In our recent blog posts, we’ve been looking at the roles AI and Machine Learning play in different industries, and how this technology is making an impact for network managers, business managers, partners, and customers. We’ve already covered Retail and Hospitality, and will be looking at education today.
Over the past decade, a lot has changed in the lives of students and teachers. Mobility is everywhere, and it’s long been understood that 1:1 programs are the norm for school districts who are wanting to prepare their students for jobs that haven’t even been dreamed of yet. As schools add new opportunities for teachers and students to gain additional knowledge, we need to create more time in the day. This concept is not something you hear about a lot, but any teacher reading this article will understand what we’re talking about. As teachers have been expected to integrate technology into their lessons, they have to spend additional time lesson planning. Wouldn’t it be great if a technology came along to give teachers back more time?
Grading Automation is Not Replacing Human Grading – Yet.
While AI and Machine Learning may not ever be able to 100 percent replace human grading, it’s certainly getting a lot closer. It’s now possible for teachers to automate grading for multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank testing, and automated grading of student writing may not be far behind. Today, essay-grading software is still being developed and not quite up to the task yet, but will certainly improve in the coming years.
Customizing and Adjusting Education Plans for Students
Students are at all different places on the learning curve, and AI and Machine Learning technology will be able to auto-adjust curriculum up and down as students progress. If a student needs to repeat a lesson, the system will automatically be able to make that recommendation. Homework can also be customized base on the student’s needs. If a student is at their recommended level, they may even receive the night off.
Addressing Problems Early-on Through AI-Driven Capabilities
Students create thousands of data points through the years, and AI-powered technology will be able to make correlations between early indicators and end results. With this knowledge, educators will be able to address problems early and as soon as they arise, so students can get back on track.
We are excited about the possibilities of how AI and Machine Learning is impacting a new generation of students. As we are able to provide more data, Machine Learning will make our schools even more efficient and intelligent.
We’ve talked a lot about AI and Machine Learning recently, and just last week we kicked off a series looking at how this technology is impacting specific industries. Click here to start part 1.
Aerohive’s Mat Edwards, who works on our Product Marketing team, was recently a guest on The Tech Blog Writer podcast to discuss the F.A.S.T. future of enterprise networking.
F.A.S.T. Networking Is:
Flexibility in deployment, hardware, licensing, expansion, and upgrade options.
Actionable Insights driven by ML/AI to better understand and automatically characterize and optimize infrastructure and clients.
Security across the network, to protect against the rising tide of cyberattacks.
Technology innovations that provide new features, functionality, comparative insights and hardware developed and delivered at Cloud-speed to meet ever-increasing demands placed on the infrastructure by an ever-increasing amount and diversity of clients connecting to the infrastructure.
“Our vision for the future of enterprise networking, and these new technologies we’re launching tackle those challenges head-on. Aerohive is giving the enterprise the flexibility, insights, security and advanced technology they need for their networks to successfully support their growing businesses today, and tomorrow.” – Mat Edwards
We recently kicked off a series where we explore AI and Machine Learning, and how they will impact cloud-networking. Enterprise IT departments have been tasked with securing their networks for end-user devices, payment systems (PCI compliance), and IoT devices. In the hospitality industry, they must also be ready for guest access when it comes to work and entertainment purposes. Over the past few years, guests have gone from needing a wired internet connection for their corporate laptop to requiring fast Wi-Fi access for laptops, tablets, smartphones and wearables, as well as wanting access to streaming services on their in-room TV.
From an end-user perspective, these needs seem minor. For IT departments tasked with handling a 6x increase in device capacity on top of the additional bandwidth requirements, it’s not an easy task. In addition to increasing capacity of their Wi-Fi network, they also have to be able to securely authenticate, onboard, and manage these devices. For streaming devices connected to their TV, they must auto log out users upon checkout. AI and Machine Learning will enable hospitality to better service their guests and make overall operations more efficient.
Implementing a Smart Energy Management Platform
As Hotels move towards greater energy efficiency with cloud-based software, smart energy management platforms supported by IoT devices will be able to gather real-time information on energy usage, monitor temperature, humidity, air pressure, and air quality inside the rooms and lobby areas.
Energy management software can also track weather data and utility rates, while monitoring occupancy to adjust HVAC and lighting systems. As a result, these systems provide property owners with energy use patterns. Some hotels are now offering reward points for opting out of house cleaning during multi-night stays. With the usage of Machine Learning, hotel managers can offer guests discounts, a free drink, or bonus reward points by showing how their savings can impact the environment. AI technology can automatically optimize temperatures across the hotel when demand (and prices) spike upwards.
Customizing Your Guest Experience
Another area that AI technology can impact hospitality is through the usage of a customized guest experience. For frequent travelers, they likely follow the same patterns. From a 6 a.m. wake-up call, to a certain breakfast meal, or automatic device connection, AI technology will allow hotel operators to know their customers and be able to better serve them. They’ll be able to automatically learn what they like, and how they like it. As they learn what their guests preferences are, they’ll be able to recommend additional things based on the data learned from other guests’ behavior. They will also be better equipped to prepare for guest arrival, such as having the temperature preset, the TV turned to a certain channel, curtains at a particular spot, or ready to recommend a local running route, or popular brewery.
AI and Machine Learning technology will enable hotel operators to provide experience for their guests, which will drive repeat stays and, in turn, provide a great return on investment. As travelers desire better in-room technology along with a customized experience, cloud-managed networks will be an essential component for IT departments.
Retail has continued to push back against e-commerce, thanks to new technology that has drawn shoppers back in. AI technology will enable marketing departments to analyze store returns, receipts, and loyalty cards to predict future demand for apparel and accessories, as well as manage inventory. AI, combined with in-store Wi-Fi, can help optimize planogram location and displays by correlating traffic patterns to purchases.
Intelligent data has long been a silver bullet for e-commerce companies, and now brick and mortar retail has access to the same technology. On the hit TV show, The Office, Robert California said something very profound. He stated that when consumers want to buy something, if they know what they want and at what price they are willing to spend, then they go to the internet to look for it. When they want personal service or aren’t sure want they need, they’ll go into retail stores and are willing to pay higher prices. In an era where e-commerce has devalued personal service, companies who can combine the best of in-store technology with amazing customer service are going to be well prepared to thrive in the future.
Discovering Patterns in Customer’s Behavior:
By using AI and Machine Learning technology, brick and mortar retail environments can learn more about their customers. When provided with sales reports, Machine Learning can discover patterns in customer’s buying behavior and learn what they buy together (and when). Based on this information, AI can provide you with suggestions on what items to put next to each other in your store to get your customers to purchase additional items (and increase units per transactions). These recommendations are not just assumptions as they are based on previous behavior, so they are guaranteed to perform.
Acquiring More Customers:
AI will also enable retailers to study likely outcomes of different pricing strategies so they can come up with the best promotional offers, acquire more customers, and drive sales growth. Instead of wondering “why did sales spike last week?,” AI and Machine Learning will be able to correlate microtrends (promotions, economic data, weather, time of year, etc.) with sales of certain products.
Controlling Inventory Costs and Saving:
One final component of retail that we wanted to mention around AI is inventory management. Controlling inventory costs can make or break profitability of a retail business. Using AI technology to analyze past sales data to inform you on how many units of a new product to order by predicting customer patterns.
Next-generation retail stores are continuing to leverage new technology to operate more efficiently and make better decisions. Using AI and Machine Learning is going to be a key component for success retail businesses in 2020 and beyond.
AI and Machine Learning are set to make a huge impact on enterprise networking over the next few years. As we continue to see exponential growth in the number of devices on our networks, we need additional tools to help manage and optimize how networks function. With the current IoT explosion, IT departments are looking for tools to finetune networks to handle IoT devices while still ensuring a stable connection for end-user devices.
What is AI and Machine Learning?
Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science concerned with simulating “intelligent” behavior in computers. Machine learning refers to a branch of AI where computer systems are fed large amounts of data, which they use to learn how to execute a specific task. Think of Machine Learning as a way to look at large data sets that can then reinforce AI decisions made by computer processors.
How does AI and Machine Learning Impact Networking?
As we continue to ask more of our networking technology, AI and Machine Learning will help IT departments be proactive in responding to new threats, new services, and new trends. No longer will you have to react to problems on the back end. AI technology, fed by Machine Learning, will enable network management systems to proactively alert you to new problems, help analyze new trends, and make smart recommendations.
Up Next: Key Industry Use-Cases
Over the next few weeks, we will explore how AI and Machine Learning will impact education, retail, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and more.
At Aerohive, we love the Wi-Fi community and all the cooperative learning opportunities that are available. In a recent episode of the WLAN Pros Podcast, Aerohive’s David Coleman talks with Keith Parsons about some of the different Wi-Fi Conferences they have attended over the years and discuss the differences between them.
As companies go through various seasons of their growth, IT is expected to be ready to respond at any given time. If the business expands, IT has to expand. If the business is moving to multi-site, IT has to respond with solutions. IT departments have must be ready to respond to anything but also maintain its existing infrastructure. As we talk to customers and partners, it’s clear cloud networking is the solution that allows IT to be nimble and ready to react, while also maintaining a high level of availability to network services.
When you deploy networking hardware with onsite controllers or management systems, you have to plan for power costs, maintenance costs, and deployment costs. With cloud-managed networking tools, you get to avoid all of that headache and expense.
We operate the data center, we apply the software and security updates, and we handle the ongoing maintenance. It frees your organization up to focus on what your vision and mission are instead of spinning up new storage clusters.
Plan for Growth
With traditional networking tools, company growth can also create complications. How do you handle adding a new campus? How do you merge multiple buildings into a single management system? How do you handle remote employees?
With cloud-networking, these problems get solved. If you need to double the size of your network, you can do that. HiveManager can grow as you grow. If you need to triple the number of access points, you can do that without having to plan for additional onsite management hardware. You’ll just purchase the additional access network products (switches, access points, routers, etc.), and then you are off and running.
Focus on the Future
By leveraging a cloud-managed networking stack, you get to take advantage of the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Because we see the trends across all of our customers, it allows us to proactively improve your network experience, fixing problems before they affect the end user. AI and ML services allow networks to be managed using insights driven by network performance data, which is collected frequently. With rapid IoT growth and a vastly growing number of uses for enterprise networks beyond the traditional notebook/tablet/smartphone use-case, we expect AI to keep pace with the rapid changes enterprise networks continue to undergo.
Cloud networking and cloud architectures are the unifying factors that enable AI and ML. Continuous operation and real time innovation, as they relate to the cloud, mean operations of applications and data services are continuously available, without interruption, and that delivery of releases, updates, and patches are fully automated.
During ISTE 2019, we are happy to publish a new customer success story with Brockport Central School District. The Brockport Central School District is a 1:1 school from kindergarten through 12th grade. On average, they see 3,800 unique devices (a mixture of iPads and Windows laptops) on their network per day. Prior to choosing Aerohive as their enterprise Wi-Fi provider, they were relying on consumer-grade access points that were spread throughout the campus. These APs were time consuming to install, manage, and troubleshoot. As they expanded their mobility plans for the classroom, the IT department would need a solution that was enterprise class, but also easy to install and manage.
“HiveManager gives us great visibility into our entire campus. We know what is happening, where it’s happening, and who’s doing it. We can make a policy change to address new issues and push it out campus wide with a few clicks of a mouse.”
– Wayne Rickman, IT Manager
Going forward, Brockport is working on two Aerohive-related projects, including integrating their Dell switches in HiveManager so they can manage their entire network from a single dashboard. They are also planning to purchase and deploy Aerohive A3, which will provide enterprise-grade functionality for securing, managing and controlling all devices on the network. Brockport’s IT team will use Aerohive A3 to manage onboarding of devices and to know when new devices are added to the network.
We loved hearing how our products have enabled their IT team to take control of their network while not adding onsite management hardware.
Aerohive is excited to be at ISTE 2019 this week in Philadelphia, PA at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Our cloud-managed networking products excel in many industries such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality. Aerohive has long been a favorite of many network administrators in education as well.
ISTE attendees can stop by Booth #2652 for a demo of HiveManager, Aerohive’s complete cloud-enabled network intelligence platform, which provides analytics and insights powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. In addition to a HiveManager demo, visitors can also participate in the popular game of Wi-Fi Feud, view Aerohive’s cloud-managed NAC solution, and see the new Wi-Fi 6 gear up close. During expo hours, an Aerohive K-12 customer will be available to speak with any ISTE attendees who are evaluating WLAN vendors.
Aerohive’s solutions for K–12 allow IT departments to build fast, stable, and secure networks while providing a great experience for teachers and students. IT departments will spend less time “fixing” the network while teachers and students will spend less time dealing with slow connections or inability to access necessary network resources.
Here are four reasons why Aerohive is the perfect partner for educators.
Keep Your Network Management in the Cloud
When Wi-Fi was first introduced in the late 1990s, access points had to be managed individually. From there, we moved to hardware controllers in order to manage all of the devices at once. Controllers were needed in the early 2000s because the processing power in access points couldn’t handle the processing power by themselves. They were connected back to a controller to handle processing and policy enforcement. Controllers created a single failure point, and a single choke point. As technology progressed, some companies built controllers in the cloud, but just moved the failure/choke point offsite. There is another way…
Aerohive, on the other hand, built the best of both worlds. Our access points, switches, and branch routers can all be managed from a cloud interface, accessed anywhere in the world, but all of the access points are distributed and talk directly to each other. This distributed model creates efficiencies for IT departments (ease of management without onsite hardware) without adding new failure points in a network. It’s having your cake and eating it, too.
Easily Secure Your Wi-Fi While Onboarding Users
We’ve written about our Private Pre-Shared Key in a previous blog, and it’s an imperative tool when building K–12 Wi-Fi networks. Regardless of your deployment model (BYOD, school owned, etc.), PPSK will work with all devices. With PPSK, users will connect to the network as they would at their house. However, IT will be able to limit the number of devices each student or teacher can connect, as well as revoke a user without impacting others. If you are using a single pre-shared key (PSK), revoking a single device would mean that an IT department would need to change the key for every device. This process could take days or even weeks depending on the size of the network. With PPSK, you’re done with just a few clicks of your mouse.
As your school looks to deploy IoT devices or have even more control on how devices onboard onto your network, you’ll also want to check out Aerohive A3 for a cloud-managed network access control solution.
Upgrade and Update on Your Schedule
Because of Aerohive’s distributed model, you have a high-level of flexibility when it comes to upgrades and updates. With many enterprise networks, you’ll be limited on upgrading access points when new models come out. Aerohive was the first vendor to ship 802.11ax / Wi-Fi 6 access points last year. Existing Aerohive customers could make use of the new technology by swapping out APs in areas they wanted to upgrade. Existing 802.11ac APs can work with Wi-Fi 6 APs. There is no onsite management system that requires upgrading or replacing.
You can also update your APs on your own schedule. Instead of having to upgrade all access points at once when new firmware is released, Aerohive’s HiveManager allows you to upgrade a single access point (or groups of access points) at a time in order to test the changes in your environment.
If your school moves into a season of expansion where you are adding buildings, Aerohive can grow right alongside you. You’ll just need to add switches and access points to the new building, and you’ll easily add them to HiveManager to be managed with the rest of your network.
Block Apps and Services at the Edge
Application Visibility and Control, or AVC, is one feature out of the multiple elements that should be considered when you are looking at a Wi-Fi solution. AVC enables the ability to see what applications are being used on your network, including peer-to-peer applications, who is using them, how much bandwidth they are consuming, and the ability to take action to ensure that your bandwidth is being used in the way that you intended.
The legacy method of providing application control was to simply whitelist or blacklist traffic. Today’s teachers and students will not stand for such absolute policies. If they cannot get to the desired site, or use a particular application, their assumption is that the network is down. Rather than prohibit certain sites or apps, you may choose to simply limit the amount of bandwidth that can be consumed by them. Another way to get to the same end is to use quality of service (QoS) rules to prioritize preferred traffic. With Aerohive’s access points and switches, you can prioritize key school applications and services above all other content.
As with everything Aerohive does, AVC happens directly on each AP. HiveManager isn’t involved in processing the traffic, though.
Don’t Take Our Word For It
In a recent HiveCast episode, we discussed how Aerohive finished strong with the 2019 E-Rate Form 471 funding requests filed for our products and services increased by approximately 55 percent year-over-year to more than $37 million, as reported by E-Rate Profit Works.
Find out how school districts unify their campuses with Aerohive’s integrated and complete wired and wireless product portfolio, and secure access management.
“We are seeing clear signs that the US Education market is returning to growth as it looks for better ways to fold technology into curriculum, and as it starts the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6,” said David Flynn, chief executive officer, Aerohive Networks. “With the increased proliferation of digital learning technologies in the classroom, administrators have quickly realized the immediate need for better and simpler choices to keep their students safe while collaborating online. Our Cloud-managed AI- and ML-driven network architecture makes deploying, securing, and managing student devices simple and secure for schools and libraries.”
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) estimates that hotels represent more than 5 billion square feet of space in the US alone. Spaces that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With such a presence, green technology and sustainability need to be top of mind, especially as society looks for more ways to protect the resources our environment provides. Fortunately, great strides and new technology, ideas, and procedures are presenting huge opportunities to support sustainability within the hospitality industry.
Over the years, hotels have implemented water-saving programs, power conservation projects, food waste and recycling initiatives, eco-friendly building and design construction, and more. Now, thanks to technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent network power solutions, hotels can monitor and manage more devices than ever before, allowing for careful reallocation of energy resources with an intelligent, automated system. Aerohive’s Cloud Business Intelligence Platform, HiveManager, is one such solution that helps hotels to conserve and meter AP power and operation by providing management and guest device insights for Wi-Fi access points (APs) and network equipment.
To continue this discussion on promoting smart, clean, and resilient energy for hotels, Aerohive is announcing a partnership with Clean Energy Economy Minnesota (CEEM) at HITEC in Minneapolis this year. Soon, all Aerohive platforms will use machine learning, guest data, and power-intelligent APs to allow customers to limit electricity consumption when full Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t necessary. The aim – to empower the hospitality industry to make positive strides toward sustainability and green technology.
*In lieu of booth giveaways at the HITEC Minneapolis Conference, Aerohive will be making a $5000 donation to Clean Energy Economy MN. CEEM is focused on sharing the stories of clean energy businesses and employees and is committed to working across industries and political divides to support a prosperous economy for Minnesotans.