Broadband access for many American families has shifted from a novelty to a necessity. For many families with children, the consequences of living without access to high-speed internet have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last spring schools and learning institutions swiftly transitioned to virtual classrooms and distance learning environments. This transition has challenged every corner of every district. It Illuminated the digital divide and the pressing awareness that students without access to broadband were falling behind. San Mateo County recognized this as an imminent risk to the children and families without broadband access and set forth to find an innovative solution to support students returning to school in the fall for yet another semester of distance learning. 

Providing broadband access for families across the county is a logistical challenge that is not easy to solve. Understanding the areas that are in need and the best technologies to implement are just some of the questions that had to be answered in order to provide a meaningful solution. San Mateo County partnered with Kaizen Technology Partners to enable strategic decision-making and arrive at a solution that provides reliable broadband access.

Using Strategic Insights to Increase Digital Inclusion

In order to determine the optimal placement and deployment of internet access for San Mateo County families, an understanding of the geographic layout and population density of the students  had to be formed. By collaborating with the school districts within San Mateo County and using census tract findings, data was able to be used that identified areas of concern where internet access is limited or non-existent in a visual map.

Dashboard with county and school district data shows where families have reported internet access problems

Another critical component was an understanding of the available internet technology options and the limitations associated with each. While some geographic areas were more densely populated and could benefit the most from a cell or portable tower producing wide coverage, other areas were more rural and required differing solutions such as hotspots or single-family connectors.

Cell tower to overlay these community needs

For the county to make  informed decisions, Kaizen produced and analyzed geographic heat maps to visualize population demographics  and developed an inventory management system of the available technology to provide centralized device visibility. Kaizen then incorporated some of the available data into the development of a recommendation engine for use in identifying the best technology option for a given location. This will enable better holistic oversight of the areas of concern as well as providing actionable insights and recommendations on which technologies to implement.

Increasing Equity of Access

The San Mateo County Public WiFi project is the anchor project to showcase a platform to visually show the digital gaps in a community, an offering that Kaizen Technology Partners is bringing to market in 2021. “We have been thrilled with the rapid iterative progress we’ve made along San Mateo County and SMC CIO Jon Walton, and we are excited to transcend the status quo in communities, counties, and states all across America through new digital platforms, paradigms, and partnerships,” said Dao Jensen, CEO of Kaizen Technology Partners. Using the strategic insights gained by the partnerships between the school districts and Kaizen Technology Partners, an innovative and optimal solution will be achieved that benefits San Mateo County and sets students up for a brighter, connected future.

Pre-Analysis shows decision makers where to focus connectivity resources.

Post-Analysis shows decision makers where access gaps still occur.

ABOUT KAIZEN TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS

Kaizen Technology Partners is a minority and women-owned business based in San Francisco, California.

We are cloud technology experts and your success is our top priority. Our team of industry specialists, global presence, and extensive network of partners, and commitment to supporting our customers throughout their cloud journey exemplifies our proven track record of success. Our passion is to help our customers crystallize their vision and execute strategies to help them reach and exceed their business goals.

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