Technology advances by leaps and bounds, touching all sectors of society, and educational institutions are no exception. An avant-garde classroom today is very different from what was called state-of-the-art technology until just a few years ago. At one time, universities offered satellite classes, to bring knowledge to distant places. With the introduction of the internet, the use of satellites lagged behind, and cutting-edge schools sought much more collaborative ways of teaching, and gathering knowledge and viewpoints.
The learning needs of the new generations are different and demand tools allow the rapid exchange of information, immediate and uninterrupted connectivity, and the use of networks previously reserved for other purposes. A reliable network is the foundation for new educational technologies, which are constantly changing and should be able to support more users, more information, and applications that are bandwidth hungry.
Transformation of the education model
A concrete case of evolution is of one of the most recognized institutions of higher education in Latin America that sought to align its technological strategy at the national level to modernize and centralize its connectivity platform on all its university campuses in Mexico: more than 10 university complexes in a period of only 12 months.
CommScope technology was instrumental in carrying out the plan. MTnet, a strategic integrator that is part of CommScope’s PartnerPRO channel program, was one of the companies that designed and implemented the information transport platform that will support the educational strategy of this institution for the next 20 years.
Challenges of the project
The project was complex: to centralize and unify the technology in more than 10 offices that previously had total autonomy with respect to their infrastructure decisions, and move towards a centralized system, where the change represented not only a structural change, but a much more profound change of organizational culture.
An in-depth analysis and detailed work plan for each of the venues was carried out with each representing different challenges from different network topologies, building styles, seniority levels of wiring, and technology leaders with diverse ideas and work cultures.
Factors for success
The first focus of the project was effective internal coordination with all departments in each of the headquarters, not just the IT department since, in some cases, excavation and changes in the buildings were to be repaired by the physical plant department as soon as possible so as not to disrupt operations. The work should not be an obstacle to the daily routine of teachers, students and administrative staff.
Next, personnel involved in the field for the implementation of CommScope cabling were prepared. Everyone worked together with suppliers, and MTnet, as an integrating company, providing teamwork and coordination between the different CommScope channels involved in the project.
Finally, the ability to control the variables presented by each site under a well-orchestrated, detailed plan with well-defined scope and adequate risk forecasts that facilitated the conclusion of the project in the time and manner agreed upon was critical.
A state-of-the-art connectivity platform was deployed and ready for the next 20 years, with centralized control and an intelligent monitoring system that ensures the continuity and quality of academic services. In addition, automating infrastructure reduced operating costs and the institution gained the ability to provide the same level of service to students in any location.
The education sector is changing, and the role of a connectivity platform to support educational content and digital transformation is becoming increasingly important. No educational institution, public or private, should be left behind. The connectivity platform is the solid foundation to be able to continue advancing at the pace that the new generations of students, and the economy demand.
Watch this video, which describes the educational project, and let me know your thoughts on the evolution of IT in education.