NERIC is required to submit a Technology Plan (Chapter 793) to the New York State Education (NYSED), which lists regional standards for supported hardware and software platforms in a RIC region. In the area of Network Hardware, NERIC has historically supported Cisco networking and wireless as a single standard. This platform has served NERIC, individual BOCES and districts well over the years and has provided a great deal of networking stability across the region. Over the past several years, however, districts have increasingly been asking for choices.
Districts say they are looking for more choices around simplicity of management, availability of cloud-based control and long-term maintenance costs (Total Cost of Ownership). Additionally, with the availability of Smart Schools funds, districts are looking to spend their money wisely and could greatly benefit from the competition that additional platforms will bring. Given this, NERIC began a significant evaluation of additional platforms.
Over the past year, NERIC has evaluated Meraki (purchased by Cisco) and HP/Aruba as potential additions to its standards. Research from Gartner (a leading information technology research and advisory company), feedback from districts and other RIC’s using the technology, as well as staff feedback on the feasibility of adding to NERIC's current skillset all led to the organization's recent recommendation to its Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) that it adopt both platforms beginning with the 2016-17 school year.
NERIC is in the process of notifying districts first so that they can be prepared for the potential vendor calls that will be coming in once this announcement is made to the manufacturers and their partner communities.
If you have any questions regarding these new opportunities, please contact your NERIC Executive Team representative: