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Back to school headlines this year have been dominated by uncertainty related to COVID-19. And while classroom doors are open, so too are many offices, bringing social distancing and virtual collaboration to the forefront of the 2020 back-to-school season’s technological wave. Beyond the pandemic, 5G and cybersecurity continue to lead among the top tech information in demand this year.

This week, we turn our focus from SMEs to their devoted team members who make it all happen, and the families that help keep #motivation up. Back to school (and to the office) may feel uncertain this year, but we’re stronger together, and with the right tech to Live Easy, we can all contribute to a successful 2020 fall season.

Backpack basics this year

School bags are back and we’re filling them with all the pandemic goodies from masks and hand sanitizers to gloves and disinfectant wipes. But what else do we need now as we dive deeper into the back-to-school tech season? First, virtual classrooms and video conferences aren’t going anywhere. 

The virtual classrooms many of us became familiar with when school doors closed in the spring will ease the transition back to school. That’s because ensuring full and easy access to class material and educational resources, regardless of physical location, is inevitable in proactivity. And while not all educational institutions yet offer organized virtual classrooms, students can only benefit from learning to navigate various virtual classroom software independently, in anticipation of what’s to come. And for the leaders in your family, many virtual classrooms – like Google Classroom – are free and easy to set up.

Similarly, video conferencing, or video calling, is now a part of our daily communication, and are skills valuable for students (and employees) to keep refreshed. Experience using top video conferencing tools like Zoom Meetings, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet is now expected. This also means we are increasingly expected to understand potential risks associated with theses tools like Zoom-Bombing, for example.

Beyond communication and collaboration software, this year’s back-to-school tech trends are also factoring in social distancing regulations. Earlier this year, we saw Google release a new tool for its location tracking feature allowing it to track and graph foot traffic to shops and public spaces. Amazon then introduced their Distance Assistant, which uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality to let users know whether they are at a safe distance apart. Amazon has also been testing the use of wearables as social distancing tools in their fulfillment centers. In fact a growing number of wearable lines for social distancing have emerged over the past months and are being used to protect the health and safety of workers.

While virtual classrooms, video conferencing, and social distancing tech all seem to stem from the consequences of COVID-19, there are a couple of tech topics we can’t seem to forget about going into the new school year – and one of them is 5G.

What’s going on with 5G?

The increased speed and reliability anticipated by 5G was set to bring us smarter classrooms this fall, but has it delivered? In an 11th annual run, PC Magazine’s Fastest Mobile Networks 2020 rated Verizon as the fastest mobile network in a nationwide 4G and 5G test. 5G coverage, however, is still scarce. AT&T and T-Mobile 5G networks also have done little to contribute to their overall performance.

Now more than a year since U.S. carriers launched 5G, it hasn’t yet lived up to its hype. Rather, most improvements in network performance can be attributed to improvements in 4G  over the implementation of 5G. This means that going into this new school and tech year, there’s still no rush to make the upgrade.

Nevertheless, those 5G advantages are coming, and any transitions to new tech this year – as always – should be carried out with cybersecurity at the foundation.

Cybersecurity never sleeps

COVID-19 brought with it increases in malware attacks and other cybersecurity risks as remote work and virtual school became the norm. Now, with evidence for the return of big botnets like Emotet and recent talk of the extent to which the U.S. government’s Mitre Corp. goes to monitor and protect the public, cybersecurity is still on everyone’s mind. That means putting threat vigilance at the forefront of remote learning and working, while keeping devices up to date.

At LeCiiR, we want you to stay safe in the tech world, at school, and at the office so that you can Live Easy. For questions on our services or any other tech topics, don’t hesitate to contact us and leave your comments.