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Is your School Network Future Ready?

Welcome back to another school year! As always, a time fraught with staff change overs, device rollouts and projects aplenty. With the advent of another year it’s a better time than most than to sit back, look to the year that will be and ask;

“Can our Network handle what 2019 will throw at it?”

While terribly cliché, the statement “Our lives are becoming more and more digitally connected” could not be more true.

The latest innovations across networking and connectivity have brought about the Internet of Things Revolution. The new IoT tsunami is well and truly being adopted across the consumer space – anything that possibly can be networked, will be. From internet enabled lights, garage doors, thermometers and personal cameras, the connected home is now a reality and with advancement at home comes advancement in our classrooms.

It is not enough to support student devices, each capable of accessing more and more cloud resources.

Today schools also have to contend with having:

  • Interactive Panels / Projector on the network
  • 3D Printers requiring web access
  • Weather Stations
  • Fish Tank PH Readers
  • Voice Assistants

These unparalleled modern teaching resources were completely unexpected 3 years ago, however the expectation of the classroom of the future is that not only they are connected – rather efficient.

IT Directors and Leadership have been tasked the role of looking into the crystal ball and predicting what is in store for the next 3-4 years ahead. Similar to BYOD Programs before it, the IoT revolution looks to change the game, again.

If left unchecked, these fantastic STEM Devices used to engage, create and amaze can be an absolute nightmare for your networks.

The majority of these devices have their own operating systems, firmware updates, management concerns and of course, each bring their own security flaws. It should not come as a surprise to hear that the major security providers expect IoT endpoints to be the biggest cybersecurity threat in 2019.

So what can be done? Information gathering. I assure you right now, if you don’t already know about the box of Sphero’s or Google VR Headsets – someone, somewhere has these smuggled devices into your school. Make it a priority to have a discussion with your Digital Curriculum Leader, put an action item for your IT Committee (if you don’t have one, CREATE one) and bring these IoT purchases out of the classroom cupboard and into the light!

Ask the question of your Digital Curriculum Leader;

“If you had an unlimited budget, what STEM technologies would you like to see in our classrooms?”

Predicting the future can be difficult without posing the right questions. Once you have ascertained how many devices are out there and what the staff’s dreams for the future are: 

  • Focus on potential growth devices
  • Heat map out effected areas in your school
  • Predict the strain the new devices will to put on your access points and switches.
  • Conduct internal and external penetration testing
  • Reach out to industry partners and discuss your concerns.
  • Do not suffer alone – IoT is uncharted territory for all schools.

I encourage you all to go into the start 2019 with your eyes open to IoT. Explore what IoT means to your digital classrooms and what can be achieved through its effective implementation. All the while keeping in mind the goal is not to become gatekeepers who stifle teachers with more red tape, the goal is to enable our educators to do their best work!

You read more about these devices and more in our Term 1 Education Catalogue 2019. 

Organise a demo for your school by contacting sales@asi.com.au or call 1300 368 010