How IT investments transform education

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The proliferation of internet and smartphones has changed the educational system dynamically. The traditional system has given way to e-learning and m-learning.

In an era of digitalisation, digital technological support is considered as a gauge of quality of education and facilities an institution is providing.  As such, educational institutions across the globe are investing on their IT infrastructure to meet the changing needs.

Some moves from educational institutions

In February, Evangel University has rolled out next-generation smart Wi-Fi technology from Ruckus Wireless, the 802.11ac Wave 2. It was aimed at providing students and faculty with a scalable and high-density infrastructure and to transform education both inside and outside the classroom.

Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri serves more than 2,200 students and 400 faculty and staff and is spread over 100 acres. There are 1,100 students living on campus in seven dorms. Due to a high student and faculty complaint volume regarding the insufficient legacy Wi-Fi, Evangel recognized the need for a robust, scalable, reliable Wi-Fi infrastructure in classrooms, across campus and in dorms.

In December, Ashoka University in Delhi had invested in a campus network infrastructure running on Juniper Networks Junos operating system including Juniper’s switching, routing and security platforms.

According to the university’s IT head Chandresh Kumar, the move was to make the institution’s networking infrastructure capable of delivering high-definition video streams to hundreds and eventually thousands of computers and tablets.

In the future, Ashoka University plans to harness network function virtualization, enabled through software-defined networking, to provide security capacity on demand.

Eyeing on the vast possibilities of the education sector and as part of their social commitments,  IT majors set aside their investment for the sector.

How IT vendors respond

Microsoft recently said its Philanthropies division will donate $1 billion of Microsoft Cloud Services to serve nonprofits and university researchers over the next three years.

Microsoft’s commitment is part of an agenda unanimously adopted by 193 heads of state and other world leaders in September last year.

These plans, set to achieve by 2030, include ending poverty, ending hunger, and ensuring affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all.

IDC worldwide WLAN tracker report showed that Aerohive’s enterprise WLAN revenue grew 26.7 percent annually in the fourth quarter of 2015, benefitting from its relatively strong position in the K-12 education vertical.

New IT offerings for the sector

Geoswift announced the inclusion of Tenpay, a third-party online payment platform in China, as one of the payment channels in the proprietary online tuition payment portal www paytuitionnow com.

Tenpay offers secure and convenient online payment services to users, by connecting them to a range of payment options, from travel and shopping to credit card and utility bill payments.

Expert’s view

Jay Chou, research manager, Worldwide PC Tracker, at IDC, believes that SMB and education segments will boost worldwide PC market growth. “IT access for students remains a priority, and will drive projects across regions – even though constrained government spending may limit some projects.”


According to Gartner, worldwide, higher education sector spending is forecast to grow 1.2 percent to reach $38.2 billion in 2016. Higher education institutions in Australia will spend A$1.7 billion on technology products and services in 2016, up 4 percent from 2015.

In New Zealand, technology spending in the higher education sector will total NZ$268 million in 2016, an increase of 4.1 percent over 2015.

According to the research agency, adaptive learning, predictive analytics, CRM, exostructure, open micro credentials, digital assessment, smart machines, OER ecosystem, listening and sensing technology and collaboration technology are top ten strategic technologies for higher education this year.

Jan-Martin Lowendahl, vice president for Gartner said that for institutions to thrive in the increasingly competitive education ecosystem, they must become more innovative and it is often technology that will underpin that innovation.

Higher education is still mostly considered a conservative and slow-moving industry, with the majority of innovation coming from outside the traditional education IT organization. Lowendahl said it is only a matter of time until all this innovation will impact the institution and, ultimately, the CIO.

Technavio analysts forecast the global projector screen market to surpass USD 132 billion in 2019, growing at a CAGR of more than 18 percent.  It notes that educational institutions are one of the growth drivers of this particular sector.

The education apps market in the U.S. is expected to reach $5.80 billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of close to 31 percent.

Technavio picks Adobe Systems, Blackboard, D2L, LearnCast and Wiz IQ as top five leading vendors in the education market.

IT investment in taking the education segment to the next level at a time when the ongoing debate is about going back to traditional class rooms, where computers will not find a place for networking.

Arya MM
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