘things’- isn’t it?

Some examples of “things” under this definition are watches, lights, and refrigerators all the way up to heavy machinery. (How smart is that?) From healthcare to agriculture, many industries are noticing the growing importance of utilizing the IoT!

At the Leahy Center, the IoT department specializes in researching any device classified as being part of the Internet of Things.

But- what exactly do they do?

The Internet of Things Team at the Leahy Center is split into 5 different departments, each one having a series of important roles that they try to accomplish. Overall, their goal: to analyze both software and hardware components of different IoT devices and corresponding phones. Their research on IoT devices will help educate law-enforcement and government officials about the impact of IoT.

The first department, the IoT Analysis Team, was the first department that started the IoT Team as a whole at the Leahy Center. They currently are the largest department in the IoT Team, with a total of twelve students and four interns. The team receives a list of devices that are of interest, and then they break them down and perform forensics on them! Both the phone and the microchip of the IoT device are analyzed.

Next, the IoT Mobile Team recreates scenarios that utilize IoT devices. They mimic ways that IoT devices’ information can be used, like taking an air tag and recreating a stalking scenario. One person wears the air tag, and the other uses the information on that air tag to recreate a stalking scenario. They would then take these scenes and use them as training for law enforcement and government officials, including making an “answer key”. 

Another team- the Offensive IoT Team, hack the devices themselves. They test to see how easy it actually is to be able to get data from devices. Their work helps the entire IoT Team be able to understand the perspective of a hacker looking into these devices.

While the previous three teams are cybersecurity and digital forensics based, the other two IoT teams are more programming based. The IoT Database works to create a larger overall database of everything the IoT Analysis people find, while also making a website to compile that data. On the other hand, The IoT Extraction Team takes more of a software development role, as they’re working to create a tool to automate pulling IoT artifacts from android devices.

PROFILE: James Cangelosi

James Cangelosi is a Digital Forensics Major ’26. He’s been with the IoT team since January 2023. More specifically, he’s been a part of the IoT Analysis Team since May 2023.

“Getting that hands on experience in the field is great and the research we’re doing with the project is actually contributing to a ‘greater good’.” James said, “We’re also given the opportunity to hone our skills outside the classroom which only makes us even better once we leave Champlain.”

According to James, by 2030, there will be over 30 billion IoT devices by 2030. Capitalizing on that growth and preparing investigators to make the best use out of that data is what makes James passionate about the IoT Team.

PROFILE: Avery Luther

Avery Luther is a Computer Networking and Cybersecurity Major ’26. He first started as an intern for IoT last spring. He’s worked on the IoT Analysis and IoT IRL teams, but now is working on the IoT Offensive Team.

Avery’s favorite thing about working with The Leahy Center is his team, “Everyone here has a passion for learning and teaching others that I haven’t had in any other work environment.”

However, that’s not the only part that makes him love working with IoT.

“Its the culture of teaching and learning from my peers that is pervasive throughout Champlain. Most of what I have learned at The Leahy Center has been from my peers that have worked here longer than me, and these past few semesters I have been passing my knowledge to new interns and employees moving forward.”

He also has always had a passion for creating things. He grew up building with legos, and competed in FIRST robotics leagues. Working on the IoT Team allowed him to continue that passion into his education and career.

PROFILE: Tom Claflin

Tom Claflin, has been working with the team starting in the summer before senior year as an analyst. Since his fall semester senior year, he has been managing the IoT team. After graduating Champlain College, he’s been a full-time faculty member as the IoT Manager.

Currently, the IoT Analysis team is working on data-generation. 

“This is a very fun part of the job, because all of the IoT devices we buy are brand new, with no data. Because our job is to find all the customer data on an IoT device, we need to test each and every feature of the IoT device.” Tom said, “We currently have a student doing data [generation] on an IoT fridge, and a feature of it is to Instacart groceries, so they will get to Instacart some goodies to the office. We also have a student working on a GPS tracker, which means for their shift, they will get to walk around Burlington, visiting shops and such, testing the tracking feature.”

When he was a student at Champlain, he also got to hands-on learn about IoT devices as well.

“I’ll tell you a quick story about [data generation] from when I started in IoT.” Tom Claflin continued, “The very first device I ever worked with was a gaming eye tracker. So to put data on it, I got to spend my whole first shift playing video games with my eyes! It was super cool.”

In Conclusion

The Internet of Things is such a growing, expansive phenomenon in the tech industry. Here at the Leahy Center the IoT Team cracks the code: ‘what can IoT do?’. With tons of talented faculty and students, the Internet of Things Team is sure to have an amazing semester.

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Written By:
Cierra Rossi ’27, Professional Writing

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