Technology in Education

It is widely agreed that technology is the essence of innovation in today’s society. Every day, a new app or gadget is brought to the market that serves to make our lives easier in some way, and the education system is no exception. In fact, technology is moving at such a pace that in schools ICT is no longer a lesson to be taught, but a tool that is imperative for the teaching and learning of other subjects.shutterstock_143627581.jpg

Laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices have become essential learning tools of today’s classroom in all subjects, providing easy and fast fingertip access to a world of knowledge unavailable to previous generations of pupils. With the increase of BYOD – the umbrella term describing the learning method by which students and teachers take in their own mobile device – school supplied computers are becoming less important, possibly in a similar way that the advance of classrooms’ interactive whiteboards rendered blackboards obsolete. Moreover, the concept of 1:1 learning, which refers to every pupil having a device that they can take home at the end of the day and continue to use for both educational and personal purposes, is becoming a growing trend in classrooms across the country.

With BYOD and online learning aids becoming the norm, pupils in lessons will undoubtedly need vast network capacity, as they simultaneously require broadband access, and may also have multiple devices running multiple applications, all using network resources. To support this demand, many schools are beginning to implement a Managed Wireless Network (MWN). A MWN is a system that allows for a more powerful and capacious network through the use of faster access points, a wireless AC standard and band steering.

Furthermore, virtual reality is also a now growing aspect of classroom learning and can contribute a key role in providing students with an active rather than passive experience, through fully immersing them in an engaged learning experience with minimal distractions. From William Shakespeare appearing before students’ eyes in order to provide an analysis of one of his plays as students watch it, to students feeling like they are in a real life laboratory when performing a science experiment, virtual reality enables students to be transported to another world through the use of feedback headsets, tactile gloves and motion sensors, helping create a memorable learning experience.

It is important to consider that the security that schools use to protect their staff and pupils is also evolving, in line with new-generation networks. IP surveillance is paving the way for the future of school security systems, in particular IP surveillance, which is the digitalised, networked HD version of CCTV. With IP surveillance, authorised users can see recorded video from any camera, accessing images via their PC, or any mobile device. Such a system provides the flexibility of multiple views and angles, unlimited storage and easier search and retrieval.
However, a greater amount of technology in classrooms may also have some drawbacks.
For instance, it is unknown if a network will be able to cope with an influx of devices and what upgrades, improvements or complete rebuilds would be necessary to future-proof any systems installed or considered. Not to mention the fact that new technology drives significant change in the relationship between teacher and student and this also needs taking in to account. D-Link networks are easy to set up, use, and understand, serving to overcome this issue.

Inevitably, increased time spent online also leaves children more vulnerable to cyber bullying, offensive material, and radicalisation. Therefore, it is vital that policy emphasises issues such as permitted sites and devices, agreed hours of use, mandatory check-in procedure for student’s devices, and the consequences of inappropriate use. There is also the need for constant reconsideration of policy content and adaption to changing circumstances by renewing it regularly, as technology continues to evolve.

Overall, the future of technology in education appears to be about access, anywhere learning, and collaboration, both locally and globally, as well as a network robust enough to support the new demands placed upon it. With the introduction of many innovative systems and a changing attitude to the importance of technology in the classroom, it is apparent that technology has the power to transform how people learn.

Why your business should upgrade to Wave 2 Standard

Recent government figures have shown that Britain’s productivity rate revealed a gap of 16% compared with the other six members of the G7 group of industrial nations according to international comparisons published by the Office for National Statistics. This productivity gap – which is measured by economic output per worker per hour – indicates that businesses, their employees, and their equipment are not working in the most efficient way possible.

Wave 2 can help to combat this as it enables workforces to connect more and work faster, making them overall much more productive. Paul Routledge, Country Manager of D-Link UK and Ireland, commented ‘If organisations that are dependent on speed of access to information do not upgrade to Wave 2, there is a real danger they could be left behind.’

D-Link Wave 2 Wireless Network

Wave 2 is an addendum to the original 802.11ac wireless specification (Wave 1). It features MU-MIMO technology (Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) that enables access points to talk to multiple devices simultaneously, without experiencing a lag or delay that can hinder productivity.

‘MU-MIMO means that all four antennas can speak to many devices, and that essentially means that a single Wave 2 device acts as multiple Wave 1 devices’ – commented Craig Kirby, a Technical Engineer at D-Link. ‘It is like having a couple of access points in one.’

MU-MIMO allows more devices to be added to the network, with Wave 2 access points allowing up to four devices to be connected at any one time. As the number of devices and cloud-based services that employees use is gradually increasing and is estimated to grow further, businesses are even more dependent on reliable Wi-Fi Solutions. Wave 2 ensures that all employees can achieve a steady and consistent connection.

While Wave 1 allowed for 20MHz, 40MHz and 80MHz channel widths, Wave 2 can accommodate up to 160MHz. The channel width determines how broad the signal is for transferring data: the wider the signal, the more data can pass through. Increasing this channel width therefore increases the speed and throughput of a wireless broadcast.

Furthermore, Wave 2 provides increased flexibility by introducing a fourth spatial stream. As the Wi-Fi Alliance says: ‘Device speeds are proportional to the number of spatial streams’. The more spatial streams that are available, the better the device’s performance will be’ Craig Kirby adds. ‘As you are introducing a fourth spatial stream with Wave 2, this means that you could have an 88MHZ and a 160MHz broadcast at the same time.’

Businesses should be aware of how many devices each of their employees is using. The number of connected devices that are now connected in a business environment has grown exponentially, often leaving wireless networks grinding to a halt. Sharing files or online applications can start to reduce productivity of the work force. Inevitably, this demand is only going to increase as time passes which is why most forward-thinking businesses are looking to upgrade their network before severe problems arise.
Why D-Link?
The breadth of wireless products D-Link has remains unrivalled. As you can see from our consumer portfolio, we are expanding quite substantially this year with a number of consumer routers being launched that feature Wave 2 technology, and we can expect to see the same for business wireless very soon. With 31 years of industry experience behind us, we have a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the market place, which is why businesses across the UK have come to trust D-Link to provide bespoke solutions they can rely on. A UK based team of experts are on hand to help with either technical aspects or sales aspects, making the relationships we hold with our partners invaluable.

Furthermore, all Wave 2 technology featured in our catalogue is backwards compatible, meaning that Wave 2-enabled devices can still connect to previous 802.11 devices, but in this case, they would operate at the speed and functionality of the older technology. MU-MIMO will only operate between other Wave 2- enabled devices or access points, and the data transmission will revert to typical single-user transfer rates when encountering previous-generation devices ensuring that devices using the previous technologies are not rendered obsolete.

In terms of price, Wave 2 devices themselves cost only around 10% more than the older, Wave 2 standard, model devices. This is a small increase in cost for potentially double the data transfer rates. Also, although the cost per unit is greater, less access points are required, which may result in a reduced overall cost. Naturally, the overall cost of upgrading a network to Wave 2 will depend on how much of the core infrastructure needs to be upgraded.

Given increased data transfer speeds, businesses with a large data footprint, such as those that offer online services, should give serious consideration to upgrading their wireless network to the Wave 2 standard. ‘In my opinion’ says Paul Routledge, ‘Wave 2 Wi-Fi solutions are a great opportunity for dealers who collaborate with leading vendors and provide solutions that can benefit their customers’ business.’

Whilst Wave 2 alone does not solve the conundrum of the productivity gap, it certainly forms part of a series of solutions that can help businesses to succeed and increase productivity.

How to help your children maintain an online/offline balance with technology?

Since the beginning of July marked the start of Parental Advice Week, we were interested to see how we could help make the lives of parents that little bit easier. D-Link carried out some nationwide research to get an insight into parents’ observations of their children’s internet habits. With the school holidays approaching, we found that 84% of parents across the UK are aware that children are likely to be spending even more time online during this holiday, as opposed to participating in traditional outdoor activities.

It’s no secret that children having greater access to the internet is inevitable and can have its benefits, with schools increasingly using the internet as a way for students to stay connected from home. Keeping in mind having good internet skills is essential in today’s society with a large percentage of jobs needing computer skills.  Children can use the internet to aid learning, for example when they do not understand something in class, with the use of online videos and research. Additionally, it is helpful for children to be able to retain contact with friends who they may not get to see over the summer break.

However, the ubiquity of digital devices, especially those that are mobile, make it tempting for children to stay connected 24/7, therefore it is important for them to understand when to disconnect and have a digital detox. Too much screen time for children can lead to sleep difficulties, increased risk of obesity, cyber bullying and poor performance at school. Creating healthy habits with technology early on should help them strike the balance independently later in life.

With so much amount of time spent online, parents nowadays (71%) are in agreement that controlling internet access is the most beneficial method to positively influence their child’s behaviour. Our research found that traditional methods of influencing children’s’ behaviour, such as grounding (36%) and cancelling days out (52%) were said to no longer be effective. However, we also found that although restricting internet use is an effective tool, 38% of parents thought it could cause upset between parent and a child compared to 26% for grounding and 14% for cancelling a day out or social plans. This is a testament to how valuable screen time has become to children which further highlights the importance of managing this for the long term benefits.

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One way to create an online/offline balance is by using a D-Link router such as the EXO AC1750 Wi-Fi Router (DIR-869) This makes it easy to manage online activities as it features a number of parental controls that enable you to easily schedule an ‘internet curfew’ in your home, block/allow specific websites and/or devices, and monitor internet activity.

Using the router, you can implement rules such as having predetermined times where electronic devices are not allowed, such as family meal times or bed times. You could also create a specific time each week where the whole family has technology free time. This way, rather than children feeling this is a rule they have to follow they will see that everyone in the family is taking part in an activity together.

Furthermore, online time can be used as a reward or incentive; completing chores for instance can provide an allocation of free time for playing video games or watching pre-approved YouTube channels.

Ultimately, it is important to have an open and flexible communication about why children desire to spend so much time online. You can help open their eyes to the benefits of offline activities that can be equally enjoyable and more rewarding, to help implement a greater online/offline balance, and in turn strengthen the relationship between your child and you.

Parental Advice Week: How to utilise technology for successful parenting

Parenting can be a tricky business. Whether you are a first time parent or already have six children, you will constantly find yourself learning new parenting tricks of the trade. Although technology often comes with a stigma for being a bad influence on kids, it can in fact aid you in taking care of your children. With over 30 years of experience, we at D-Link thought we would share some of our best kept secrets with you in aid of Parental Advice Week by guiding you through some of the ways technology can help you with parenting.

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Increased Safety and peace of mind

With child safety unanimously at the forefront of parents’ minds, technology can play a vital role in maintaining a secure home for your loved ones. The HD 180 Panoramic Camera (DCS-960L) allows parents to keep an eye on their kids, with a single stand alone camera.

Boasting the title of the world’s first 180-degree wirelessAC Wide Eye camera, it offers home security that captures your whole room in 720p, enabling you to see more of your home at a glance.

Never miss an important moment

No parent wants to miss key milestones in their child’s life, but for parents who have busy schedules, this is sometimes inevitable. Worried you might miss your child’s first steps whilst at work? Or simply want a live update of what is happening whilst you’re out? The DCS-960L has the ability to not only live stream straight to your smart phone, but also record so you can capture every significant moment.

Feel as though you are always home

mydlinkThere has never been an easier way to monitor your home, as you can watch through the lens of your Wi-Fi connected camera, from wherever you are, with the mydlink Home app

What’s more,the app works with other mydlink home 

devices, meaning you can enable push notifications whenever movement is detected, or set schedules for when devices turn on.

100KT.pngEnjoy peace of mind and save time

The handy Smart Home HD Starter Kit (DCH-100KT) includes a smart plug (DSP- W125), a Wi-Fi Motion Sensor (DCH- 2150) and a Monitor HD (DCS-935L).

Although complete peace of mind when you’re away from your children is difficult to achieve, the motion sensor in this kit makes it easier. It sends push notifications to your phone that will alert you whenever motion is detected, enabling you to know when a door is opened or closed, and to monitor off-limit areas like medicine cabinets.

Additionally, monitor HD allows you to see your home in HD 720p- seeing everything in detail, even when zoomed in, so you can always relax about what is happening at home.

When you’re a parent, every day is a busy one and every second of the day counts. With the smart plug in this kit you can turn your devices on and off from your mydlink App, saving you countless trips back home when you forget to turn off any devices!

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Keep your children protected online

Whilst the internet provides a range of advantages to children’s lives and acts as an essential resource to aid modern learning, it is important to not forget the dangers that it exposes children to. The EXO AC1750 Wi-Fi-Router (DIR-869) helps you to combat these issues as it features a number of parental controls that enable you to easily schedule an
‘internet curfew’ in your home, block/allow specific websites and/or devices, and monitor internet activity. These parental controls can be managed from your smart phone for maximum convenience.

Ultimately, it is evident that technology can make parenting a more pleasant experience, and with many of D-Link’s products being designed with the security of the home in mind, you can be assured that your most precious possessions and family members are protected, whilst you stay connected from wherever you may be.

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DAP-1330 Range Extender- http://www.dlink-direct.co.uk/dap-1330

Omna Camera- https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/product/HKXW2ZM/A/d-link-omna-180-cam-hd-camera?fnode=504a0ecbcf23f19da5291a26a9b1045e9480763a89a23c64d5d70de75e5326fefe2bde6e760f8739a3772071ce26c47bdd33fad4fbc6c23978991765aa1fde72ea8604764ba1563b3aefd576211a5129133fc4c397a82899f74d186e6743f313

DCH-107KT Home Security Kit – http://www.dlink-direct.co.uk/dch-107kt

DWR-921 4G Router- http://www.dlink-direct.co.uk/dwr-921

DIR-895L Gaming Router- http://www.dlink-direct.co.uk/dir-895l

 

How Can D-Link’s Smart Home Make Your Life Easier?

As a new contender to the market, the uptake on Smart Home devices is growing daily. Adopting this new technology allows you to choose new devices that give you significantly more control over how your home operates, increasing home security, safety and functionality, as well as saving you money due to decreased energy consumption and ease of general upkeep.

Furthermore, through the application of smart products, you can enjoy more control over your home’s functions from anywhere in the world, via your mobile device. Do you leave the house wondering whether you left your iron on? Did you remember to turn off your hair straighteners before you left? Did the children leave the lights on? Did you remember to close the back door on that balmy summer evening? Nowadays, you have no need to worry as you can swiftly power off various connected appliances in seconds, thanks to a smart home app on your mobile device.

With these advantages in mind, we thought we would highlight some benefits that you can take advantage of with our range of smart home products, which deliver new ways to gain more control of the new functions available for your automated home. To enjoy these, we’ve collaborated with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa range and If This Then That (IFTTT). Essentially, IFTTT is the language of the Smart Home, allowing you to build your own device ‘recipes’ to create interactions around the home. You can pair a range of our mydlink Home devices with other IFTTT enabled products and apps to do a wide range of really useful things around your home.

One truly exciting Connected Home enhancement we have made in recent times is the compatibility between our popular Wi-Fi smart plugs and Amazon’s Echo/Dot. This compatibility gives you an intuitive way to control your home simply using the sound of your voice. Plus, thanks to our compatibility with IFTTT, even if you don’t own an intelligent personal assistant, you have no need to worry; you can still set the lights to turn off automatically when you leave the house, or have the coffee maker turn on and make you freshly brewed coffee as the sun rises using your mobile.

Other significant advances have been made in security. With D-Link’s door and window sensors you will be alerted if you’ve left a window or door open. Installed alarms are also becoming a thing of the past now that motion detectors and a multitude of home security cameras can be linked and controlled from wherever you and your smart phone may be. In fact, security of your home no longer needs to be a worry and one quick and easy way to get up and running is with the Smart Home Security Kit. This clever bundle allows you to monitor your home from anywhere in the world, safe in the knowledge that your treasured belongings are being protected. Comprising a connected home hub, a door and window sensor, a siren and a monitor – all managed by the mydlink Home smartphone and tablet app – the kit provides fantastic peace of mind; it’s not just smart home technology, but smarter and now more secure home technology.

There’s really are no end of commands that can be actioned to ensure you make the most out of your D-Link Smart Home products, to make your life that little bit easier, more secure and much more reassuring.

To learn more about the IFTTT commands available, please visit this link:

https://ifttt.com/dlink_smart_plug

D-Link’s smart plug is now currently available as part of our smart home starter kit package, which can be purchased via this link:

https://www.dlink-direct.co.uk/dch-100kt

Interoperability to drive the networking solution market in 2017

Networking

Interoperability and opportunity are set to define the 2017 operating environment for the networking solutions market, fuelled by a more eclectic range of consumer channels and a demand for integrated, agile, and accessible solutions.

With a multi-channel retail environment raising customer expectations to new heights, buyers are just as likely to buy their technology in DIY or stationary stores, as they are specialist departments. This renewed choice and fluidity has been compounded by the explosion of online retail.

It’s a scenario ripe for potential and one that demands ever more flexibility from the entire channel eco-system if it is to be fully exploited and new routes to market progressed.

One such opportunity is the fast-evolving smart home market, which if the many ambitious growth forecasts of industry commentators bear out, will see connected living become increasingly mainstream. This growing appetite is reflected in our focus at D-Link as we look to build on a rapidly expanding portfolio of products from water to window sensors which can be controlled from a smart phone or tablet, offering simple, secure and cost-saving benefits which we are keen to convey to the man in the street.

It’s an area where attention usually centres on the all-singing and dancing innovation, but of equal merit is the actual enabler, which makes the magic happen. The humble router is a case in point; the bread and butter of our offering, bolstered by our 30-year track record in leading this market, we have seen it underpin a vast wealth of applications and now acts as a gateway to multiple smart solutions, powering game-changing innovation.

Integration becomes equally important around this technology, driving solutions that sync with others, while more broadly teaming up with other vendors to boost accessibility and operability, a cohesion which is less likely to be achieved by a disparate range of apps.

A case in point, is D Link’s recent introduction of the first Apple HomeKit compatible camera. HomeKit – Apple’s single ecosystem for smart home products is a prime example of a platform built to enable vendors to collaborate, creating a smart home platform in which products from multiple vendors are interoperable with each other. Another prime example is D-Link’s four-way partnership with N Power, Nest Labs and Yale, an arrangement which saw us pool our collective strengths in heating, security, energy and wireless networking solutions to create a family of connected home products. Trialled as a fully integrated home automation offering across 300 homes in the Midlands, it is the kind of collaboration which can bring connected living to the mass market, challenging assumptions that this state of the art innovation is the sole domain of the wealthy.

Indeed, integration and accessibility is a reoccurring theme that will underpin our broader efforts this year. In a climate of tighter IT budgets, where the customer expects more bang for their buck, solutions that work straight out of the box and can be integrated with existing infrastructure have never been more important. It’s an expectation that manifests itself in

different ways across both the business and consumer world. The former expects scalability and easy configuration so that infrastructure can be tweaked or overhauled in a simple, low cost way to adapt to challenges and demands, while being future-proof and able to be used in different applications. For the consumer, it is about solutions that can be used in different ways to optimise the value, such as the baby monitor that doubles up as a pet cam.

Equally high on the agenda in our hyper connected world, is a wireless offering that meets many demands, in terms of the opportunities for smaller resellers in areas such as bed and breakfasts to the large-scale examples of schools, hospitals and large businesses, specifically the pubs and restaurant sector.

Increasingly we turn to the Cloud, an area that offers real growth potential, powering solutions such as Central Wi-Fi Manager (CWM). Designed to thrive in demanding and multi-site installations and enable the management of 500 APs through a single, secure portal, it’s a type of technology with broader implications; by enabling resellers to manage customers Wi-Fi externally, it enhances the scope of their offering as resellers evolve into more of a managed service provider role.

With our growth as a business inextricably linked to the achievements of our resellers, this type of development which adds value to their offering beyond simply product provision is a key focus driving the kind of differentiation which will raise their head above the parapet in a crowded market. This relationship will be nurtured with technical support from site surveys, training, sales and marketing

Conversely, the opportunity that the demand for wireless and 24/7 online throws up one of the market’s biggest challenges – Security. Ensuring our solutions are robust and watertight, while delivering what the customer expects is paramount. It’s a balancing act of driving innovation while containing the risk posed by increased accessibility and one that the entire channel will have to negotiate as it gears up to capitalise on a market buzzing with opportunity.