Campuses throughout the country are beginning to experiment with the use of cloud computing and internet of things technology to support student learning and campus management . In a recent survey of 600 K-12 and Higher Education IT leaders, 46% believe IoT will have a major impact on campuses in the next 1 to 2 years . Will smart campuses live up to this hype? Or will privacy and cost issues deter widespread adoption of IoT in educational institutions?
Extreme Networks is an IT infrastructure and security firm which seeks to tap into the market for smart campuses. This San Jose-based company generates $520 million in annual revenue from its networking solutions for enterprise customers including healthcare systems, governments, mobile carriers, and large venues. Extreme Networks currently partners with large school districts and universities to deliver high-density WiFi and network management software. However, these services are the entry point for selling a larger suite of internet connected devices and an analytics software platform .
Extreme Networks Smart Campus
Extreme Networks envisions a smart campus in which digital beacons transmit personalized lesson plans directly to students’ devices when entering the classroom. Engaging content is delivered at a pace which adapts based on students’ performance. Teachers review dashboards of student progress and spend additional instructional time reviewing specific concepts . Moreover, students sport wearables to track classroom attendance and monitor athletic activity. Wearables track students boarding GPS-enabled school buses, and parents receive a text if buses are arriving late . In the case of an emergency, wireless door locks secure classroom and external doors, and wearables indicate the last known location of missing students . Low-cost sensors monitor temperature and air quality for the smart HVAC system . Combined, these technologies seek to increase student engagement, track learning outcomes, ensure safety, and reduce operational costs .
Extreme Networks has crafted a smart campus vision which relies upon its core strengths and customized its solutions for educational institutions. As schools move to online testing for high stakes exams, the Extreme Networks platform allows IT professionals to monitor devices and prevent downtime from network bottlenecks . Furthermore, the unified system dashboard offers visibility across devices from multiple vendors, making it easier to troubleshoot issues .
Smart Campus Risks and Opportunities
While Extreme Networks offers technical solutions, implementation of smart campuses requires the support of teachers, administrators, parents, and students. Privacy and security are the primary concerns for over 50% of IT leaders in education . Extreme Networks can learn from the downfall of InBloom, a nonprofit backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which developed software to warehouse and analyze student data. InBloom closed due to public concerns about the misuse of sensitive student data and legislation restricting vendors from aggregating student data . To pre-empt such challenges, Extreme Networks should partner with IT leaders in education to develop a data privacy and security policy. Furthermore, Extreme Networks should create educational materials for school districts to share with families to describe the nature of student data collected and how is it securely stored by the school district.
Predictive analytics software is another untapped opportunity for Extreme Networks within the smart campus market. The current offerings enable educators, administrators, and IT staff to monitor and analyze student and campus data. However, advanced modeling capabilities could enable schools to identify the characteristics of students most likely to be late for class or have difficulty in specific subjects. These insights could help teachers and support staff to offer more timely and targeted interventions and thus improve educational outcomes and cost savings .
Extreme Networks is well positioned to capture market share in the emerging market for smart campuses. However, Extreme Networks should connect with key stakeholders to understand the privacy and security concerns which may slow widespread adoption.
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