• 50 Cambridgeshire schools will be using a combination of Cisco and CAE technologies to optimise and automate the network to help cut costs and greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Initial deployments have seen a decrease in energy usage of a third across the newly installed wireless network access points.  


London, UK – 23 May 2024: Cisco announced today its collaboration with The ICT Service, Cambridgeshire County Council’s not-for-profit ICT advisory and support service for schools, to help deliver more sustainable connectivity and better energy management for 50 schools across the region. The initiative is aligned to the UK Government’s ambition for all schools to put in place a Climate Action Plan by 2025, and for the country to be a world leader in the education sector for sustainability and climate change by 2030. 


Across Cambridgeshire, supported by Cisco and its Country Digital Acceleration Programme (CDA), CAE Technology Services and The ICT Service will be installing Cisco Meraki sensor and networking technology in new and existing schools. The sensors will monitor air quality, humidity, and temperature in school buildings to optimise the learning environment, with the aim of boosting students’ performance and engagement. Real-time insights and actionable data are expected to support increased energy efficiency, and help reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.  


Cisco’s Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology is being used to automatically power down the Wi-Fi overnight for energy savings. The sensor and networking technology deployed at all participating schools can then be managed from a central location via the Cisco Meraki dashboard, which unifies visibility, control, and management. The CAE Network Intelligence platform will track and measure the impact of savings in cost and greenhouse gas (CO2e) emissions. 

Barry Cauldwell, Head of Technical Operations at The ICT Service commented: “The education sector is under more pressure than ever before to become more sustainable, evidence sustainability outcomes, and cut costs. Our trailblazing collaboration with Cisco and CAE Technology Services will make a radical difference to schools and academies across Cambridgeshire, setting the pace for educational institutions across the country.” 

The sustainability of the deployed Cisco network infrastructure will be informed by the WiserWatts solution from CAE Technology Services, which intelligently measures and optimises power across entire networks to ensure they only consume the energy they need to deliver the curriculum in core hours. For example, Cromwell Community College, a co-educational all-through school and sixth form located in Chatteris, is already seeing an impact on its energy usage and savings from the installed technology. Using current monthly savings, over the next 8 years, the school is predicted to save 21,696kWh in energy consumption, £11,040 in costs, and 5,963 kg CO2e in emissions — equivalent to 6,571 pounds of coal burned.  


Chintan Patel, Chief Technology Officer for Cisco UK & Ireland, said: “We are excited to play our part in supercharging the sustainability credentials of schools and academies across Cambridgeshire through our work with the ICT Service, in partnership with CAE Technology Services. This pioneering programme is an important step forward in achieving the UK Government’s wider ambitions for a decarbonised education sector as a whole.” 


Ali McKeand, Chief Technologist – Innovation at CAE Technology Services added: “Our partnership with Cisco to support the ICT Service means we are helping Cambridgeshire schools reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and operational costs every day. These savings quickly add up. We look forward to measuring the extent of the impact of our API-integrated solution in meeting their environmental responsibilities and exploring new ways to save even more with innovation being trialled with the team at the ICT Service.” 


CAE Technology Services WiserWatts solution won first prize in Cisco’s first UK Fast Future Innovation Awards. The initiative recognises and enables innovation intended to help solve the issues and challenges facing UK organisations today. Through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration programme, in partnership with Cisco Innovation Labs, winners were awarded support in the form of resources, expertise, and scale to help develop, prototype and implement their ideas.