Aberdeenshire Council readies students for the digital frontier

Aberdeenshire Council is to deliver a wireless system across the council’s entire school estate, its libraries and corporate buildings.

The council identified the need for a “fit for purpose” wireless environment to support an increasing move towards digital learning within schools across Aberdeenshire. The solution was also seen as a key enabler for the council’s new digital strategy, Innovate Aberdeenshire.

Deployment of the Aerohive Networks solution will involve over 4,000 access points across 170 schools and 50 additional sites.

 

The need

Aberdeenshire Council needed a wireless solution to support the increased use of devices within schools. The challenges of serving an area of 2,437 square miles meant that the council’s IT team was unable to monitor and rectify problems in a streamlined and efficient way. Team members would often have to drive huge distances to evaluate problems, but Aerohive’s single-view console provides the necessary visibility to identify issues remotely, decide upon the appropriate action and, ultimately, fix connection problems more effectively.

The successful deployment within schools was key to Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to roll out the system across corporate offices, libraries and locations that provide members of the public with guest access to council services. Aerohive is also being used to underpin the council’s myaccount portal, allowing residents to access a range of services from making school meal payments through to signing up for job alerts.

“The increased use of devices allows us to create a 1:1 learning experience that engages students and aids our teachers,” explained Nicola Graham, head of service (ICT), Aberdeenshire Council: “Our team has a vision that is geared towards digital and we recognised that our old kit wasn’t designed to support e-learning or this increased capacity of devices. We evaluated what pain points needed to be addressed now, but also anticipated what we require our network to do in the future.

“The opportunity to change our network meant we could also evaluate what was being used across our corporate offices and public buildings. The number of users and devices which require wireless access has vastly increased since the current wireless solutions were installed. Corporate and curricular phones and tablets are now in common use, with many users and members of the public now also requiring the facility to enable internet access from their own personal phones, tablets and other devices.

“We noted a 50% increase in internet bandwidth demand over the last three years and it is anticipated that this demand will only continue to grow as schools increase their use of mobile devices in the classroom, staff work more flexibly and further public internet access is provided in public buildings.”

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