Solving the computing problem in education

With Open Country in the hands of a vertical market vendor, school networks can be managed remotely for the first time, for a reasonable fee. School computer budgeting becomes predictable.

Ever since my daughter Robin was born, I've been covering education technology.

It has been a history of failure.

Back when Windows was rendering everything obsolete every three years, technology coordinators in education were dead men (or women) walking. As soon as they got systems ready for training teachers, the systems were obsolete.

This is no longer the case. Computers are cheap. Since their primary use is to access the Internet, they remain useful for years. But only if these assets are managed. And solutions like Tivoli, are not cost-effective in the K-12 market.

So schools' technology coordinators are still dead men (and women) walking. Especially when they tell the bosses that the hardware and software they're buying is just 15% of the money they need to spend.

Solutions are finally coming from the world of open source. From Open Country, CEO Michael Grove told me. "We do system discovery and systems management. We can do remote monitoring, asset discovery, diagnostics, repository management, provisioning, deployment, security updates and scheduling."

With Open Country in the hands of a vertical market vendor, school networks can be managed remotely for the first time, for a reasonable fee. School computer budgeting becomes predictable.

Grove has been working with Intel to deliver these kinds of cost-effective solutions to India under Linux. "We can sign channel partners to roll trucks. Now you can just press a button on our graphical user interface and reprovision without having to know anything. In the background our management system is doing the lifting."

Great. When will it be available here? "We’ve found a group who is working with lots of school districts and is putting together solutions. We’ll have Windows by year-end."

Robin graduated high school last month.

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