A pick of technology from BETT 2017

During my visit to BETT 2017, I was able to get around most of the show and pick out some of the key technologies worth looking at. My account will be by no means a deep dive but will provide an overview of some of the best products and solutions I found.

Lightspeed Systems

If you are looking for a purpose-built web filtering, mobile device management and classroom monitoring solution then Lightspeed offers a comprehensive, modular solution that can be controlled from a single cloud based interface. The interface is good and easy to use and has come a long way since it was introduced a few years ago. Specifically designed for the education sector, they are constantly releasing and adding new features to address common IT issues and administrational challenges.

InBETT 2017, the lightspeed web filter solutions come as a physical appliance in different sizes to support varying sizes of workloads, from primary schools and above.

Key features:

  • Filter – Ensure compliance, security anytime and anywhere for all users. Even when devices leave the school network.
  • Monitor – Keep students on track with in-class screen monitoring and tools to streamline instruction and content delivery.
  • Manage – Centralised control of device management, policies, settings and restrictions for applications. Provides groups for different types of user or school controlled from the cloud.
  • A new feature about to be released is called Relay, that will provide advanced reporting and web control for Chromebook devices.

Summary: It looks intuitive and easy to use and designed for education. Provides centralisation of multiple systems and can be controlled from the cloud. There are bundles available to increase functionality which can be procured in modules to deploy in stages or to not conflict with similar systems already in place and provide additional functionality.

For more information check out their website at www.lightspeedsystems.com

WEDUC

Weduc is a school communication and engagement platform which aims to tackle the day to day challenges schools face head on by bringing everything in to a single, intuitive interface. I have worked with many schools to date and one of the things that they struggle with is how best to communicate to the various verticals, such as staff, students and parents. There seems to be many systems that can address singular needs but nothing that brings all this functionality together in one nice and easy to use interface, that is engaging and can integrate to back end systems such as their MIS and Office 365/Google.

The communication and engagement platform looks impressive and offers a one stop shop to address needs such as sending emails straight from the interface, posting news, managing parents evening, delivering live chat, plus displaying school calendars and action messages – all fully integrated in to your back-office systems keeping usability as simple as possible.

It also has features to handle reporting, managing and taking payments, virtual learning and CPD training for staff.

Summary: I was impressed during BETT 2017 at how much this system could incorporate, meaning that you could potentially replace one, two or three systems into a single package, or just hit the ground running with everything in one go. As it also integrates fully with back-office systems and MIS solutions then it seems a sensible choice and with being relatively new to the UK market I am sure they are keen with deals to be done as well for early adopters.

For more information check out their website at www.weduc.co.uk

IAM Cloud

IAM Cloud is mainly an Identity and Access management solution to provide simplistic access to your variety of cloud applications. It works by providing an integration interface between your source directory services and your cloud applications, such as Google and Office 365 but in a much simpler way. Configuration of native tools for such applications (such as Azure AD Connect and ADFS) is complex and has lots of moving parts to go wrong and requires IT staff to manage it.  IAM Cloud offers a one stop solution to bring all source and destination services together, accessible from an easy to use and intuitive interface.

Focusing on just ways it can enhance your Office 365 implementation, it can handle all your data migration needs plus provide major enhancements to get the most out of the platform, yet still ensuring a familiar on premise like experience for your user base.

Some key features are as follows:

  • Automated License & User Provisioning – A common headache, especially with larger environments. With IAM Cloud it can handle this process automatically and centrally from a single management console. Get the job done in just a few clicks and keep your cloud user and provisioning database in sync with minimal effort.
  • Single Sign On – Through just a shortcut on a user’s desktop, they will be instantly taken to their relevant application without being prompted for more credentials again – making accessing cloud/web applications simple without the need to remember different sets of usernames and passwords.
  • Cloud Drive Mapper – A common requirement is to move personal user (staff/student) data in to Onedrive for Business, but once you get it there the challenge is how to make it easily available to users both inside and outside the school or business across multiple devices in a way that still fits in with your internal IT policies.  Enter Cloud Drive Mapper, as part of the integration it maps a local drive directly to Onedrive For Business, and makes it look like it is still a local network drive. Files stay familiar to all users like before but they have the benefit of accessing them straight from the cloud on other devices when needed, wherever they may be,

Summary: A great toolset with capabilities to make integrating and experiencing the cloud simple. Can be used to replace on premise Azure AD Connect and ADFS services and to simplify user adoption and connectivity to your cloud applications. An absolute must for anyone as proven during BETT 2017, this solution has a multitude of cloud apps and wants to get the most out of the cloud without adding unnecessary complexity.

For more information check out their website at https://www.iamcloud.com/

School IP

School IP is a derivative of a professional development and improvement solution specifically for the Schools market, however they also offer solutions for Colleges and Universities as well in their portfolio. Managing CPD or professional development of staff is always a challenge however this platform makes it look easy and provides a clean interface that integrates in to your MIS systems to provide an integrated solution that will grow with your school.

Summary: What I liked most about the product is that it empowers staff to take control of their own development, and to not always be reliant on senior leadership teams to guide them. It is also a community where you can share best practice with other teams helping everyone to gain the recognition they deserve.

For more information check out their website at www.schoolip.co.uk

Eleven can help and advise you on what key technologies can help your business move forward. Give us a call on 01858 455100 or contact us here to find out how.



Author: Harry Leak
Eleven’s dynamic and strategic IT leader has helped clients of all shapes and sizes discover performance enhancing solutions to make their businesses prosper. His extensive specialist experience and lasting relationships with management and IT teams have driven change and innovation through IT and improved overall organisational performance.  Harry’s broad experience comes from a wide range of IT service, sales and management positions, including working with SMEs, large corporate organisations with in-house IT teams and the education sector..

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