Businesses and Schools Have Begun Transition to the New Normal

Bob Nilsson Director, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 19 May 2020

How the network is enabling this transition

We sense that normal isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human. — Charles Eisenstein

When the full impact of the coronavirus epidemic became apparent, businesses and schools were forced to take swift action. They restricted physical access to facilities and provided emergency network connectivity. Healthcare providers created drive-up tents. Retailers set up outdoor shopper sites. Educators quickly expanded their Wi-Fi coverage into parking lots. Professional sports jumped in to help. Our own Extreme Networks IT department sprang into action to insure ongoing employee connectivity. No one really knew how long the emergency measures would have to remain effect.

We are coming to understand a new normal, one that will remain in effect for the rest of the year, perhaps for the foreseeable future. This new normal involves extensive use of home offices, remote learning, monitoring and controlling building and room occupancy, disinfecting buildings with robotics and IoT, and deploying infrastructure to assist with contact tracing. A common thread in all of these aspects of the new normal is secure, cloud-driven networking.

Agile study and work environments for education

In higher education, the concept of HyFlex teaching, or multi-modal courses that combine online and face-to-face students, is by far the most common teaching scenario guiding fall return-to-campus planning, according to a survey by Educause. Flexibility and agility are the keywords. To support this,  campus networks must provide secure, reliable Wi-Fi coverage indoors and out, all the way back to the professors’ and students’ residences.

To monitor occupancy, schools use a combination of network-based location tracking, video systems, and network-controlled locks. ExtremeCloud IQ network analytics easily monitor connected users and devices to help understand the flows and provide alerts should an area risk over-crowding. Secure, wireless connectivity to IoT devices, monitors, and robotics keeps classroom and office areas disinfected and safe.

Safe stores for shoppers

Retail businesses must monitor and control the number of shoppers in  and around their stores, and understand the flow of customers from their parking areas to the product displays and check-out. Providing reliable Wi-Fi to shoppers in the store or waiting outside is an expectation. ExtremeCloud IQ analytics displays where the shoppers and sales associates are located inside and just outside the store and helps understand the flows. App integration can go further by prioritizing shoppers based on who arrives first; notifying customers when their order is ready; and assisting with curb-side delivery.

Healthcare that is flexible and easily expandable

Even though the worst of the pandemic may be behind us, healthcare must be prepared for aftershocks, second waves, and unexpected outbreaks. The healthcare network must be ready to accommodate rapid expansion of triage areas, testing sites and temporary treatment facilities. Extreme’s Rapid Outdoor Connectivity Kit helps hospitals extend secure wireless connectivity to these temporary sites. Due in part to the epidemic, telemedicine has ramped up considerably since the initial outbreak. Extreme’s teleworker, remote patient care, telehealth services, and healthcare monitoring network solutions are optimized for the new normal of post-COVID healthcare.

The new normal of post COVID-19 businesses

We have entered a new business era requiring distributed connectivity with better centralized management. This is a world of more BYOD and Bring Your Office Home Kits (BYOH), that thrive on continuity, safety, insights and control. The new normal builds on secure remote connectivity, data durability, extended insights, and infinite nines of availability.

This is our expertise – we’ve been doing this for a decade. Our ExtremeCloud IQ™ is a purpose-built, zero-trust 4th gen cloud-driven solution that leverages machine learning and AI to help businesses get the most control and visibility over their distributed and evolving workforce.

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