Nov 15 2017

IoT Powers Up the Connected K–12 Schools of the Future

From better facilities management to smarter buses, secure Internet of Things devices can enhance school operations

Picture the schools of the future. If you thought of internet-connected devices everywhere, controlling and monitoring everything from temperature to student engagement, you aren’t that far off from the schools of today.

Thanks to the Internet of Things, K-12 schools are using devices that constantly collect data to create futuristic schools.

Tools such as smart thermometers are making facilities management a snap by automatically monitoring and regulating the heating and cooling of schools.

Ruggedized access points let students stay connected outside of the classroom (and truly work anywhere). With geofencing and geolocation technologies, IT can create settings on school-issued devices that go into effect as soon as a device leaves the premises — adding another layer of security.

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School Buses Boost Efficiency, Security with IoT

The yellow school bus synonymous with K–12 education has already been transformed into a mobile hotspot of sorts, thanks to access points that help students without internet access do their homework before they get home.

Now, using IoT devices from companies such as Samsara, school leaders can monitor the bus driver for safety and track routes, student ride time and number of passengers.

Equipped with this data, schools can optimize bus routes for efficiency and let parents know when buses are going to be late.

Other schools have equipped buses with sophisticated video surveillance, including some that can record when cars illegally pass stopped buses.

Keep Security and Bandwidth Top of Mind

While the proliferation of IoT into schools and buses can effectively boost security, when you are introducing more connected devices to your network, there are always questions about cybersecurity.

Security is one of the first things I talk about with school officials when they are doing any kind of work that is going through a network. If you look at security breaches concerning IoT, it’s usually because things weren’t set up correctly.

Schools should work with security experts when setting up these solutions. There’s a lot to learn for IoT newcomers, so it makes sense to get an expert involved.

In addition to security, schools really need to look at bandwidth. IT leaders need to make sure their network can support more devices and they have controls in place.

While planning ahead for increased network use and new security protocols is essential, schools also need to keep an eye on what is happening in the world of IoT to plan for what’s next.

As IoT options are introduced that may solve one or more of their problems, school officials should connect with an expert to learn as much about them as possible.

This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology
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