Tablets, tablets, tablets…the main story at FETC in FL

Bob Hill, North America & EMEA Channel Marketing Manager @ Ergotron

From what I heard at FETC in Florida, show attendance was up over last year. Ergotron education products were placed in the CDWG, Dell, GovConnection and SHI International partner booths, but the one product that was garnering the most attention? As you might guess, Ergotron’s Tablet Management Cart (TMC). 

It is evident that tablets are just now hitting a critical mass and acceptance by IT directors within schools. These teams are now seriously considering large rollouts, or have just purchased fleets of tablets. In many cases, it is a brand new venture for them and there is some education required to learn how to logistically manage them. 

Over and over again I heard, “We just bought 2,500 iPads…” Or, “We are looking at rolling out tablets to all of our students…” 

These conversations were great and very invigorating, often encompassing the larger tablet ecosystem:

At this point, schools already seem to know whether they are going the route of school-owned devices or bring your own device (BYOD) or a hybrid of both. BYOD makes for a nice buzzword, but is not the clear winner yet. 

In our research we knew how the Tablet Management Cart fit with schools that own and manage their own USB-charging devices, but I also learned that our 16-tablet stand-alone modules have a really nice fit in BYOD environments.

The example I heard several times is that the module can be used as a charging station in a library or media lab setting in which a student could securely hand their personal USB-charged device to a librarian behind a counter who would then “coat check” it for the student.

Here are the Tablet Management Cart features most attendees were excited about, FYI:

  • USB tablet/device charging cart
  • Small and agile (multiple times: “Oh, it’s so cute.”)
  • Charging technology (contrasted against timer-based)
  • Mass syncing (only pertained to iPad audiences using iTunes)

We will be blogging more about tablet adoption in schools. Having a clean understanding of mobile device management software can help accelerate adoption/acceptance of mobile devices whether school-owned or BYOD. Is your school heading toward tablets?  We’d love to hear more about your experience.

3 thoughts on “Tablets, tablets, tablets…the main story at FETC in FL

  1. Christine

    This is an accurate summary of the conversations I had at FETC also. To my surprise a lot of the schools were still in the information gathering process on what tablet would best accomodate the needs of their teachers. While iPads are still the leader, there has been more interest in Lenovo ThinkPad. Either way they will need a way to manage these devices, and the Ergotron Management Cart was very well received. Much smaller and lighter than any other cart at the show this year!

  2. Sheila Veschusio

    Rogue apps are a very real problem for the IT dept. I find many schools are doing a lot of testing of various solutions (iPads, student own devices) to see what will work best. Every school is different. If the device is school owned, the management cart can help manage rogue apps by making sure only acceptable apps get downloaded and students cannot download whatever they want. Many schools are considering the bring your own device, but have security challenges with that. Schools will be sorting this out, and probably each have a different answer to their schools needs.

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