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Video: Cisco Meraki Helps Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi Undergo Technological Transformation

Nord Anglia International School Abu Dhabi (NAS Abu Dhabi) is Nord Anglia’s most recent school in the Middle East. The school was established with a commitment to serving every student, drawing on Nord Anglia’s strong collaborations with esteemed institutions such as MIT, UNICEF, and Juilliard to support the development of young minds. Situated on Al Reem Island, one of the most rapidly expanding and highly desirable areas in the UAE, NAS Abu Dhabi is a state-of-the-art educational institution purposefully constructed with the future in mind. It provides exceptional amenities, unrivalled education, and pioneering international opportunities.

In 2018, the school embarked on a technological enhancement, embracing cutting-edge wireless connectivity solutions. The upgraded wireless network was meticulously crafted to not only improve accessibility but also to bolster security, thereby establishing pioneering benchmarks in the realm of education. As a component of this upgraded wireless network, the school initiated a transition to the Cisco Meraki solution for all its educational institutions in the UAE, strategically resolving long-standing challenges.

Liam Cullinan, the Executive Principal of Nord Anglia International School

“NAS Abu Dhabi is a school where we enable the imagination of children to become a reality. We encourage them to play, experiment, and critically analyse, and we utilise a range of leading learning technologies,” said Liam Cullinan, the Executive Principal of Nord Anglia International School. “These technologies support the learning that our world-class teachers make possible daily for our children, recognising every child as an individual.”

According to Mr. Cullinan, the current challenge for schools lies in their ability to adapt and enable students to excel. NAS Abu Dhabi is dedicated to exploring every opportunity for each individual. “And the partnerships that we have externally extend those opportunities for our youth. We’re delighted with our partnership with Cisco, a forward-thinking technological advancement that is making our youth ready for the world of tomorrow,” explained Mr. Cullinan.

The intended wireless network deployment is designed to cater to a user base of up to 5,000 individuals throughout the entire campus, guaranteeing uninterrupted access to educational resources. The campus’ wireless application workloads encompass various functions, such as wireless AV connectivity for Airplay, support for BYOD devices, robust security measures, radius authentication, and VOIP telephony, all of which contribute to the facilitation of innovative teaching and learning experiences.

“The implementation of Cisco’s Meraki solution across all our schools in the UAE strategically addresses issues that have been a persistent challenge for us. Our world-leading learning experience demands a highly responsive network infrastructure,” explained Ismail Alawieh, the IT Manager at Nord Anglia International School. “Whether it’s facilitating the growth of IoT devices, ensuring seamless classroom connectivity, or delivering uninterrupted internet access to our community, Meraki technology seamlessly aligns with our needs for NAS Abu Dhabi.”

Ismail Alawieh, the IT Manager at Nord Anglia International School

Mr. Alawieh went on to emphasise that the school’s vision revolved around establishing a connected campus where safety, connectivity, accessibility, and user experience were placed at the forefront of priorities. “To achieve this, we have embraced the latest wireless connectivity and sensors. The network not only enhances accessibility but also fortifies security, thus setting a new standard in education. Today we are testing our sensors for temperature, smoke, and vape detection, and with one push of a button, we can enable and disable SSID.”

NAS Abu Dhabi collaborated with Cisco and Cubit to implement a wireless network capable of accommodating up to 5,000 users throughout the entire campus, guaranteeing uninterrupted and seamless access to an extensive global repository of educational materials. “The migration to a cloud-based school environment with the Meraki solution significantly enhanced our connectivity and security capabilities, and helped resolve long-standing challenges within our schools across the UAE,” added Alawieh. “Looking ahead, our forward-thinking approach to technology extends to planning for future upgrades. This underscores our commitment to remain at the forefront of technological advancements and the education sector, including the implementation of the umbrella solution for DNS security, to ensure we continue to offer the best experience to our students and families.”

Cubit Technologies, a partner of Cisco Meraki, closely collaborated with NAS Abu Dhabi to thoroughly grasp the school’s vision, enabling the creation of a tailored plan to address their distinct IT requirements. “We strategically placed about 250 wireless access points across the campus to guarantee comprehensive coverage in classrooms, libraries, common areas, and outdoor spaces,” added Vipin Varghese, the Managing Partner at Cubit Technologies. “In addition to that, the wireless application workloads on the campus include wireless AV connectivity, airplay, bring-your-own-device, and security measures such as radius authentication and voiceover IP telephony. This network infrastructure overhaul will enable innovative teaching and learning experiences for NAS Abu Dhabi.”

Tony Scaria, CEO of Cubit Technologies, expressed a deep commitment to the education sector in the UAE, particularly in partnership with advanced institutions such as Nord Anglia. “Together with the Cisco Meraki team, we embarked on a journey focused on providing a personalised educational experience for students, that equips them with the skill set to succeed in life at a social, academic, and personal level. Our collaboration with Cisco has allowed us to make a lasting impact on the education sector in UAE,” added Scaria. “As we focused on delivering unmatched customer experience and security to teachers, students, and extended academic communities, we are truly proud to be recognised as the technology provider of choice for a transformative organisation like Nord Anglia.”

The overall deployment was planned in two phases. The first phase was completed on the 15th of July, 2023, while the second phase is set to be completed by the 1st of January 2024. “At Cisco Meraki, we love working with educational institutions such as Nord Anglia Education and helping them achieve their mission,” explained Gary Daly, the Product Sales Specialist, for UAE and Egypt at Cisco Meraki. “It’s ironic that we actually started off in education at Meraki, so it does have a special place in our hearts. We provide operational simplicity for Nord Anglia schools, and we can help engage, connect, and secure students, teachers, and staff, so that they can focus on their mission, which is education and learning.”

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