Creating a connected campus

Higher education was previously confined to lecture theatres and seminar rooms. The adoption and normalising of e-learning tools has driven much of the learning experience towards virtual studying, with a greater reliance on technology to help tutors and students connect.

Today, digital demand in universities is greater than ever, and many of the top challenges facing higher education decision-makers are IT-based. At the root of this sits a number of underlying factors, from the proliferation of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture to more remote working and capacity pressures on existing infrastructure from unprecedented levels of demand.

With these trends set to expand over the coming years, there will be pressure on higher education IT leaders to create the conditions to help their institutions thrive as digital seats of learning. This is particularly important at a time when universities need to work that much harder to deliver an outstanding student experience that helps them stand out from the crowd.

So, here are five ways you can connect your campus and remain top of the leader board through technical innovation:

University challenge #1: Whether they’re publicly or privately funded, higher education organisations have financial challenges from being tasked with more innovation, to having to admit and accommodate more students.

Our solution: Check the market. Update your competitive quotes from different connectivity providers. The telecoms world has moved on significantly in recent years, and you might be paying more for technology or managed services than you need to.

University challenge #2: As the BYOD generation joins universities and higher education facilities, the demands they place on the network will grow, primarily through greater use of 5G, IoT, e-learning, streaming and data sharing across campuses. Collectively, this could well become overwhelming for legacy architecture.

Our solution: Everything boils down to selecting network solutions that have the capacity to handle data hungry students and staff. Seek out connectivity providers that offer futureproofed latency, speed, reliability and performance.

University challenge #3: Higher education organisations with dispersed campuses need to stay connected, but the practicalities of working across many locations can be difficult. This is especially true for IT projects that must account for building new infrastructure from scratch when factoring in distances between sites.

Our solution: The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful complex network build project is all in finding the right partner to work with you, while providing guidance on navigating multi-party restrictions. The best provider will take your challenge and make it happen.

University challenge #4: Find strength in numbers. If you’ve never attempted to team up with other organisations on a connectivity plan before, it can be difficult to know where to start or who to approach. This is particularly the case if you need support from local authorities to gain the access you require.

Our solution: Consider reducing infrastructure project costs by sharing the workload. Plan by partnering with neighbouring organisations (many local authorities are pursuing multiple supporting projects) and engaging with service providers who are well-versed in projects like yours.

University challenge #5: Recognise the time, knowledge and effort it takes to navigate a road opening or wayleave process from start to finish or handle building access restrictions for a connectivity project.

Our solution: Use a trusted partner with the latest accreditations who can prove its credentials with higher education facilities and can access alternative infrastructure if needed. Check they can still deliver when the going gets tough.

Understanding roadblocks, comparing quotes, pooling efforts and engaging with the right partner will create major benefits for higher education organisations approaching IT projects, for both their faculty and their students. This will lay the foundations for positive digital learning and research experiences as the tech landscape of higher education changes.

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