Business Solutions 2014 Partner Program Insider gave industry experts the opportunity to share their opinions on the top opportunities in the education vertical. According to BSM editor-in-chief Mike Monocello, “Their responses can be boiled down into two main categories: keeping an eye on people and assets and getting computers into the hands of students.”
These industry experts agree.
- Gadi Piran, President, OnSSI: Real-time video monitoring and mobility present the two most significant opportunities for new business development. We have developed integrated video management solutions for several municipalities and school districts that have very sophisticated yet cost-efficient integrated solutions. The solutions allow school officials to increase their situational awareness and allow local law enforcement access to schools’ cameras systems. In addition to being a powerful deterrent, the union of schools and law enforcement can actually be a strong preventive measure as they can detect and react to situations in real-time.
- Jonathan Horvath, Director of Enterprise Product Management, Mobility Management Solutions, Smith Micro Software: In 2014, mobile learning will continue to gain traction. New technology devices and mobile applications targeted at the education industry are driving this trend. However, while mobile technology enables both students and teachers to advance learning and increase productivity, it also created new safety challenges schools must address. To fully realize the benefits of a mobile learning program, it is critical that district IT administrators are fully aware of the safety and budgetary concerns mobile devices present, and implement a comprehensive mobile strategy to address these challenges head-on.
- Robert Laughlin, President, Galaxy Control Systems: There is a tremendous growth opportunity for access control and visitor management systems across the education market. In addition to providing an added level of security so school administrators know who is walking their halls, these systems can help keep track of students when transiting from one campus facility to another, or to alert administration officials that a student has exited the premises without authorization. These capabilities are most appropriate for K-12 schools, and for schools with students with special needs. Best in breed access control solutions can be easily programmed to accommodate these specific applications.
- Steve Surfaro, Security Industry Liaison, Axis Communications: The education market is a promising one, according to popular market analysts projecting significant growth over the next three years. In addition, the move to deploy integrated IP video, emergency communications, and physical access control with lockdown/escape path capabilities are significant. Each of these technologies are significant as they improve safety and may be leveraged for loss prevention and public assembly functions.
- Scott Schafer Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service Arecont Vision: The education market is one of the fastest growing markets for multi-megapixel camera systems. Universities and schools were among the first vertical markets to deploy IP camera systems over the past 10 years. These institutions understand the value of an IP based security system. Because many of the installed IP systems are in need of an upgrade, they are choosing multi-megapixel cameras to replace the standard definition (VGA) cameras they deployed earlier, and for many good reasons. This game-changing technology provides an opportunity for tremendous improvement in video quality as well as the opportunity to reduce camera counts. This helps in providing a lower cost system that is easier to manage. It also provides the education institution the ability to get their project approved much faster and easier because the value is so obvious. For those universities and schools currently using analog cameras, they can jump to multi-megapixel systems immediately vs. using substandard low definition IP VGA cameras that deliver poor video quality.
One industry expert pointed out that with the use of mobile devices, a demand to streamline printing from these devices is presenting an opportunity.
- Mike Garofola, Senior Marketing Manager, Channel and Education, OKI Data Americas: The proliferation of mobile computing has increased the use of mobile devices within the classroom. More educators find it imperative to print directly from their mobile devices in order to streamline procedures. As school and district administrators have come to realize the importance of mobility, it’s a necessity for manufactures to develop printing solutions that meet those demands. Additionally, software solutions that allow organizations to control printing access and color output on their devices are more attractive to the education customer. These solutions help minimize excessive output and restrict color printing rights, as necessary. This helps control color printing-related costs and enables users to track printing output costs from individuals and groups.
In addition to mobility, distance learning and digitized curricula also present opportunity for solutions providers.
- Scott Thie, Vice President, Panasonic System Communications Company: Technology is changing the way students learn, teachers teach and administrators run the school. Distance learning, collaboration, mobility, and digitized curriculums are leveling the playing field for students of all backgrounds. Classrooms that integrate interactive technology and enhanced audio become more engaging, collaborative environments. This trend will only continue to snowball as one-to-one programs and the benefits of leveraging technology for education are only beginning to be realized.