Bett Show 2015 Review
2015 was Redstor's 9th year of exhibiting at Bett. The event showcases the latest technology and software resources available to a global gathering of the education market. It was attended by over 35,000 education professionals, from 113 countries as well as over 700 exhibitors who were on hand to display and discuss their services and solutions.
This year was Redstor's most successful year at Bett with more meetings booked in advance, as well as more meaningful unscheduled conversations with attendees, than ever before. We were joined by CentraStage / Autotask on Stand A40, not far from the N2 entrance.
Over the years, Redstor has seen Bett's attendee makeup change to include Academies, Federations, Multi-Academy Trusts, Free Schools, Independent Schools, International Schools and a host of other types of organisation. We've seen this change occur in-line with the transformation in the delivery of IT services to schools from the public sector to private sector and now with larger schools providing support to groups of smaller schools.
Every year, the feedback gained from attendees is invaluable in helping shape Redstor's range of education-focused services and solutions. We've used this information to be part of the educational transformation, remaining nimble and adapting to the changing environment.
Outlined below is some of the feedback gained from speaking with hundreds of schools and service providers at this year's show:
The changing market - Not only are more and schools becoming academies but there are now a plethora of different types of school and many schools are pooling their resources to increase their buying power. Many secondary schools and colleges are now providing IT support to primary and feeder schools.
School data volumes - Fuelled by increased use of IT and a greater focus on technology within the curriculum, data volumes are growing quickly across the board, creating challenges for schools in terms of coping with data. Even primary schools often have multiple TBs of data that requires backing up.
Cloud storage - Schools are looking to the cloud to address their increasing data storage requirements. As well as traditional file sync and share type services, there was a lot of interest in simple cloud-based storage that acts for all intents and purposes like a local hard drive (albeit with slower read and write times).
Hosted office and collaboration suites - Schools are moving to these services in droves. At the same time, there is a degree of unease about the level of migration support offered by the providers of these services. There is often no face behind the cloud with these service providers and little opportunity to develop trust in them or a relationship with them. Whilst there are a large number of third party organisations available to assist with migrations, it is still perceived as difficult by many. There is also a lot of unease about using non-UK services. Data sovereignty remains a concern, fuelled in no small part by the Patriot Act.
Collaboration - Many schools are struggling to share data effectively with teachers, other schools and third party organisations securely. Whether these third party organisations are speech and language therapists or social services, data must be securely protected to avoid loss or leakage.
Desktop virtualisation - Infrastructure refreshes and VDI projects were mentioned often. Schools are moving to these infrastructures to simplify ongoing management of their IT estate.
Online learning - E-learning and online learning platforms were again prominent at Bett this year. However, talking to school attendees as well as service providers, it became clear that many schools are struggling to implement them effectively. When asked why, many put this down to teacher preference and a generation gap. Whilst younger, often less senior teachers are eager to make use of them, older and more senior teachers either don't see the benefit of them or don't want to change their teaching methods. This also raises the question of whether the current class of e-learning platforms are truly transformational or merely a new, different means of teaching.
Tablets - The jury is still out on whether tablets are a shiny toy or of real educational value. Many teachers and school IT staff are still searching for the killer apps that will enable them to transform the educational outcomes of students in the classroom. At the same time, IT staff still find them a challenge to manage effectively, and are struggling to integrate them with the rest of their IT estate.
The international contingent - BETT's international attendance must have been well up this year. Certainly the international day was far busier than usual.
In all, the show was a real success and Redstor will be back in 2016, celebrating a decade at Bett.
Founded in 1998, Redstor is an ISO 9001 and 27001 certified provider of cloud-based services to the education market. Redstor's range of services includes secure cloud backup, endpoint encryption, unified endpoint management, safeguarding, cloud file sync and share and secure file transfer.