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Transforming the Schools of Tomorrow with High Performance Wireless

The transformation to a mobile learning environment is underway for today’s K-12 schools. In a generation, we’ve moved from pencil and paper, to the computer lab with static PCs, to a borderless mobility experience where students learn while using wireless-enabled devices, applications, and tools.

Using several Cisco case studies as a guide, I’ll address three major benefits of mobility and high performance 802.11n wireless for today’s K-12 schools.

1. Improvements in Learning. By far the most important benefit of wireless connectivity for schools is the enhancement of learning. Access to the Internet, web-based applications, and new multimedia learning environments from anywhere on campus puts the world at students’ fingertips, enabling innovative learning and better collaboration with fellow students and teachers.

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Do the Math and Save

In my prior life as a management consultant I was often asked to help my clients create business cases for investment in technology.  In most of these situations I had to deal with two groups of people: a) those that believed the investment in new technology would bring significant operational improvements/efficiencies, and b) those that questioned if and how those efficiencies would be achieved. 

As a marketer for Cisco’s wireless infrastructure my customers tend to fall in the first category, but time and time again they ask me “I get it, but how do I convince my CFO/Controller?”

In response to this need we asked Forrester to build an ROI calculator that would enable you, our customers, evaluate the return on investment a Cisco Unified Wireless Network provides. Forrester interviewed key Cisco customers to collect information about the savings and improvements an investment in wireless networking provided them, and compiled everything into a user friendly excel spreadsheet.  

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I Want It!

Ok, I have to admit. Apple marketing gets to me (or is it that Apple marketing gets me?)  Yup, iPhone 4 was announced today and I have to say that soon after I started watching the relevant video I am quickly falling out of love with my iPhone 3GS. Joking aside, this is one cool device but what I am most excited about are two things:

First is FaceTime.  That opening scene on the video is me, let me explain.  A few weeks back I was working from Europe and I was on Skype video with my wife and kid everyday. Granted I would not have paid roaming charges for a voice call from my cell phone but I would have loved the capability of placing a video call over Wi-Fi without having to carry my laptop around.  Now if only Apple would allow a FaceTime call from an iPhone 4 to any other device (laptop, Cisco IP video phone, network connected TV, whatever has a camera and a network connection), but they have phones to sell so I have to respect the network externalities that they are pushing for. 

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The end of unlimited 3G data

Over the past three years that I have been with the Cisco Mobility Solutions team I have witnessed multiple market transitions that are shaping the communications, collaboration and access landscape.

Today, we are experiencing yet another market transition, one that we have been anticipating for quite a while.  AT&T announced the end of unlimited Internet on smartphone devices, such as the Apple iPhone.  To non-US mobile users this may not be a big deal as many international service providers already either cap usage or charge on a per MB or GB for data usage. For those of us in the US however, this is major news that will most certainly have implications in:

  1. User experience and usage patterns
  2. Guest access network (aka Wi-Fi hotspots) proliferation
  3. Enterprise wireless network demand – driven from the continued consumerization of IT

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