Vendor Smart Technologies is working with resellers in an effort to make it easier and more affordable for schools to introduce tech into the classroom with a new service offering.
The solution, classroom-as-a-service (ClaaS), is described as a subscription model that aims to get technology such as interactive displays and collaborative learning software into schools, as well as provide training and support while keeping within an education body’s budget.
With ClaaS, the reseller will audit the school on what tech is already in place and whether that can stay or be taken away at a price, plus which devices, training and support is required.
Talking to CRN, Neil Gaydon, chief executive of Smart Technologies, said equipping a school with 30 classrooms with Chromebooks, WiFi and smartboard technology would cost about £300,000.
"How can they do that, especially with the knowledge that in three years they will have to renew that technology?" Gaydon said.
"With our programme, a school could – depending on how long they put a [subscription] model in place for and what equipment they have – be paying as little as £1,000 a month to fit out the whole school."
Founded in Canada in 1987, Smart launched its first smartboard about 20 years ago, which was quickly picked up by the education industry. Currently the vendor claims to own 70 per cent market share in both the US and UK IWB market.
Gaydon – who claimed that Smart is for smartboards, as Kleenex is for tissues – said that having such a big stake in the education space, with 80 per cent of its revenue coming from here, is ideal for the ClaaS solution as it already has the market’s attention.
He added that if the channel offers a decent service to the customers in this space, it could promise an ongoing revenue stream, not just for the reseller but for other in-class vendors offering ClaaS.
“If people in the channel think this through properly, they will realise that if they do a really good job on the tech support and training software, as and when schools want to make changes or update technologies, resellers will get that revenue as well,” he said.
According to Gaydon, technology isn’t a cool thing for kids any more – it is the norm. This means teachers are sometimes left behind as there is no training in the relevant areas of technology.
“For them [kids] tech is very normal, it is not this glitzy thing. There is still this very big overhang of people in schools trying to make out that it is a cool thing. But they have no strategy; they are just using it as a trophy to get people to join their schools.
"We want to break those barriers down and say that kids don’t see it that way, they just see tech as tools they use every day to research, socialise, learn, collaborate, share and work together with," he concluded.
Chief exec Jens Montanana claims Logicalis performed well despite 'currency headwinds'
All the photos from last night's event, which saw over 600 people congregate at the Hilton London Bankside
Five year deal with Essex NHS Trust will cover 400 sites, including hospitals, clinics and GP practices
18 individuals and three companies walked away as winners at CRN's inaugural Women in Channel Awards last night