Back-to-School Tech


This week marks the first of a new school year for many students across America. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, and connected gaming systems helped make summer successful, and this fall, some of the same connected devices and technologies may help students thrive on campus.

Consider devices such as the app-enhanced, Bluetooth-connected bedside speaker system/alarm clock, iHome iA100 by iHome Audio,, which not only wakes you up on time, it streams music from connected devices via Bluetooth. With free apps for iOS such iHome+Sleep, students, businesspeople, or anyone who needs to be on time can design the best wake-up experience for his or her lifestyle.

Thanks to the increasing trend in BYOD (bring your own device)—or as it is sometimes labeled, BYOT (bring your own technology)—in the education realm, connected devices such as smartphones and tablets are even being welcomed into the classroom. New tablet devices, such as the Google Nexus 7, along with last year’s introduction of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Tablet, are being brought to market at lower pricepoints, opening the door to a new demographic of ownership.

As more school systems look to welcome connected devices in the classroom, many are taking a hard look at what it will take to support the technology. Partnerships such as the one between Forsyth County Schools, one of the largest districts in Georgia, and Comcast Business Services,, ensure schools have the infrastructure in place to support tech-driven initiatives such as BYOT.

Also in time for the fall semester, thousands of students in the Nordic region will be able to make contactless payments via NFC (near-field communication), thanks to a new partnership between Elisa,, a Finnish data-communications company, and student-owned company Lyyra,

In collaboration with MasterCard,, Elisa’s new contactless-payment system, Elisa Lompakko, will allow students to pay for meals at participating cafeterias by leveraging MasterCard’s PayPass technology. In its early stages, the solution will consist of a payment sticker containing an NFC chip that would be affixed to students’ phones.

Elisa says the payment sticker is an easy, secure way to make small purchases by simply touching a mobile phone that carries a payment sticker to a reader equipped with MasterCard PayPass technology. However, in the next development stage, the company says the contactless-payment application will be integrated into devices’ SIM (subscriber-identity module) cards, eliminating the need for a sticker.

As NFC-enabled mobile payments become more accepted in society as a whole, the technology is even finding its way into school cafeterias. Similarly, as BYOD/BYOT becomes more prevalent in the enterprise space, students and teachers are working to make it work in the classroom. This fall, as students head back to school, the connected world will follow them there.

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June/July 2014
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