Smart Schools Make for Smarter, Safer Students

Smart Schools

It’s officially back-to-school season. This year, the standard updates of refreshed school supplies and fall-focused clothing are being complemented by smart building technology, which is being implemented in institutions across the world.

With a clear vision of how smart buildings can enhance tenant experiences, including living and working environments, one could argue that these same accommodations –  proper lighting, ventilation, energy, safety, connectivity, and more – could stand to benefit our students the most.

Smart building technology has already transformed major airports, corporate offices, and modern homes, and is now being effectively adapted to meet the needs of the school system and its ‘connected classrooms’.

Multiple studies have been conducted showcasing correlations between crowded classrooms and lower performance, attendance, and student disposition for example. And schools, which are often non-profit and do not have the large budgets of enterprises, are consistently seeking ways to cut costs without jeopardizing the safety or hindering the learning experience of their students.

Safety, especially on large open campuses, is a crucial matter that can’t be overlooked by university or education leaders. With more technology comes the ability to respond quickly and prevent damage or incidents before they occur. For example, technology can be implemented to help with anything from preparing for fire or weather-related incidents to preventing school shootings.

Pairing Radio Frequency Identification with IoT enabled devices is one method that can empower school security to monitor campuses effectively. Key technologies, including people counting, can also provide further security measures with a greater awareness of students’ attendance and real-time locations. IoT can also aid in setting rules to send alerts promptly to students, professors, and parents in times of emergency.

Schools are even using IoT to prevent bullying and combat smoking, or vaping, in schools. They are implementing technology and sensors in hard-to-monitor areas, such as bathrooms and locker rooms where these incidents often occur.2

One key area where school leaders are taking notice of the advantage of IoT based technology is energy. 59% of school administrators agree that the conservation of energy through any means is an important area of focus1 as they aim to make their campuses more efficient and greener.

The implementation of smart building tech into these educational institutions allows administrators to track and monitor energy or lighting usage to ensure proper consumption. Sensors can be implemented into shared spaces and classrooms to monitor when these spaces are actually in use and turn off HVAC, lighting, and more when they are not.

More intuitive and common applications of IoT technology which can help students’ growth also include the ability to provide stable Internet connection to empower them to use devices in classrooms to enhance their studies or communicate seamlessly with others who are remote or abroad. Curriculums are becoming more reliant on digital learning. A digital-first teaching focus is expected to continue becoming the norm in classrooms worldwide.2

The correlation between academic success and a suitable learning environment makes the application of IoT in schools indisputable when it comes to the impact of its implementation.

Additionally, administrators or facility managers can benefit from IoT-empowered predictive maintenance. Sensors can help these professionals ensure that all school equipment is functioning properly and receive alerts to troubleshoot potential problems before they occur. Some of these capabilities include tracking the accumulation of snow on a university’s roof to prevent collapse, receiving notifications to repair faulty classroom systems, and gaining data on their overall facilities and students during populated times or school functions.

When schools are able to realize the substantial cost savings which comes from the implementation of smart building technology (in addition to the added security and comfort benefits for students), administrators can then put these funds toward more helpful uses – scholarships for students who need them, restoration of dilapidated buildings, replacement of classroom or gym equipment, and more.

Even schools with smaller budgets shouldn’t shy away from implementing IoT applications into their 2020 plans. With options to start small and scale, even local high schools can reap the uses and benefits that many large scale universities have already employed.

1US Department of Energy Guide to Operating and Maintaining EnergySmart Schools
2IoT World Today: Smart Building Sensors for Schools and Vaping Detection, Too

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