BT iNet, one of the IT services arms of BT Business, has been awarded a £1.3m wireless local area network (WLAN) deployment contract by the University of Nottingham.
BT iNet is installing Cisco Wi-Fi equipment with network management via Cisco Prime and Cisco ISE (identity services engine) technologies.
The project is designed to improve standards across the institution by opening up a host of possibilities for the way teaching and learning, as well as research projects, are conducted.
One major benefit of the new network is that it allows more paperless working for staff, as devices such as tablets and laptops are integrated into learning, becoming part of lectures and allowing initiatives such as instant marking and downloadable curricula, cutting down on wasted paper.
Central to the project is to allow students and staff to connect in the same way, fostering a collaborative approach as well as meeting students’ expectations for levels of connectivity, in order to match those experienced elsewhere.
In addition, the university experience will be improved for students wishing to work in less traditional ways, such as accessing films of previous lectures or simply using mobile devices to work and edit ‘on the go’.
This is possible due to the agility of the new network and its ability to follow a device around the campus seamlessly. The results of this are already being seen in the university’s public spaces such as the atria that, once almost deserted, are now filled with students.
This immediacy of information access will also make the student evaluation of lectures far easier to collate, as it can be submitted online in real-time, allowing the university to improve its services and remain competitive.
The decision to appoint BT iNet was taken following a tender process in which BT was considered to have submitted the most innovative response, exceeding the requirements of the tender document particularly in regard to the proposed technology for the network’s back-end infrastructure.
Alison Clark, IT director, University of Nottingham, said: ‘The University of Nottingham is a Russell Group University and is always looking to improve its standards and ranking. We approached BT because we wanted our students to be able to study wherever they are, and for academics and visitors on campus to be able to work in the cafés, not just in the offices.’
Neil Pemberton, managing director, BT iNet, said: ‘The University of Nottingham is the kind of forward thinking organisation that we really enjoy working with. They quickly recognised the benefit of working with a single IT services provider that is prepared to look at the whole environment and make technological recommendations based on ideas that will work for its people. This collaborative approach has generated some truly exciting possibilities for students and staff alike.’