So BETT has come and gone for another year and what have I learnt?  Well not being stuck in a meeting room for 3 straight days, only let out for food and water periodically when I was starting to show signs of exhaustion, was much more pleasurable!  Getting to see what vendors, resellers and the competition are doing is very useful for someone trying to differentiate in a new business.

However what was really new at this year’s BETT, what hadn’t I seen before, what made me stop and stare in amazement in the change for the educational landscape?  Short answer is basically nothing….sorry for not bringing a totally different technology to you to look at, work with and move what you are doing in your establishment to the next level.

There were 2 announcements that were of interest though and ones that I think could make a difference over the coming year to what decisions schools make on technology.  The first is some of the additions Microsoft have made to their offering, as I said last week I had a feeling they may make some noise after Google’s shouting last year!  We have seen the investment news of £30m in to the UK education market from them, the acquisition on MinecraftEDU (if it wasn’t popular enough already) and the aggressive pricing on the Surface product alongside their growing team in hardware!!  For me though the most interesting was the new scheduling software and the upcoming “classroom” software which I think really has elevated Microsoft up to compete with Google in the cloud services space.  It just felt very slick….not only was it functional but also looked good. We will see what the market thinks of them but this felt like a real development not just a rehash of current offerings.

Secondly was the launch by HP of the subscription proposition for their devices, chromebook in particular, which caught the eye.  One of my questions has been for a number of years why do we need to “own” any of the tech in the education system?  It is constantly changing yet and are we seeing the value of a capital outlay on the kit being purchased?  This offering of a device, management console and warranty bundled in to a monthly subscription over 3 years for under £5 per month makes this a winner for me.  Obviously edde can take this and add in accidental damage & theft insurance with the contribution scheme management to make this a <£7 offering….unbelievable value.  This was just devices but I am interested to see how long it is till all technology is being delivered in this subscription manner, keep the best and most up to date tech in the school for a set price.

In conclusion it was another interesting and very tiring week but it was great meeting with friends and colleagues. It is still the best week of the year to talk to people about the market and their plans, I definitely recommend getting out and about rather than being stuck on a stand for four days…..