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Higher Education Races Towards 802.11ac

[Webinar] 802.11ac in Higher Education | Wednesday July 24 at 3pm PST < REGISTER

It’s no secret that mobile devices are playing a larger part in today’s businesses. With the fast pace of mobility adoption by consumers, network usage has started to outrun the infrastructure of most enterprises’ mobile networks. Enterprise IT managers are struggling to keep up with mobility’s effects on workplace productivity and requirements.

Among the growing trends that weigh heavily on the minds of most network IT professionals is bring your own device (BYOD). The growth of bandwidth-intensive applications, like video streaming, and the user expectations of always-on network and application performance also place heavy demand on organizational infrastructure.

802.11ac is the next generation of Wi-Fi, designed to give enterprises the tools to meet the demands of BYOD, high-bandwidth applications, and the always-on connected user. This Wednesday we will be hosting a workshop to discuss the benefits of 802.11ac, and how to optimize it for high density and high bandwidth to benefit higher education. Students, typically early adopters of wireless technology, usually bring 802.11ac in the form of the latest laptop, smartphone, and tablet that support this new technology. Read More »

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The Collaboration Evolution – A Strategy for Transforming Education

For today’s digital generation, collaborative learning is no longer a novelty – it’s an expectation.  Students are consuming information in new and different formats – video, Internet, virtual classrooms.  These are all tools that are changing the face of education.  To make this transformation a reality, students, faculty and administrators need to reliably connect with the people and resources they need whether they’re using their desktop or mobile device, at home or in the classroom.

As more schools offer a comprehensive and collaborative learning experience, they are seeing vast benefits. To transform the delivery of education Katy Independent School District deployed Cisco Unified Workspace, adding mobile capabilities and immersive video. The decision to invest in these collaborative solutions resulted in improved test scores, increased student, teacher engagement and ease of IT administration.

For schools looking to take the plunge like Katy ISD, what’s the best approach to take?

As I discussed in this recent blog post about collaboration strategies for government organizations, the best approach is looking at the problem with the big picture in mind.

With Cisco Unified Workspace, schools can build a scalable and secure network that will serve as a strong foundation for the future. Watch the video below to see how Cisco’s solution is designed with utility to unify voice, video, data and secure access on any device and at any location.

Equipped with Cisco’s smart collaboration strategy schools can combine voice, video and mobility to create a classroom that allows faculty and students to collaborate efficiently and securely.

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The Internet of Everything: Transforming College Education To Align with Business Needs #IoE

As a father of future college students, I’m excited that Cisco’s announcement yesterday about the Internet of Everything (IoE) Economy may finally transform college education to provide graduates with the real-world skills needed by businesses today — and tomorrow.

Before I jump too far ahead, let me explain what Cisco announced. Cisco estimates that there are currently about 20 billion things connected to the Internet, yet more than 99 percent of physical “things” remain unconnected. Obviously, there is a huge opportunity to connect the unconnected. IoE aims to do just that by adding people, process, and data to the things that are connected to the Internet, such as devices, sensors, and machines.

To help businesses understand how to benefit from IoE, Cisco IBSG’s Economics Practice calculated the amount of Value at Stake in the IoE Economy. Value at Stake is defined as the value that will either be newly created or will migrate between lagging companies and industries to the leaders over the next 10 years based on their ability to harness IoE. We did this by taking a bottom-up approach of selecting and analyzing 21 industry-specific and cross-industry use cases, including the one I’m discussing here: connected private college education.

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From this analysis, the team determined that there is $14.4 trillion of Value at Stake in the Internet of Everything Economy over the next decade. The five main drivers of this Value at Stake are:
1. Lower costs from improved asset utilization ($2.5 trillion)
2. Greater efficiencies from improved employee productivity ($2.5 trillion)
3. Less waste from supply-chain and logistics efficiencies ($2.7 trillion)
4. Greater lifetime customer value from improved customer experiences ($3.7 trillion)
5. Increased return on investment (ROI) and new revenue from faster innovation ($3.0 trillion)

So, how much of this value comes from improved education? Read More »

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BYOD on a University Campus: A Student’s Perspective

There is a new generation of college students out there, I would know as I recently was one of them.  Information being at your fingertips is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  Professors’ expectations of their students have increased dramatically due to the wealth of information on mobile devices.  Every class I attended leveraged some form of wireless access to the web.  Instant message in response to real-time questions and online submissions are just two of many examples of how network access has been integrated into the education system.  Professors would consistently use online tools such as online drop boxes for projects and web conferencing tools.  According to MarketWire 92% of college students feel a laptop is a necessity, this indicates that the requirement of mobile access at a university is a given and the college experience is defined by the ease of that access. 

Professors are on tight schedules and are generally available only at certain times of the day.  Imagine- wanting to contact a professor during open hours only to fall short because your laptop had difficulty getting any kind of connection.  I remember the frustrations of wanting to revisit PowerPoint presentations on a class website in the library, only to realize that I was sitting by the one window notorious for being a wireless dead zone.  Dorms were infamous for spotty coverage.  Having the dorm room located closest to the access point for best access was purely by luck of the draw.  I was not so lucky.  In my dorm, you would not get any wireless access unless you were sitting right next to the hallway.  That’s why I am especially envious of the students of Colorado University, whose alma mater upgraded to enterprise-class coverage. 

Read More »

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Four Ways Social Software Collaboration Technology Can Change Higher Education

New media and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform higher education in terms of the classroom, the learning process, the relationship between students and instructors, and how institutions conduct academic research. While much of the industry discussion revolves around use of consumer tools and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, Cisco’s educational customers also see tremendous opportunity to increase student engagement and drive their own institutional strategies with “enterprise class” social software as well.

Since Cisco first announced Quad, we have had conversations with dozens of colleges and universities regarding the role enterprise social software and Cisco Quad can play in transforming education. Cisco Quad is an enterprise collaboration platform that brings people together to share ideas and content, collaborate on projects, and interact using chat, voice or video, regardless of where people are located.

Below, we’ve outlined four ways in which educational institutions are telling us enterprise social software is helping, or can transform the way learning, research, and academic advisement is crafted, delivered and consumed:

1. The 24/7 interactive classroom: Instructors often struggle to deliver a collaborative environment for their students that is secure and supports multiple access methods such as mobile.  Technology like Quad can enable students to interact in a secure, policy-based manner that extends the classroom conversation beyond physical walls. Courses partially or wholly targeted at off-campus students can similarly benefit from enhancing the class-like experience for remote students. For example, at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the cross country MBA students based in the US, England, India and other countries are using Quad to create virtual working groups, find people with common interests, share files or videos with other students working on similar projects and instantly start video conferences or chat sessions. Quad provides students with the ability to interact, ask questions and share ideas with professors/faculty/tutorial assistants anytime, as opposed to only during fixed faculty office hours. It can also drive improved accountability on team projects, as content and comments are tracked in activity feeds and in project communities by both participating students and faculty leads.

2. Serendipitous Research: Quad contains several features, such as an activity feed that compiles microblog posts from students and staff and allows a snapshot view of a person’s current activities. These dynamic updating functionalities can facilitate broader cross-departmental collaboration, for students and researchers alike. Security features ensure that research that needs to be confidential is shared in a secure and safe manner.  As researchers update their statuses with exciting discoveries or frustrating problems, or create posts, upload videos or otherwise document their work, this content becomes accessible to hundreds of fellow university researchers through activity feeds and searches, making it possible for providential inter-disciplinary connections to be made and new insights to be generated. Read More »

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