High-Speed Broadband Vital to Power IoT in Education

The Internet of Things is the tech topic du jour, with connected devices starting to be used across all industries to capture data and create added value as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications evolves. How quickly is the IoT market developing? According to a 2015 report from Cisco, there will be 50 billion connected devices in use by 2020, an increase of over 300 percent over the next five years that will generate about $8 trillion in added value for the global economy over the next decade.

The potential uses for the IoT sprawls across nearly all verticals and as a result have begun to spawn debate among school administrators that are wondering whether they need to prepare students for a radically changing economy. Considering the fact that it is administrators’ ultimate responsibility for finding the best possible way to prepare students for their futures, it would seem short sighted to ignore what the IoT can bring to the table in classrooms.

Bringing the IoT into the classroom provides a number of benefits. Teachers can provide students with supplemental, tangible data points to reinforce their lesson plans. Simultaneously, students can learn how to physically create a connected network.

For instance, the Internet of School Things has created a program that teaches students how to build connected systems and put them to use for learning purposes. Among the kits offered are robotics, soil and weather sensors. This teaching aid gives students hands-on experience in designing connected networks, and methods of data collection to assist in their learning.

Outside the classroom, the Smart IoT School can streamline administrative procedures:

  • Bus companies can install devices capable of performing a range of duties, including holding drivers accountable for their driving, sending alerts for routine maintenance needs and tracking pick-ups and drop-offs.
  • School buildings can use the IoT to track energy and resource consumption, improving the efficiency of electrical and water systems.
  • Departments, networks and libraries can be connected within or beyond district lines to optimize communication and share data between schools.

Not only can connected technology help teachers improve education, the added benefit is that  administrators can use the technology to simultaneously streamline operations and cut costs.

The foundation of connected devices lies in the collection and transmission of large volumes of data, so, while there are clear benefits for utilizing the IoT in education, administrators seeking to take advantage of the technology must be sure their networks have the bandwidth to support it. Otherwise, the devices won’t work to their full potential.

Having a network that is conveniently scalable is also a key factor, because the IoT provides additional value as the number of integrated devices rises.

Possessing a strong Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection will also help to carry some of the burden of transmitting the data of IoT-enabled devices.