The need for fast, reliable connectivity has only accelerated in 2021, particularly for small businesses. Communication is critical in a remote work setting, and businesses need the proper technology working with them to continue accomplishing their goals in a digital-first environment.
The Qualcomm Small Business Accelerator Program exists to make the transition to a mobile-first small business a reality for owners across the U.S. Working alongside leading technology partners, the program provides laptops, smartphones, Wi-Fi networks, support, and other digital tools necessary to lead a thriving business.
Education is an area where digital tools and infrastructure are absolutely vital for today’s classrooms, schools, students, and educators. The ongoing pandemic continues to highlight the growing need for remote learning, which, with faster broadband speeds, intuitive communication platforms, and more powerful mobile devices, becomes ever more effective. No longer will the physical classroom be the only arena for sustained, high-impact learning; more and more opportunities arise from enabling education to flourish in new spaces.
Guitars in the Classroom
Program participant Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) is a small business focused on student engagement in public schools. GITC treats music as a bridge to learning. It equips teachers and school staff with the tools they need to compose and integrate music into their curriculums and the social-emotional development of their students. In doing this, they encourage students to connect and engage. The organization’s goal is to restore music in the classroom as both an art form and a learning device through professional development courses and teaching artist residencies.
The move to remote education completely upended GITC’s in-person music learning strategy. The need for online instruction required modern digital tools and infrastructure to continue offering a comparable experience virtually — tools GITC didn’t have. That’s where the Qualcomm Small Business Accelerator Program was able to help. Crucial tools like Samsung Galaxy Book S laptops, Motorola Edge+ smartphones, and Linksys Velop MX10 Wi-Fi 6 Systems were supplied to ensure employees could stay connected for virtual music education lessons.
Connectivity is vital to maintaining a remote classroom. The Linksys Mesh Wi-Fi 6 systems, featuring the Qualcomm Networking Pro 1200 platform, served as a complete game changer for every employee. Using the latest advancements in tri-band Wi-Fi 6 technology, these devices allowed GITC to connect seamlessly with teachers and staff in an online environment while also taking advantage of cloud-based services to share files quickly and efficiently.
“Once we got the Linksys system in, everything changed for us,” said Jess Baron, executive director and founder of GITC. “Linksys routers were the most essential piece of technology across the board for the whole team because it instantly cured our internet problems.”
“Connecting the world securely and tackling the learning gap are a couple of the pillars that the Linksys organization is built upon,” said Harry Dewhirst, CEO of Linksys. “We jumped on the opportunity to help meaningful businesses like GITC provide education to students during a time where we need the arts the most.”
Wi-Fi 6 is the backbone of next-generation connectivity, and the Networking Pro 1200 platform is designed to provide the ultimate Wi-Fi 6 experience. With speeds up to 6 Gbps and reliable, secure connections even with hundreds of devices in simultaneous use, the Networking Pro 1200 platform sets the bar for premium-tier networking that enables businesses and users to accomplish goals with unprecedented speed and reliability. For GITC, this infrastructure allowed them to focus entirely on their work without technology getting in the way.
“We can let go of having to work in the same space now because the equipment has liberated us and sped up our functionality,” Baron said. “Anything we’re doing where we have to communicate with each other, members of our extended team, or with teachers and schools is improving because of the tech Qualcomm Technologies provided.”
Other devices powered by Snapdragon, including the Samsung Galaxy Book Slaptops and Motorola Edge+ smartphones, greatly improved productivity and communication between teams within GITC. The power of the Snapdragon 8cx platform inside the Galaxy Book S allowed employees to eliminate efficiency issues with shipping and inventory, while the Snapdragon 865 5G platform in the Motorola Edge+ served to boost remote productivity with seamless office line transitions to homelines.
Overall, enrollment in GITC online classes more than tripled with the help of fast connectivity and powerful mobile devices. This allowed the organization to begin offering weekly classes, resulting in the business growing from five full-time employees in 2020 to 25 employees in 2021. With increased efficiency from cloud-based services and ACPCs, total revenue also increased by 20 percent.
The Qualcomm Small Business Accelerator Program helps supply the essential mobile technology that enables small businesses to connect, compute, and communicate in a digital-first world. Guitars in the Classroom provides untold value to schools across the U.S., using music to connect with students and teachers to create more accepting, engaging learning environments. We’re proud to work with our partners to outfit businesses like GITC with the tools they need to thrive.