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In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Treasury department issued $2 trillion in CARES Act funding across the public and private sectors. For schools, government, and healthcare facilities, purchases made between March and December 2020 are eligible for CARES Act funds if expenditures can be tied to addressing the coronavirus pandemic and its impact. Many are continuing to invest in technology and infrastructure to meet ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. Here we’ll highlight several ways schools, offices, and facilities are rolling out the right tech for the job.  

In the classroom

K-12 schools scrambling to keep students learning from remote locations might use funding to purchase materials and hardware for distance learning classroom setups. This includes One-to-One Program purchasing, which usually means Chromebooks for students, along with Wi-Fi hotspots for bridging the home access gap for students to remain connected to online curriculum.

Generally, any technology employed for distance learning can be funded. This includes end user devices for teachers, presentation equipment and supplies, video conferencing solutions, and any associated software licensing fees. In addition to the hardware, schools are looking for tools and infrastructure to manage inventory for remote laptops and mobile devices, plus monitoring tools to look after them in the field.

It’s not only digital challenges that schools are facing. Many are printing emergency curriculum materials and booklets on paper. Additional printer infrastructure and ink and toner costs likely qualify for funding authorization.  

Operations management

Technology is at the forefront of operations management in healthcare settings and offices looking to reopen safely. Many of these solutions are driven by the latest innovations in IoT and Artificial Intelligence.

Touchless access control systems eliminate the need to touch common surfaces like doorknobs and badge readers. Next-generation access controls are driven by artificial intelligence use facial recognition, mobile phone identification, can detect and alert to unauthorized piggybacking. For added security, multi-factor authentication combines face and phone, and can incorporate existing RFID access control systems into the solution.

Temperature taking – Almost all essential offices are taking employees’ temperature before they come into the office. A wand-style style touchless thermometer at the reception desk offers an affordable temporary solution. More advanced temperature imaging solutions that provide automated contactless identification of individuals with an elevated body temperature. Systems register a more accurate measure of body temperature, can adjust for environmental factors, measure against relative temperature differential from peers, and uses facial recognition features to construct a historical view of an individual’s temperature on a day-to-day basis.

Tracking and tracing systems – Locations can leverage existing video surveillance investments to deploy modernized contact tracing measures using a Communications-as-a-Platform service. CPaaS systems provide a glimpse of how people interact with the premises. Advanced systems are capable of capturing real-time streaming analytics, accurate within inches of subjects in view, to see here has the individual been, and who have they come in contact with. Administrators and operations managers can view traffic flow data and places where personnel congregate over the course of the day.  With AI to analyze video, computers use facial recognition technology to detect who is wearing a mask and following the social distancing rules, and flag anomalous out of character behavior.

Augmenting the datacenter

Offices and facilities rely on their systems now more than ever. That means augmenting server and storage platforms a high priority in many offices and public health settings. For example, each patient comes into the hospital and gets a CAT Scan, MRI, X-Ray, or lab testing, which creates data that must be stored and accessed in accordance with HIPAA. Administrators are looking to accommodate larger data footprint that grew with increased traffic to health care facilities this year.

In government offices where data compliance is also a top concern, server licensing and infrastructure for virtual desktop and thin client computing offers a way to facilitate secure remote work. Data compliance concerns are alleviated when all data is physically stored in a centralized data center instead of out in the wild on laptops and PCs in employees’ homes. IT has greater control over which devices can access sensitive data stored in servers, offering a controlled environment that eliminates risk.

How can we help?

NeweggBusiness provides thousands of products, services, and software licensing designed to help businesses, schools, and government offices open safely as the pandemic winds down. In addition, we offer top-notch procurement services for schools and government to make sure the tech and tools you need are made available within your purchasing requirements.

Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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