SMART brings ClaaS to education

Devices used in the classroom

Interactive display manufacturer SMART Technologies (NASDAQ:SMT) has today launched Classroom as a Service (ClaaS), which has been designed to enable schools to purchase technology on a subscription basis.

Schools will be able to buy interactive displays, collaborative learning software, and receive professional development and support under one service agreement.

This way, says the Canadian vendor, schools can benefit from the latest technology by making monthly or quarterly payments over the length of a defined subscription term without a significant upfront investment.

“The IT industry adopted service models a long time ago, because it was cheaper and better in the long term,” Neil Gaydon, CEO of SMART Technologies tells Channel Pro.

“Schools face a very difficult time trying to keep up with the relentless pace of technology advancement coupled with the necessary training due to limited budgets and where parents are demanding the right tools for their children,” says Gaydon.

SMART says ClaaS can produce cost savings of as much as 40 percent when compared to an outright purchase. It also says that school staff can receive ongoing servicing, training and maintenance, covered by the agreement, and add more equipment and services as and when required.

Channel partners can also potentially include other equipment and services such as tablets, PCs, printers and Wi-Fi from certain “best of breed” suppliers.

“It means [partners can get new service revenues,” says Gaydon. “As long as they put in place good quality service, they can get recurring revenues from software, recurring revenues from training and recurring revenues from supporting Wi-Fi and infrastructure.”

Colin Bosher, who looks after software, solutions and services for SMART says it enables the channel to establish a more sustainable business, comparable to the managed print industry.

“It’s about helping to transition the channel from a transactional model to a service delivery model, he comments.

SMART says it is on the lookout for new partners to deliver the service. “We do want channel partners that understand software and the service model, and want to benefit from this programme,” says Gaydon, who says the firm will work alongside distributor Steljes on partner recruitment.

“We hope to have new channel apply, as I think it’s likely a lot of schools will adopt this model.”

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.