While lockdown restrictions are being eased, it is likely that COVID-19 will leave a lasting legacy on our attitudes to ventilation, building management, and safety.
As schools readjust to operating within the new norm, one thing is for certain: there is always room for vigilance when it comes to school processes and safety. Whether to reduce costs, maximize efficiencies, or achieve optimal well-being of school-going children, smart technologies are here to stay for their extensive benefits.
Schools of the future will be smarter
COVID-19 has underscored the importance of automated processes, which are adaptable to different building occupancies and shifting challenges. As schools around the world take the first steps towards digital transformation, the simplicity and ease of integration of some smart technologies are showing marked cost savings; streamlined safety, maintenance and operational efficiencies; and enhanced green potential. Real-time reporting from sensors and technologies are mobilizing schools to adopt a data-driven approach to take their schools into the future.
Real-time reporting from sensors and technologies are mobilizing schools to adopt a data-driven approach
Since withdrawn, the government’s guidelines on schools’ management during COVID-19 provided food for thought for governing bodies and facilities managers in the school setting, driving the adoption of data-based smart solutions to counteract operational challenges and reduce costs. The guidelines dealt with partially closed facilities - and guidelines for full opening have since been issued. Within the school context, the categories outlined in the original guidelines are perennially important and, with a bearing on safety, the more precise, the better.
Coronavirus and temperature checking
Across different facilities, temperature screening has become a naturalised daily occurrence, with elevated temperatures a good indicator of underlying illness. In the school setting, crowd screening technology has the potential to give live temperature readings, alerts, and access control functionality. It can also be used as a contact traceability tool when high temperatures are detected. Using infrared sensors, this technology provides medically accurate readings in real time with minimal disruptions or student backlogs.
Hot and cold water systems
It is likely that COVID-19 will leave a lasting legacy on our attitudes to ventilation, building management, and safety
The dormancy of school buildings has created a secondary worry around Legionella - and the latest guidance from The Department of Education encourages the usual pre-term building checks are conducted. This bacteria causes Legionnaires’ Disease, which is preventable yet potentially fatal.
Mitigating the risk of Legionella spread is an ongoing responsibility; one which is traditionally labour-intensive, involving hot and cold water temperature testing and flushing. Automated Legionella testing removes the need for human effort, cost, potential exposure, and manual record-keeping. It also provides alerts of undesirable temperature readings and expedited response times (which, in buildings of extensive pipework, can avoid hefty maintenance bills). This smart approach to Legionella maintenance is a simple compliance tool, which will help to ensure statutory obligations and prevent sometimes punitive penalties.
A Smarter Outlook On Energy And Green Transformation
Without question, saving energy is smart - and smart technologies are leading the charge in helping schools to reduce consumption and achieve green goals. This is being achieved in a range of ways - from constant monitoring of HVAC usage, heating systems, and lighting to the development of data-driven maintenance schedules to keep equipment performing efficiently. Smart sensors can deliver real-time insights on usage and occupancy, reducing waste to a minimum.
Air quality is a fundamental component of a healthy indoor environment, with compromised air quality linked to disease and allergies. Research has also shown a correlation between indoor air quality, student performance, and teacher retention.
Proper ventilation is one of the best ways to work towards good air quality. Smart technologies assist in myriad ways. One example is by providing real-time alerts on changes or undesirable metrics around pollutants, noxious gases, atmospheric conditions and humidity (with mold and damp in mind). In trying to achieve a balance of mechanical and natural ventilation, one is able to monitor and remotely control HVAC usage, as well as monitor and record the frequency of opened and closed windows in selected areas, to evidence effort in this regard.
There’s Smart and There’s Smarter
Proper ventilation is one of the best ways to work towards good air quality
Iot (Internet of Things) solutions providers, like us, have developed a suite of smart solutions which cater to the schools of the future. Wireless, long-lasting and cost-effective solutions combine a system of tags, sensors, and pressure pads, which transmit data over a secure and private network. These powerful tools send data to a remote dashboard in real time, with alerts for undesirable readings, breaches, and metrics - tailored to facilities owners’ buildings, assets, and needs. With a user-friendly interface, these systems also collect data for thorough record-keeping and meaningful data insights, which have the potential to inspire informed decision-making and strategic development as schools continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.