Aberdeenshire Council in Scotland has selected Aerohive Networks to deliver a wireless system across the council’s entire school estate, its libraries and corporate buildings. The solution was seen as a key enabler to support the move towards digital learning within schools and for the council’s new Digital Strategy, Innovate Aberdeenshire.
Deployment will involve over 4,000 access points across 170 schools and 50 additional sites making it Aerohive’s biggest UK roll-out to date. It also serves as a prime example of the company’s successful enablement of the Council’s digital transformation initiative, the company believes.
The driver behind Aberdeenshire Council’s decision was the need to find a wireless solution to support the increased use of devices within schools. It concluded that Aerohive’s architecture could address key pressure points at the current time, but it also offered the necessary flexibility to meet the changing needs in years to come.
The council recognised the benefits of Aerohive’s cloud-based solution. 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 council said it also selected Aerohive with a view to the future, and the likelihood of expanding its school estate, as the system offers flexibility to scale the network as required.
Aerohive’s 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.
The Wi-fi network 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, Vice President of SOCITM and Chair of SOCITM Scotland.
“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.
Graham continued: “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,” said Graham.
“But it’s more than just connectivity that was required. We needed a solution that would create operational efficiencies throughout our whole team and streamlined processes that would save us time and money. The central management that Aerohive provided coupled with its fit-for-purpose network cloud infrastructure meant that we were able to address these key requirements.
”What started out as an initiative for our schools quickly evolved into a roll out across a number of different locations. Aerohive worked really well with us to give us the technical assurance that we needed to ensure we had the coverage and management we needed. The team also met some tight deadlines to avoid disruption during term time, allowing for the upgrade to be as seamless as possible,” Graham concluded.