Category Archives: Tablets/Devices

Protect your digital devices from vandalism and theft

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Last year, over winter break, vandals broke into a North Carolina elementary school and attempted to steal digital devices from the instructional technology lab. They took a hammer to the top of the cart, the YES36 Charging Cart for Mini-laptops, because the cart’s doors were securely padlocked. Unfortunately, this event is played out in similar educational institutes around the country. Device security was never a more important topic on IT agendas.

Happily, in the case of this school, the vandals were thwarted. This is one example of why choosing a  cart with a tough exterior finish and the sturdy overall construction should be a line item on the “must have” list for a charging system roll out at your school. The top of the cart was damaged (see below) and showed multiple marks, but the school was able to replace just the top to get the cart back to pristine condition and back in operation.

Law enforcement officials warn that break-ins are common, especially during holiday vacations, and that there’s only so much that a school can do to avoid theft and vandalism. Security measures, such as spiked iron fences, iron-shuttered windows, and motion sensors, may stop young pranksters but not professional operators, who have ways of counteracting those safeguards.

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So what can a school do to protect its investment in digital technology? First of all, make sure to choose the right solution for your environment, whether it is a wall mount, desktop or cart charging system. In addition, the unit must be tough enough to withstand common educational rigors, such as rough handling by unruly students.

Finally, consider these security features when comparing charging systems:

  • Is a standard locking feature enough, or does it need more (keyed door plus padlock, etc.)?
  • Does it need additional security brackets that will lock the locking system to the floor or wall?
  • Can the unit be rolled into another secured area at night, such as a locking closet?

At Ergotron, we’re always looking for new ways to keep your tablets, laptops, and handheld devices safe, charged, and always ready for use. That way, educators have peace of mind, knowing their edtech investments are well-secured, so they can focus on what they do best – teach.

 

The importance of safety certification for charging systems

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No doubt you have already been through at least one or two technology decisions for your school, choosing devices that will meet your student and curriculum needs. Just as you discovered that you weren’t always comparing Apples to eReaders, the same is true with the charging systems that keep your devices powered up and in play throughout the school day. There is a tendency to assume that all charging systems are safe, but this is not always true. In fact, all device charging systems are not created equal.

Therefore, it is equally important to choose a charging products that has been safety certified by a third-party organization and that the system is being evaluated as a complete and integrated system. It is important to require this of your supplier to ensure the safety of your devices, your facilities and your students.

Some manufacturers use individual components that are safety certified, but then combine them into a larger charging system that is not certified. Charging systems that are not evaluated and certified may exceed allowable load limits, thereby causing electrical arcing, facility problems and/or interaction and interference with other equipment. Safety certification also ensures that mechanical hazards such as user “pinch points,” tipping, sharp edges and crush/cut potential are mitigated.

What are the risks of using non-certified products? You may be surprised at how many there are. Here is a list of considerations when choosing the right systems for your campus:

  1. Critical materials are not fire resistant: This is a potential fire hazard if a battery or electrical fault occurs.
  2. Electrical hazards are not physically enclosed: Shock hazards exist if energized circuitry can potentially be touched either directly or if exposed metal is not safely grounded or properly isolated. Another fire hazard can exist if the enclosure can potentially let out flames or molten metal if an electrical fault occurs inside of the enclosure.
  3. Mechanical hazards are not mitigated: If not properly tested and certified, pinch points, tip, crush or cut, sharp edges, and moving parts can injure students and staff.
  4. Equipment ratings must meet National Electrical Code: Non-evaluated systems may exceed allowable load limits causing electrical arcing, facility problems and/or interaction and interference with other equipment.
  5. No manufacturing factory quality surveillance: Product quality and consistency must be managed and ensured.

Whether you are a choosing a small desktop unit for a back office, a wall unit for an AV center, or a full cart for laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, or netbooks in the classroom, safety should be a number one priority for all the stakeholders involved. Technology is meant to open up new worlds to the students, not new headaches for teachers and IT staff. Look for the certified safety labels or documentation and be sure to differentiate the whole system is safe.

Check out the educator resources on our website, including a grant writing kit, to power up every classroom safely and securely. Also, our charging matrix (PDF) can help you choose the right solution for your environment.

Bob Hill, Ergotron’s Global Education Manager

Bob Hill, Global Education Manager, @LearnFit_Bob

Bob Hill, @LearnFit_Bob

Ergotron Named Winner of Two Tech & Learning Awards

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Great ed-tech news! Ergotron was recognized by Tech & Learning Magazine with two Award of Excellence designations for innovative solutions to aid student health and academic performance in our schools.  Products honored were the new-category creating, mobile Ergotron LearnFit™ Standing Desk for students, and the Anthro wall-mountable YES Charging Cabinet that powers up mini-laptops in cramped classrooms and media centers.

Tech & Learning’s prestigious Awards of Excellence program recognizes innovative technologies that break new ground as education tools. Winners are selected by panels of professional users, editors and a panel of more than 30 educator judges who tested hundreds of products for their quality, effectiveness, and ease or creative use of technology.

Nortek Acquires Anthro Corporation, Technology Furniture®

Nortek, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTK) today announced the acquisition of Anthro Corporation, the Oregon-based designer and manufacturer of technology furniture to join Nortek’s Ergotron and OmniMount brands (see the release).anthro-logo-notag_Red_2

“We share similar cultures and our employees put customers first in everything they do,” said Pete Segar, Ergotron President and CEO. “This shared passion and energy will drive new innovations that not only support our mission of delivering the kinds of solutions that promote healthier and more productive environments, but also strategically prepare us for future trends.”

By uniting the strengths and resources of Ergotron and Anthro, our combined organization is positioned to better serve the growing global demand for high-quality and affordable digital life and workstyle products. We are excited to welcome Anthro employees aboard today!

One Cart To Rule Them All? We Think So

Ergotron Zip40 Carts and Zip12 Desktop Cabinet

Meet our newest charging systems family! Ergotron’s Zip40 Charging Cart, Zip40 Charging and Management Cart, and Zip12 Charging Desktop Cabinet all share a universal desire to keep your tablet, Chromebook™, Ultrabook™, MacBook® and laptop devices−individually or in any combination−secure, protected and charged.

Adjustable dividers gives you flexibility in which devices you charge together. You can move or remove dividers as needed to create your own custom-size spaces:

  • For Carts: 40-unit capacity with 1.1ʺ-wide (28 mm) slots and partial shelf for extra storage—ideal for tablets, Chromebooks and Ultrabooks; 30-unit capacity with 1.4ʺ-wide (35 mm) slots—great for full-size laptops or other devices with large cases
  • For Desktop: 12-unit capacity with 1.1ʺ-wide (28 mm) slots and partial shelf for extra storage—ideal for tablets, Chromebooks and Ultrabooks; 8-unit capacity with 1.4ʺ-wide (35 mm) slots—great for full-size laptops or other devices with large cases of these needed

Central to both carts is Ergotron’s reliable and patented PowerShuttle® power management system which charges up to 30% faster than a standard round-robin charging system so devices are ready you need them, and the system never waste time charging empty slots.

From the classroom to your backroom retail management of devices, this cart has something for everyone. But hey, that’s us. Take a look for yourself!

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To choose the right charging system for you visit Charging.ergotron.com.

Choosing the right device charging station…a few considerations

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More than 90 percent of Americans own a cellphone, 32 percent own an e-reader and 42 percent own a tablet computer. Schools are facing a burgeoning amount of tablet usage in their classrooms, whether that be BYOD, 1:1 or 1: to many. And it is falling on IT/Media to figure out how to best charge, sync, store and secure this investment.

There are a lot of questions to answer, and creating side-by-side comparisons of solutions will help. Use this information to help prioritize your needs so that when you start evaluating solutions, you know where to draw the line. Whether to leverage assets or to meet space challenges, here are a few things to consider:

1.  Choose mobility for larger quantities of devices

With wide casters for easy moving across multiple surfaces, and storage to house multiple devices at a time, a charging cart is your best bet. Plus, it can easily be rolled into a closet to be locked up for the night. Here are some questions to think through cart options:

  • Will the devices be used exclusively in one class or will they be shared across the building?
  • Will they be stored by the teacher in the classroom or should they be housed in the Media Center or IT manager’s office?
  • Is it important to be able to visually check whether a device is plugged in properly and charging?
  • Is it secure? Will the locking mechanisms deter theft?


2.  
Choose fixed or desktop options for small quantities 

If you need to only manage a small number of devices, look for charging stations that can either be mounted on the wall or will sit on a desk or countertop. Take into consideration the following:

  • Does it offer a low profile to help avoid interfering with flow of students or staff around the room?
  • Consider the size of charging slots if the devices have cases; not all charging systems are created equal
  • Can the unit scale if class or device requirements grow?
  • Is security an issue? Do you need to lock up the device or is it safe to leave them in an open environment?
  • Ease of access to device is important, look for units that make device insertion and retrieval a snap

3.  Also important, choose safety!

Whether rolling out 20 devices or 1000, don’t forget the electrical requirements. Look for products that are UL labeled for the whole unit, not just the components. Charging station that have been designed to be a safe product requires redundant safety features, special abuse tests; both component and full system level certifications to all government standards is ideal when used in public places such as schools. Whether adults are the only ones interacting with the unit, or if students engage with it too, look for products that are rugged and suit the environment where they are being placed. Learn more about safe product design.

IMAG0455It’s fascinating to watch where the future of classroom technology is going. 360° classrooms, sit-stand learning environments, no barriers cyber-education…each new adoption faces its challenges. Being prepared means doing your homework ahead of making a purchasing decision. When you do integrate that new solution and it’s a winner for staff and students give yourself a gold star or take an Instagram selfie—some IT geekery is allowed!

Or you can do what most people do, visit Charging.ergotron.com to see side-by-side comparisons of our device charging carts, wall mounts, and desktop units. We have a very broad selection all in one place for you to review.

And of course, I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

By Sheila Veschusio, Ergotron Education Industry Manager

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[1] Pew Internet Mobile Technology Fact Sheet- http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/

 

[Video] Device Management: Smart Technology for Schools

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Meet Mary and Tim! They’ll show you how Ergotron’s charging carts and storage cabinets sync, charge and store iPad devices, Chromebooks, laptops and tablets while providing secure access to staff and students—wherever needed throughout the school.

Learn more about Ergotron’s entire line of charging carts and stations.

(Infographic) Nursing Challenges and Changes

While nurses represent the majority of the U.S. healthcare workforce and are on the front lines of the industry’s radical transformation, they face many daily challenges. Nurses are responsible for quality care and patient satisfaction, yet they continue to spend more time interacting with technology and potentially less and less time actually providing care to patients, making it harder to provide outstanding care.

Nurses went into the profession because they wanted to take care of people. In this world of technology they are spending up to 35% of their day doing documentation. This infographic looks at ways that they can make that 35% more tolerable and reduce or combine documentation time with patient interaction (triangle of care).

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We believe that if we can provide equipment to relieve physical burdens, solutions to technology problems and broadband telemedicine to alleviate the widespread nursing shortage, the healthcare industry and nurses in particular will be better positioned to do the job they are meant to be doing- providing quality care to patients.

Click here for a PDF of the Infographic and Creative Commons Attribution.

Manage your devices—like a tablet tango

Ergotron Tablet Management Station 16That’s how you’ll be handling your devices with the Tablet Management Station 16. Just line ‘em up and watch this tablet-mastermind go to work with rhythm and pizzazz.

This coordinated piece of hardware gets along with nearly every tablet on the dance floor, using wired USB connections—whether it’s an Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, an Amazon Kindle, or an e-reader.

Similar to a dance instructor, the Tablet Management Station 16 can also choreograph up to 16 devices to a digitally synced-up and charged-up formation. No, they don’t actually dance, but you’ll be tempted to tango with all the time you’ve saved, thanks to your new friend. Aren’t you happy we introduced you two?

DM16-1003-inuse2Both compact and versatile, the Tablet Management Station 16 is affordably priced (MSRP US$599) and easy-to-use right out of the box. The sleek space-saving tower sets up easily on a table, a counter top  or a desk.

Simply store it out of the way when the job is done. The Tablet Management Station 16 won’t leave you guessing as its Individual Status Indicator (ISI) LEDs shines an amber light while charging…and gives you the green light when it’s go time. 

 

DM16-1003-usbQuality Traits:

  • Charge and Sync up to 16 devices at one time
  • Entire system fully certified to UL 60950-1 standard
  • Universal compatibility for Apple and Android devices, such as iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle
  • Full 2.1A charging capability provided to all 16 ports simultaneously
  • Station automatically adjusts to provide the correct amount of power required by the tablet
  • Master laptop connects to station using included USB A to B cable 

This product might not get you ready for a stint on Dancing with the Stars, but as a partner in ready-to-use tablets and devices for critical business initiatives? It takes top billing.

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.