How has a Surge in BYOD Affected the Education Software Market?

On Saturday, March 23, 2013, The New York Times published an article by Matt Richtel, Digitally Aided Education, Using the Students’ Own Electronic Gear. In this article, Mr. Richtel signals a shift in the market for educational software from on premises to cloud, software as a service (SaaS) applications: ” . . . a growing number of schools are adopting a new, even more controversial approach: asking students to bring their own smartphones, tablets, laptops and even their own video game players to class.” (quoted from Matt Richtel’s article, a link to which has been provided here).

Smartphones, tablets and video game players use browser clients to access cloud applications. Laptop OSs like Microsoft® Windows and Apple OS X continue to work very well with clients for either software served on premises, or browsers for SaaS. Mr. Richter quotes Professor Elliott Soloway of the University of Michigan who opines on a new trend, schools encouraging students to “bring your own device” (BYOD) to the classroom. Professor Soloway thinks public school administrators are ” . . . hoping there’s going to be a for-free solution because they don’t have any money.” (ibid). The history of SaaSs offered over the Internet includes many examples of free applications — every browser, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and more. We think it makes sense for educational software ISVs on the lookout for near term markets to concentrate on building SaaS applications.

Articles like this one by Mr. Richtel provide simply another example in a growing list of reasons why ISVs should plan on delivering products over the Internet. ISVs with a deep commitment to products that require an installation on premises will face an increasingly difficult obstacle.

The security argument for on premises computing is compelling (in the past we strongly advocated this position), but our review of some of the history of security breaches point more to SaaS users not following correct guidelines, as the true culprit, rather than flaws in the technology.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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