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IoT, AI Can Help Education Weather the Covid-19 Storm – ReadWrite



IoT, AI Can Help Education Weather the Covid-19 Storm - ReadWrite

It’s no question that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and AI are transforming the world of education. But present circumstances —  namely the Covid-19 pandemic — are offering the potential for IoT and AI to make even greater inroads in all fields. In the education field, from elementary school all the way through college — everything is changing.

Traditional learning patterns and classes have been upturned by the pandemic’s effects on the education system. Fortunately, many schools have been getting creative with their solutions. Unfortunately, the struggle to teach students in this new era is much more challenging than has previously been encountered.

The stage is set for a greater role to be played by AI and IoT in education in the near future. With the country’s education system weathering the Covid-19 pandemic, application and innovations in these two fields could influence schools in how they adapt to changing circumstances.

Here are some of the ways IoT and AI can help America’s education system manage the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Education, IoT and AI in the Time of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed unparalleled pressures on schools to adopt online learning. While making a switch from all-classroom to online learning is substantial and disruptive, virtual learning has numerous benefits. For example, online learning has been shown to help quieter students flourish, whereas they might flounder in traditional classroom settings. However, the forces of necessity and possible benefits converge when it comes to online learning.

The world watches the impact of Covid-19 on postsecondary schools — meaning, colleges and universities. These are overwhelmingly turning to online or to hybrid classrooms.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, 34% of colleges are teaching classes primarily online, 21% in a hybrid format and 10% are fully online, equal to 65% of colleges represented in the study. This unprecedented use and reliance on online learning opens more doors to the proliferation of IoT and AI in education.

The Good News

Many implications for IoT application in education seem ideal for helping schools in their responses to Covid-19. For example, some beneficial applications of IoT include:

  • Improving the safety of their campuses
  • Keeping track of important resources
  • Enhancing access to information
  • Creating “smart lesson plans” as opposed to traditional, rather static, lesson plans of old

The wide proliferation of smartphones among students, people ages 17 and under, makes the application and adoption of IoT capabilities easier than ever before. The ground is already prepared for an even broader application of these technologies to the benefit of education.

Using IoT and AI for Smart Learning during the Pandemic

IoT has already had applications for education in the form of smart learning: A form of non-traditional learning that uses AI to help tailor and personalize lessons for students. Considering how different individual students are from one another, this kind of AI-powered tailoring of education could carry huge dividends.

Traditional learning comes with plenty of benefits but also flaws. We see learning of the past tends to be more general, constant, and doesn’t typically emphasize a self-development method, which would definitely benefit today’s world.

The emergency of Covid-19 and the resulting pandemic’s impact has put even greater stress on modifying traditional learning patterns as schools face unprecedented challenges to the norm.

As educational institutions and staff adapt to the challenges posed by Covid-19, now is the time to explore the potential of smart learning, including IoT and AI. Smart learning goals will help make online learning more engaging and will tailor to the variety of students in each class.

According to a survey, many schools have already adopted or intend to adopt smart school plans as part of their educational program:

  • 9% of respondents reported they’ve already implemented parts of a smart school plan
  • 3% of respondents said that they have plans in place to do so within the next one-to-three years.
  • 29% of respondents reported that the concept of a smart school is entirely new to them
  • 36% of respondents reported that they are only slightly aware of the topic.

Like any new or up-and-coming technological system, IoT and smart learning faces an uphill battle to mass adoption and application.

When societies live through unprecedented times, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic, they are often presented with the opportunity to experiment and test new technologies on a wider scale than usual in “normal” times.

IoT Can Help Schools Save Money

Students using smartphones and IoT can automate tasks they already do now, such as note-taking, schedule checking and research. However, a potentially major benefit, especially relevant in a world ravaged by Covid-19, is reducing costs.

IoT applications can lead to improved energy efficiency and reduced operating costs. For example, the New Richmond schools in Tipp City, Ohio, are already saving approximately $128,000 each year by using a web-based system that controls all mechanical equipment inside the buildings.

While keeping costs down is always an objective of schools, it has become even more urgent in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. A study by BrokeScholar found that colleges and universities all over have responded to the pandemic by furloughing and laying off staff in cities where the universities account for the plurality or even majority of employment.

Worse, many schools have gutted entire major and minor programs once offered. Thus, IoT application’s cost-saving implications in education could be a huge boon to colleges and universities that must manage their budget amid a seemingly unending pandemic.

Obstacles to IoT and AI in Education’s Covid-19 Response

One of the difficult areas of adapting education to smart schools is the cost in time and money. Though in the long term, wide adoption and use of IoT and AI in education systems can lead to big savings, in the short term, it, of course, requires an investment to convert schools to smart schools.

Many schools lack the immediate resources necessary to become a smart school.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about even greater, indeed unprecedented, financial pressure on schools. College administrations are being forced to furlough and lay off staff as well as shut down entire major and minor programs once offered.

Another obstacle is the divergent ways in which schools are reopening. Across the U.S., procedures and standards for reopening amid the Covid-19 pandemic vary from state to state, county to county, municipality to municipality, etc.

Schools that have reopened like business as usual likely won’t turn towards IoT and AI for their potential benefits in dealing with Covid-19. However, the schools that have instituted online-only or hybrid classes could be the ones that explore these technologies’ benefits more closely.

The Bottom Line

Unprecedented times often lead to the search for unprecedented solutions. The impact of Covid-19 and its fallout, even once a vaccine is officially greenlit for wide use, will be felt for many years.

Because the pandemic is putting such a strong emphasis on the use of online, virtual working and learning — right now is one of the most auspicious times for IoT and AI to get adopted by education systems more and more.

Another area that should not be overlooked when it comes to schools, AI, and IoT is their role in relation to the city, namely, the college town or suburb where schools reside.

School systems and colleges are inextricably linked to their cities’ economies. A downturn in the city’s economy can hurt the economic livelihood of the school while a downturn in the fortunes of a college. A decline in admissions or the disruption caused by Covid-19 will inevitably affect the city’s economic livelihood and its residents.

One possible way to manage the impact of Covid-19 is to harness the power of smart cities. Smart cities utilize IoT (Internet of Things) to gauge and meter devices like connected lights, meters, and sensors to collect and analyze data. Smart schools could combine data with smart cities to the benefit of the school and the community.

Combining both potential applications of these technologies could provide a novel method of combating the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image Credit: armin rimoldi; pexels

Andrew DePietro

Lead Researcher and Author

I’m an avid researcher and writer on a range of topics, including technology, small business, entrepreneurship, business strategy, finance and investing, real estate and housing markets, and putting them into the greater context of how they impact and are influence by bigger social and economic forces. My work can be found on Forbes, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Fortune, CBS, US News, BrokeScholar and more. I’m a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in History.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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