- The spread of the "Internet of things" presents a handful of opportunities for more efficient school operations, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Smart thermometers, for example, can simplify facilities management by automating the regulation of building temperatures, geofencing and geolocation tech can allow schools to place settings on devices that kick in when they're taken beyond the school's walls, and school buses can be tracked to see where they are along their route and whether the vehicle is being operated safely.
- Despite the benefits, schools and districts must also remain vigilant when it comes to the additional cybersecurity threats posed by the expanding variety of internet-connected devices accessing networks, as well as the demand those tools place on bandwidth.
The Internet of things stands to offer a number of benefits to schools and districts, but in a world where education is among the most-targeted sectors by hackers, the additional cybersecurity risks can't be understated. At the extreme end of the spectrum, a massive "distributed denial of service" attack last October that shut down a significant number of websites was carried out using thousands of security cameras. Ensuring your network is up-to-speed may require the use of an independent security expert (or the addition of an internal one to your IT team), but the expense is well-worth preventing any incidents in the long run.
Additionally, with many schools already struggling to keep up with bandwidth demand amid the growth in popularity of 1:1 device programs, on top of any personal devices students and staff bring into a building, an upgrade may need to be considered, as well. Luckily, that's an expense the FCC's E-rate federal funding program may be able to assist with, though schools and districts can also consider partnering with industry to facilitate the expansion.