Posted on February 25, 2018

As the Internet continues to develop and mature in Qatar and the rapid speed at which mobile devices, mobile apps and IoT are entering the market, it is no surprise we are seeing a transformation in the country’s education sector with the emergence of e-learning and the ‘Smart classroom’ of the present and the future.

Against this scenario Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company is aiming to play a big role in the digital transformation aspirations of the educational sector in Qatar by providing innovative mobility solutions for the next generation wireless classroom. Mr. Wesam Alassaf, Enterprise Manager - Qatar at HPE Aruba says, “In line with Qatar’s National vision 2030 in the human development field, the E-Learning program initiative was launched to develop the educational process and improve the quality of instruction and learning. The ICT industry is expected to play a central role in driving this positive change and public and private sector institutions will undoubtedly be looking to embrace the latest technology innovations.”

“At the very heart of the ‘smart classroom’ is the wireless infrastructure, the primary mode of access to high-speed internet for most mobile users, which acts as a platform for innovation – helping educational institutions deliver new services and transform e-learning. The next generation wireless classroom lets everyone thrive when they use Wi-Fi enabled devices and apps that create a richer learning experience. Aruba being a world leader in Wired & Wireless networking, is taking the lead in working with the government and a number of educational institutions in Qatar and introducing the latest technologies that help build the optimized Digital Classroom for mobile first learning,” says Mr. Alassaf.

The innovations include the latest Wave 2 802.11ac Wireless Access Points (APs) with public cloud, private cloud and on-premises management providing gigabit speed, secure and seamless internet access across the entire educational campus. Teachers and students are increasingly using video, gaming and even social media to enrich learning and collaboration. This potentially exposes them to malicious and/or inappropriate content. Aruba Policy Enforcement Firewall (PEF) delivers intelligent mobile security based on its knowledge of mobile apps, devices and malicious URLs. Aruba supports the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. Students, teachers, staff, and guests connecting to the school network with a variety of personal devices create a tough challenge for IT. Aruba ClearPass simplifies device onboarding with self-enrollment and grants network access privileges based on user roles, device types and location.

Karthikeyan Gunasekar, Solution Sales Enablement, EMEA at HPE Aruba says, “Our classrooms are changing. We finally see the impact of the digital revolution. We are now seeing the learning environment reflect the work environment that we are preparing the students for. Classrooms are shifting away from rows of desks, to an environment that promotes collaboration between students, teachers and other devices - it’s what we call the Optimized Digital Classroom. It’s a classroom that supports 21st century learning, with 1:1 initiatives, and project-based learning. It provides anytime/anywhere access to cloud-based apps like Apple, Google Apps for education and Office 365. It’s a classroom that easily provides guest access and student collaboration, while also being able to prioritize critical learning apps such as online assessments.”

Students are tech savvy. And as they become older, it is rare to find one who does not own a smart phone/device. Student-owned devices can be leveraged to engage them for non-academic use cases such as indoor wayfinding and location tracking. As improving campus security becomes front and center, engaging with students on their smart devices can help improve campus safety. Aruba Beacons, Aruba Sensors, and the Meridian App provide school systems a complete solution for mobile engagement for the campus. Beacons placed across the campus find registered mobile devices and allow for students to interact with customized wayfinding applications built by Meridian. Additionally, these technologies give campus administration the ability to see where students are located and send push notifications to students in all or specific locations. Aruba’s mobile engagement solutions help institutions engage with students, encourage school participation and ultimately improve the quality of life and student experiences during their school and college years.

“We are very proud to be actively involved in a lot of ‘smart classroom’ developments across Qatar and look forward to offering our expertise and technology to government entities and educational institutions in the country. As IoT comes of age, it is important for organizations to look for network solutions that provide the connectivity and management capabilities that IoT devices will require as they become more pervasive, as well as secure their infrastructure against the new threats these devices can potentially introduce,” concludes Mr. Alassaf.