People are much more susceptible to light than we imagine. For instance, tests have shown that natural light has a positive affect on people than staid, artificial light.

The Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is putting that theory to the test and Cisco is helping them along the way. As the fourth-largest school district in the United States—there are over 35,000 students in the school system—M-DCPS’ Chief Information Officer (CIO) Deborah Karcher has long been a proponent of providing her kids better lighting. She feels that more natural light will sharpen the children’s minds in the morning and perk them up during the traditional post-lunch lulls.

She discovered a solution in the Cisco Digital Ceiling Framework that combines lighting, air conditioning and other building networks into one IP-based infrastructure. The framework is built over a Cisco infrastructure that includes Cisco Catalyst 3560 switches and Cisco 4431 and 3925 Integrated Service routers.

Not only can network power cut down on energy costs, but PoE-powered LED lighting can match natural light.

“The ease of the installation was incredible,” Karcher said. “At the front end, it was as simple as plugging in new lights.”

The bottom line was something to behold too, as classrooms went from using 750 watts to 350 watts. The money saving is incredible, Karcher said but the future is what she’s most excited for.

The lights are able to change color, so the school will be able to set up a code based solely on light color. For example: green lights could mean class changes and red lights could signal an emergency. Lighting sensors connected to the network can pick up wristband signals from student coming enter class. Say goodbye to the days of taking roll!

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Byron Magrane

Product Manager, Marketing