The K-12 educational technology market is hot. And with so many students now learning from home, the requirements have changed dramatically. Demand for innovative setups is high from both schools and families.
One potential drawback: If you’re new to the edtech market, the learning curve can be steep.
Intel Partner University is here to help. It’s offering 9 courses to get you schooled on the lucrative and fast-moving education tech market.
K-12 Education 101
Are you new to the U.S. K-12 education market? No worries. This comprehensive overview brings you up to speed, exploring the key issues, stakeholders and processes of ed-tech procurement.
Selling to K-12 education means having a firm grasp of the needs, expectations and challenges of a variety of stakeholders. That includes everyone from administrators and principals to parents and teachers. Knowing who’s who will help you better anticipate stakeholder concerns during all phases of the sales cycle from prospecting to closing.
Virtual learning requires educators to use a wide variety of tools to create engaging content and resources in an ever-changing environment. In this course, you’ll learn how Intel is helping educators to better leverage technology to support students in online, virtual and hybrid learning models.
Value of Collaborating with Intel
The course is designed to familiarize you with Intel’s K-12 resources and augment your knowledge of the K-12 market. The contents, drawn from a variety of Intel-published resources, will provide you with the background knowledge to understand specific challenges faced by districts, schools, educators, parents and students.
In K-12 education, it all comes down to the right device. This comprehensive course will familiarize you with the resulting data and recommendations from Intel’s August 2020 Chromebook device study, “The Right Chromebook for Virtual Learning.” This valuable data can help sellers see how processor performance affects teaching and learning, especially in virtual environments.
Educators and students need dependable, secure and flexible devices now more than ever. This course will familiarize you with the resulting data and recommendations from “The Right Windows Device for Virtual Learning,” a report published in July 2020 and commissioned by Intel. With this crucial data, sellers will be equipped for meaningful conversations with customers regarding how processor performance affects teaching and learning, especially in virtual environments.
eSports in K-12
K-12 eSports is an incredible opportunity for resellers and those in the channel for a variety of reasons. With this engaging overview, you’ll better understand eSports and the opportunity it holds for your K-12 education customers and business.
In eSports, performance can make the difference between victory and defeat. Led by Michael Harrison, Intel’s director of education sales, this compelling overview helps resellers to better understand Intel's engagement with competitive eSports and the K-12 eSports opportunity.
Scholastic eSports reveals countless opportunities for students seeking 21st Century skills and potential careers. Likewise, eSports provides lucrative opportunities for resellers. In this course, Laylah Bulman, director of strategic partnerships at the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), shares valuable strategies and tips for qualifying leads when engaging in K-12 eSports conversations with potential customers.
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Supporting remote PC users has become super-important during the pandemic, and there’s every sign that it will remain just as important in the future.
A Gartner poll conducted last summer found that over 80% of company leaders plan to let their employees work remotely at least some of the time, even after he pandemic ends. Working from home, it seems, is here to stay. So is the need for remote PC support.
One tech provider fully engaged in supporting remote PC users is 365 Managed IT. Based in Tempe, Ariz., the company offers a full suite of managed services, including IT management, maintenance and support.
365 Managed IT also uses two Intel technologies for better IT functionality and lower service-delivery costs: the Intel vPro platform and Intel Endpoint Management Assistant (EMA).
With help from these two Intel technologies, 365 Managed IT has reduced the average time it needs to resolve a hardware problem by 50%. Lowered the average time needed to reduce a software problem by 66%. And cut the number of monthly desk-side visits by 60%.
To learn more, we spoke recently with 365 Managed IT’s founding co-partner and senior technical consultant, Ken Stewart. Following are edited highlights from our interview.
Ken Stewart, senior technical consultant, 365 Managed IT
You’ve used the Intel vPro platform for its remote management capabilities. How does adding Intel Endpoint Management Assistant make things even better?
It’s great that we don’t have to run a proxy server on our clients’ sites in order to manage PCs built on the Intel vPro platform. Now we only have to manage one server hosting Intel EMA. It simplifies things for us greatly, and that’s really huge for us.
About 40% of our client base is charter schools. They don’t have an on-site IT infrastructure because everything they use is cloud-based. Intel EMA lets us reach them.
This is a huge deal. A lot of the work we do at schools is done after-hours. So we need to be able to reach systems—and if we can’t, we need to be able to turn them on. Intel EMA lets us do this. In the education market, that’s a big advantage.
How does Intel EMA give you a better reach into the growing number of out-of-office workers?
The rest of our customer base went remote with COVID, and a few are just starting to transition back to offices. But based on what I’m seeing in the news, I think most companies won’t return soon.
With so many of our clients now working from home instead of in the office, our calls have increased. Intel EMA gives us the ability to reach systems not sitting on corporate networks.
How did you cut hardware-repair times by 40 percent?
Intel EMA allows us to diagnose PC problems remotely at the hardware level. That means letting us see an issue without rolling a truck.
It seems like many of our remote clients are locked out by forgetting their disk encryption password. With Intel EMA, we can access a PC’s desktop and use a new password to get past the disk encryption. This helps us resolve issues quickly and efficiently.
You’ve reduced on-site visits too, right?
With Intel EMA, we can make far fewer trips onsite. With our prior technology, we were able to resolve about 70% of our tickets remotely. But with Intel EMA access, we can complete up to 90% of our tickets remotely.
If our technicians aren’t spending time on the road, they can close more tickets in less time. We can work more quickly because the Intel vPro platform gives us remote access to the client’s desktop in ways we didn’t have access before.
You work closely with two other suppliers, Lenovo and Datto. Why them?
As a Lenovo partner, we appreciate the company’s customer support as well as the pricing. And our clients like the consistency of Lenovo’s products and how long-lasting they are. Since we’ve started working with Lenovo, our clients have not had any performance issues with the equipment.
As for Datto, they’re a one-stop shop with a focus on MSP markets. That’s been key for us as a Datto continuity partner. We’ve had very few issues, and the support has been excellent. If there was better integration with Intel EMA, that would make the tool even more helpful.
Get faster, too:
Lots of tech providers may brag about their systems being bulletproof. But only a few can say they offer military-grade IT. One of them is G6 Communications.
Based in Bluffton, Ind., G6 was founded in 2007 by two veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps. In fact, their company’s name, “G6,” refers to the Marines’ communications unit. Today G6 offers managed IT services, consulting, compliance audits, cybersecurity, cloud and more. All of it military grade.
One of G6’s newest offerings is Device as a Service (DaaS). To offer this, G6 has standardized on Lenovo business PCs built with Intel Core vPro processors. As a result, the company has cut the average time to resolve a hardware problem in half, to just 60 minutes; reduced the average time needed to resolve a software problem by 88%, to 10 minutes; and cut the number of deskside visits by more than 80%.
To learn more, we spoke recently with G6’s director of operations, David Cox. Here are highlights from our interview.
David Cox of G6 Communications
You recommend PCs built on the Intel vPro platform. Why is that?
We have standardized on business-class PCs built with Intel Core vPro processors. In order to deliver business-class IT support, we need the remote management capabilities provided by Intel vPro. With the addition of Intel Endpoint Management Assistant [Intel EMA], vPro-based PCs just got even easier to manage. We can now fully configure PCs remotely, without touching the machine.
How has Intel vPro tech helped you cut hardware-repair times in half?
Because Intel vPro technology lets us diagnose a hardware issue remotely, we can take the right part with us on the first visit, and avoid a second truck roll. This saves us time and labor costs. It also reduces the amount of downtime the customer has to sit through.
How has Intel’s KVM [keyboard/video/mouse] Remote Control reduced your OS repair times by 87%?
The ability to remotely get into the PC’s BIOS is a lifesaver. It lets us repair OS issues without a truck roll, which is more cost effective and much faster. With the integration of Intel EMA into our management console software, this gets even better, as we can fully configure machines remotely and maintain Admin Control Mode. This helps us fix issues more quickly without having to involve the customer in a clunky over-the-phone diagnosis. This is huge for customer satisfaction.
You recommend Lenovo PCs to your customers. Why Lenovo?
We use Lenovo PCs—and we have since I started with G6 ten years ago—because their systems are rock-solid and run with virtually no problems. And if we ever do need their support, the Lenovo rep is out there the next day—direct to our client site.
What about Connectwise Automate remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform? How do you use it, and why?
We use ConnectWise Automate because it’s the most flexible RMM we’ve seen. We can write scripts for any process. Honestly, we haven’t even scratched the surface of everything the software can do. And with the new integration of Intel EMA, Connectwise continues to keep us ahead of the curve.
Poking at touchscreens in public places has definitely fallen out of fashion. An action that at one time would not have even registered with a person is now the basis for a conscious decision, maybe even a matter of personal debate:
> Who touched that screen before me?
> Has that screen been sanitized?
> What if I infect it for the next person?
> Is this safe?
These are questions we never would have considered 12 months ago. But now they’re common, even normal.
Enter a simply elegant solution to turn touchscreen displays and kiosks into touchless ones. Intel RealSense Touchless Control Software (TCS) is a cost-effective way to transition to touchless systems, and without writing software code or replacing existing displays.
Intel RealSense TCS works with the Intel RealSense Depth Camera D435 to enable a safer way for users to interact with public displays.
The Intel RealSense TCS software sits on top of existing software, and the camera is mounted directly above the screen. This supports a variety of screen sizes in landscape or portrait modes.
For your customers in retail, hospitality, banking and more, this is a simple yet effective solution to make their clientele feel safe and comfortable.
Learn how you can put this to work for your customers. Watch this on-demand demo replay from CES.
Mining the vast volumes of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) can deliver greater business insights, efficiency and productivity. But the IoT market is broad and fragmented, covering many segments and use cases. Scaling proven IoT use cases across markets is complex and requires ecosystem collaboration.
Identifying the characteristics of solutions that can repeat deploy is the first step — a litmus test helping to strategically accelerate growth across all market segments. For example, has a solution been successfully deployed before and demonstrated commercial viability? Is there a committed partner for deployment and support?
Intel has been focused on getting IoT products out of innovation labs and into the market as commercially viable solutions delivering real business value to end users now. These attributes — deployable, scalable, supported — became the curation mechanism of Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions.
Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions are scalable, repeatable, end-to-end solutions that are currently available in the market. These solutions are made up of sensors, edge hardware, software, cloud and analytics from across the IoT ecosystem and delivered through one provider.
To qualify, a solution must:
> Include all edge-to-cloud components
> Demonstrate clear and measurable business value
> Be commercially deployed
> Be fully supported
By choosing Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions, end customers can benefit from scalable, repeatable solutions designed to solve key market challenges in their industry.
Get ready to RFP
Similarly, Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits are focused technology offerings that solve a class of market problems. They have been deployed and tested in the field. These kits offer hardware, software and support bundled together. The technology must be scalable so that the solutions offered can grow according to customer requirements.
To be considered an Intel IoT RFP Ready Kit, a solution must be:
> Vertical use case-focused
> Be commercially deployed
Both Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions and Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits simplify the deployment of key end user capabilities. These programs organically overlap to meet partners and end users wherever they are in the value chain, offering the ingredients needed to keep moving at scale.
Intel is working with a number of IoT solution aggregators who play a key role in scaling IoT opportunities. Intel IoT Solution Aggregators sell solutions stacks to many IT systems integrators (SIs) and Operational Technology (OT) SIs, who then sell and service end-customer deployments.
Connecting solutions to an aggregator who is committed to adding the complete bundle as an inventory item for their end users accelerates partner outcomes in every market segment. Aggregators play a critical role in the IoT value chain for end users.
Over 400 Intel-curated solutions — tested to be deployable, scalable and supported — are now active in the market. IoT intelligent-edge capabilities represent exciting opportunities to work across verticals to accelerate insight from data.
Next-level collaboration between Intel and ecosystem partners is delivering invaluable business-development opportunities, complete with matchmaking, events and marketing campaigns.
About the Author: Jennifer Miller is Intel’s manager of IoT solutions strategy and scale.
In the blink of an eye. That’s how fast frequently used software programs can run on a properly configured PC.
Who says? MJP Technologies, an IT solutions provider based in Ventura, Calif. In business for more than 25 years, MJP has completed over 9,500 projects for some 1,000 customers.
Some of MJP’s customers asked for PCs that could boost their productivity, accelerate refreshes and help them grow their businesses. MJP’s solution? HP laptops loaded with Intel Optane memory H10 with solid state storage.
In MJP’s own tests, a laptop with Intel Optane memory launched applications up to 5 times faster than laptops without. The Intel Optane-equipped laptops also loaded workbooks up to 2.5 times faster.
To learn more, we spoke recently with MJP’s VP of new technologies, Jas Batra. Here are highlights from our interview.
Jas Batra, VP of new technologies, MJP Technologies
What type of customer and applications did you select to test the Intel Optane memory H10?
We deployed an HP Dragonfly with Intel Optane memory H10 with Solid State Storage on a U.S. Navy research vessel. This ship, based in our area, makes research trips out into the Pacific Ocean. There’s a lab on board, and they also use their PCs to drive remotely operated underwater vehicles.
How did you test the solution?
We tested the HP Dragonfly against a six-month-old Lenovo laptop. Both were equipped with the same SSD. The difference was, the HP Dragonfly had the Intel Optane memory H10, and the Lenovo laptop did not.
We tested app load times and the speed of switching between users. Each PC had multiple users, each with their own Active Directory login. These users often leave applications running between sessions, which can slow a system down.
With reduced launch times and fast user-switching times, there is no doubt that Intel Optane H10-based systems can increase the productivity of every user. It created time for them, and they normally have very limited time available.
How did your customer respond?
All the users were impressed with the HP laptop’s performance in comparison to the Lenovo system. The HP system greatly improved productivity, and that creates more time for them. If they’re wasting time waiting for a PC to load an app or document, that takes away from their research work.
How does this solution fit into your company’s managed services offering?
In terms of the HP Dragonfly, it will be easy to discuss with clients that haven’t already standardized on other brands. The device’s design, weight and overall form factor make it easy to use, especially with the integrated privacy screen.
Intel Optane memory H10 will be an easy sell, too. Especially when we can point out the gains for literally any form factor.
We’ve had good experiences with the HP Dragonfly. The number of features available on this system, along with the integrated privacy screen, make it excellent for business users.
We also have a lot of hospital customers, and for them, privacy is key. So this would be an easy sell to them, as well.
When does a PC with just 4GB of memory outperform another system with 16GB? When that first device uses Intel Optane memory.
So finds MIS Choice Inc., a managed service provider based in Schaumberg, Ill., roughly 30 miles northwest of Chicago. Founded in 1999, the company today provides services that include managed IT, tech support, strategic procurement and cloud.
As part of its PC-refresh work, MIS Choice has been testing Intel Optane memory. This technology closes the gap between traditional memory and storage, providing PCs with both speed and capacity, and at a low price.
To learn more about this memory test, we spoke recently with MIS Choice’s chief operating officer, Reginald Pruitt. The following are highlights from our discussion.
Reginald Pruitt, COO, MIS Choice
How did MIS Choice evaluate Intel Optane memory?
We implemented a Lenovo Tiny PC equipped with Intel Optane memory for a healthcare provider. This particular customer was coming up on a refresh of some of their hardware. They typically refresh 40 units at a time, so we wanted to see their interest in using Intel Optane memory-equipped systems. The Tiny system integrated well with their model for nurses’ stations.
What was the client’s result?
Their startup time was much faster. I was impressed because the system only had 4 GB of RAM. When we sell systems, we typically recommend 8 GB of RAM as a minimum, and 16 GB as the ideal. But the 4GB Intel Optane memory-equipped PC ran faster than an SSD hard drive with 16 GB of RAM. This system worked perfectly. I was really surprised at how fast it was — and so was my client.
Does Intel Optane memory offer good value for money?
Absolutely. Our client won’t have to buy the extra memory we would have typically recommended in the past. That’s due to the performance of Intel Optane memory. Our clients will spend less and get better performance. You simply can’t argue with the price point. The startup time on the system with Intel Optane memory changed from a minute and a half to under 20 seconds. This kind of speed will sell our clients on the product.
Does Intel Optane memory help you accelerate PC refresh?
Our healthcare provider client was happy with the system speed, and when they do their next refresh, they’re looking forward to getting more units like the one we deployed. For efficiency, it helps to have a machine that reacts quickly. PCs equipped with Intel Optane memory help clients save time and money.
You specify Lenovo PCs. Why?
We’ve been with Lenovo for about 15 years. We’re a reseller, so we have a good relationship with Lenovo. Not only do we provide our clients with Lenovo, but everyone in our company also uses Lenovo systems. We like the way they look and how well they perform. Lenovo has different size models to match customer needs, and the machines are durable.