Pace Education Group selects Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise for converged telecommunications platform

We are committed to building institutions that enhance the prestige of education around the world, says Dr. P.A. Ibrahim, chairman, Pace Education.
We are committed to building institutions that enhance the prestige of education around the world, says Dr. P.A. Ibrahim, chairman, Pace Education.

Technology is playing a vital role in enabling modern education. Providing faculty and students with continuous and seamless connectivity is crucial to drive interactive learning and elevate the teaching and learning experience. Pace Education Group runs several schools across the UAE. The group employs 1,200 faculty, over 500 non-teaching staff, and caters to more than 20,000 students representing 25 nationalities across its schools.

Business need

The education provider required high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity in its newest school to ensure its teachers and students benefit from access to uninterrupted high-definition video content, the school’s central learning management portal, and the internet for learning support material. It sought a reliable technology partner with a proven track record to provide a Wi-Fi platform with zero downtime, offer comprehensive coverage and is future-proof so the school can focus sorely on delivering a better learning experience for students. 

Pace picked Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) data networking and Wi-Fi solutions to deliver an end-to-end telecommunications wireless infrastructure at its new Pace British School in Sharjah, UAE. The deployment includes the Alcatel-Lucent OXO Connect telephony system, the Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6450 at the core and Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6350 at the edge, the Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess Stellar AP1201 and Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess Stellar AP1221 access points.

“Connectivity is critical for our students as they are no longer confined to classrooms to learn solely by sitting in for lectures. Within a progressive educational system, we understand education must be collaborative and interactive for learning to be effective and beneficial,” says Dr. P.A. Ibrahim, chairman, Pace Education. “We are committed to building institutions that enhance the prestige of education around the world,” he adds.

ALE stood out with the OmniAccess Stellar range of access points that met the institution’s criteria. ALE also has a proven track record in providing educational institutions with connectivity and communication solutions.

“Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has a history of 100 years of operations and has proven a long track of loyal customers and support. We believe their OmniAccess Stellar solutions have the capabilities to scale across our different campuses, support our existing fleet and provide end-end-end solutions to maintain always-on connectivity,” says Dr. Ibrahim.

THE CUSTOMER
Pace Education group was founded in the year 1999 by Dr P.A. Ibrahim Haji by forming a trust, namely, P.A. Educational Trust. The first venture was P.A. College of Engineering (PACE) in Mangalore. In 2001, the group opened India International School in Kuwait with CBSE Indian Curriculum (KG to 12th). It’s first venture into UAE was in Sharjah with the Gulf Asian English School. Today, the group employs 1,200 teaching staff, over 500 non-teaching staff and over 20,000 students from 25 nationalities.

“Our environment is dynamic, and the underlying technology should be dynamic as well and ready to adapt almost immediately. With technology playing a major role in driving a modern educational environment, an always-on network is not an option anymore,” says Dr. Ibrahim, adding, “Network availability is mandatory in terms of uptime, area of coverage and scalability. Our approach is to focus on our core education business, and technology should be available to support us on our education evolvement journey,” he adds.

The OmniAccess Stellar AP1201 and AP1221 are multifunctional high-performance access points that combine high build quality that can support numerous users, guarantee zero hardware failures, are easy to manage, and provide comprehensive coverage across campuses, both indoor and outdoor. Ilanz Technologies, an authorised channel partner of ALE, provided the installation services.

“The OmniAccess Stellar range of products are multifunctional and high-performance access points. They are ideal for simple, secure and seamless user experience. They have superior build quality to withstand the elements, and support many students, which is important in campus sites, without compromising on performance,” says Dr. Ibrahim.

Business benefit

The school’s classrooms are equipped with interactive smart boards with an internet connection, while CCTV cameras ensure safety.

“Our underlying strategy is to move to a digital school model, and Wi-Fi is fundamental to supporting our strategy execution. Smartboards and CCTV systems are standard requirements, and students and teachers will benefit from having Wi-Fi in schools,” says Dr. Ibrahim.

Students see Wi-Fi as a tool that helps save time, and teachers can monitor the progress of their students and send out learning materials and requirements at any time, says Dr. Ibrahim. Also, the growth of educational technology has transformed the usual, lecture-style teaching into a two-way learning process, and Wi-Fi enables access to applications that promote this type of collaborative learning.

THE VENDOR
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise mission is to make everything connect to create the customized technology experience customers need. We deliver networking and communications that work for your people, processes and customers from your office, the cloud or in combination. A heritage of innovation and dedication to customer success has made ALE, marketed under the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise brand, an essential provider of enterprise networking, communications and services to over 830,000 customers worldwide. ALE has a global reach and local focus with more than 2200 employees and 2900+ partners who serve over 50 countries.

Teachers are making drastic changes to the way they approach instruction, and technology is playing a central role in the classroom to make teaching effective. From delivering lectures remotely to utilising learning aids, streaming uninterrupted high-definition content, and accessing the school’s centralised learning management portal, educationists the world over are making every effort to leverage the power of always-on Wi-Fi to enhance the teaching-learning process, Dr. Ibrahim observes.

Students, on the other hand, are benefitting from a wide range of learning techniques and access to learning support material and content. “I also believe that the education sector is probably the most positively impacted by digital transformation as it enhances student learning by opening a world of endless possibilities and collaboration. The role of high-performance Wi-Fi is important in enabling this transformation,” Dr. Ibrahim adds.

The improved connectivity has allowed students to expand their learning boundaries as they are no longer confined to textbooks and classroom discussions, Dr. Ibrahim says. “Access to faster and more secure wireless internet connection gives them the chance to supplement their learning with their medium of choice. Our faculty can send students supplementary resources instantly to aid then in their homework. So, the teaching and learning experience continues even beyond classroom walls. Whenever students have questions, instructors are only a ‘Wi-Fi’ away from them,” he adds.

“Whatever personalisation educational institutions need to make learning more engaging and exciting can be easier accomplished with a wireless connection,” Dr. Ibrahim says.

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