Q:We expect another flat year for our education sales. What is your perception of the K-12 marketplace for 2012?
A: Well, we will learn a lot more about how the economy and regional construction starts will impact the education marketplace at our upcoming business conference. For now let me address the sales and technology solutions part of this. I really see a pent up demand situation occurring here. Especially in the public K-12 sector, schools have been so financially strapped that even simple upgrades and replacements have been delayed. The need is still there, which should be very good for our members as funding becomes available. The “when” is what none of us really know for sure. However members have been reporting things really picking up and their seeing new construction starts in regions that haven’t had a school built in years.
On the technology, I see two big market drivers where funding seems to be available. The first involves the huge influence of mobile devices especially the I-pad and tablets. I believe we are getting very close to having student owned or school furnished devices used to display homework, learning apps, quizzes, etc via the interactive boards and displays. I can see wireless and docking stations, room You should really consider the impact of mobile devices in the classrooms. We will see classroom communications and A-V packages built around this growing demand.
The second is affordable room control and integration to the intercom, clock, VoIP phones, display devices, security, CCTV, emergency communications, digital signage and so on. Whenever security and life safety become a part of the systems funding seems to be easier to obtain. Many grants can be found that help schools fund these types of projects. It’s similar to how the e-rate funding was so beneficial a few years ago. There are other technologies that will have a positive impact, but these two jump out at me. CW