Education Solutions Guide

education solutions guide education


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CMS Distribution – p43, 46-47 CMS Distribution represents 200+ manufacturers, selling to a customer base of corporate resellers, managed service providers, high street and online retailers ranging from large multi-nationals to smaller, independent IT companies. Eaton – p9-11 Eaton is a power management company operating in some 175 countries. Its energy-efficient products and services help customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more reliably, efficiently, safely and sustainably. EET / Cambium Networks – p39-41

Exertis / Lenovo – p32-34 Exertis is one of the UK&I’s largest and fastest growing technology distribution and specialist service providers. Lenovo manufactures PCs, tablets, monitors, accessories, smartphones, smart home and smart collaboration solutions and much more. Exclusive Networks is a cybersecurity specialist at the centre of digitally driven business change with an evolving portfolio of industry-leading solutions. Its pedigree is in developing and driving new market opportunities from technology. EET provides expertise and digital services to some 30,000 customers and offers same-day shipment of 90,000+ products. Cambium Networks offers fixed wireless and Wi-Fi to broadband service providers and enterprises to provide internet access. Exclusive Networks – p14-15 Northamber / PFU – a Ricoh company – p25-27 Northamber is the UK’s longest established technology distributor and passionate about tech and delivering a great service. PFU – a Ricoh company – offers advanced technology, intelligent software and consultancy services.

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introduction Willing to learn

To say the UK education market is big is an understatement; it was said to be worth $280 billion in 2022 and is estimated to reach about $510 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of roughly 15% between 2023 and 2032. The education sector is a massive market in the UK for resellers, and with technology changing how teaching is delivered at all levels, there will be plenty of opportunities for new and different sales in the coming years. There are currently more than 32,000 schools – including independent schools, academies, local authority maintained schools and special schools – colleges and universities across the UK. Further, there are some 20,000 primary schools, which cater for children aged four to 11. All these establishments need resources to deliver the best possible education to children and young people (and, in some cases, more mature learners) in this country. Not just traditional office-style resources but increasingly technology-based resources, from tablets to online conferencing.

This guide aims to help resellers assess the opportunities within the sector currently and how they can get involved in this potentially lucrative market.

For instance, the pandemic changed how the country works, but also learns, and online learning is now an established part of the teaching landscape. But with this technology developing quickly, alongside other innovations such as artificial technology, there are likely to be new and different options available for resellers to sell into education customers. Read more on p20.

Dan Parton Editor: News in the Channel


But with increased use of technology and networked devices, it also means that security is paramount – especially considering the sensitive data

that educational establishments hold. While education providers may appreciate the risks, many still require assistance to find the right solutions for their needs. Read more on p16.

Sustainability is also an increasing priority for buyers in the education market. With young people today more knowledgeable about the environment than ever before, it stands to reason that education providers will look to lead from the front by providing resources and equipment that is sustainable. Of course, price is a consideration – and resellers can help providers to ensure that their solutions are sustainable but also deliver value for money. See p35 for more. But many resellers don’t sell into the education market – and therefore could be missing out on the potential opportunities available. There are several ways that resellers can access the education market, which are outlined on p8. But if a reseller has got into the education market, then what is the best way to ensure that it is successful? We present a range of hints and tips for resellers – including from experts – on how to sell to the education market and make it a success. Find out more on p42.

I hope you enjoy this publication and find it a useful insight into this


fast-changing market.


state of education

The state we’re in

Educational establishments from primary to tertiary have faced a multitude of problems in recent years, with the pandemic placing stresses on teachers – and the resources they use – never seen before. As life returns to normal, staff are still combatting problems, but technology can help – if it is utilised correctly. Martin McDermott, development manager and education specialist at TP-Link, says that a common issue faced in schools is outdated infrastructure. “This causes connectivity issues for teachers trying to access learning tools when moving from one building to the next to deliver lessons,” he says. “It is also common for network controllers to become faulty, sometimes leaving half of the campus without wireless coverage. “As schools join forces under multi academy trusts, which allows teachers to roam between schools or deliver lessons virtually across trusts, a strong Wi-Fi connection is critical and presents a unique opportunity for teachers to connect with teachers from other schools to gain different The education sector faces more challenges than ever, as teaching staff look to help children affected by the pandemic, but in the face of ever- tightening budgets. Resellers can help educational establishments to meet these challenges.

Martin McDermott TP-Link

Paul Browne CCS&W

Paul Drew Apprentify

Simon Williams CGI


perspectives and insights as they continue to improve learning opportunities for students.”

This is across the board, as the remote side of teaching plays more of a role than ever before. Paul Browne, assistant principal (curriculum) Cheshire College, South & West, notes: “Teams is the go-to place for us now, we’ve set up trackers for student activity and work and we use technology to support students,” he says. “However, we know that not all students have the equipment for remote learning, so our teachers adapt to meet the needs of individual students through non-remote approaches.” As Paul Drew, managing director of apprenticeships provider Apprentify adds, tech will play a huge part in the whole sector moving forward. “Failure to utilise new tech or systems will leave providers behind,” he says. “With the advent of artificial intelligence and other tools it has allowed teachers to have at a touch of a button content that is relevant. Training providers and education institutions need to ensure that the human experience and interaction through in-person training or coaching enhances the vast resources out on the market.” Simon Williams, director of consulting services, CGI in the UK, adds that technology allows new teachers to respond to the demands of delivering vocational curriculum more effectively. “Especially as the right technologies can make the classroom more stimulating, enjoyable, and inclusive,” he says. “It is also providing opportunities for those historically excluded from the sector. For instance, augmented reality and extended reality can extend learning opportunities to a wider demographic.” This shows there are plenty of opportunities for resellers in the education market, as teachers look to utilise the potential that new technology brings. While cost is uppermost in many establishments’ minds, canny resellers can put together packages that bring rewards for both parties.


Getting educated how to get into the m a r k e t education

The education market has changed considerably in recent years. Many schools are now not controlled by local authorities, which often had a say in how schools spent their money, but instead are part of multi academy trusts (MATs) and are run much more like businesses. The education market can be lucrative for resellers, but how do they start selling into this sector?

While this means that for resellers in the education market there are more and different opportunities to sell, it also means there are hurdles that they must overcome that are not present when looking to start selling into other sectors.

Procurement All local authority and academy schools have a duty to follow best practice in procurement and get the best value for money from contracts they sign – which doesn’t necessarily mean taking the cheapest option. Schools often buy goods and services through an educational supplier framework but do also take quotes and bids from external suppliers and can run a Public Contracts Regulations-compliant buying process. An educational supplier framework is a list of suppliers that have been through a tough approval and procurement process. The framework means that schools can bypass some of the usual procurement processes, which saves time and helps to deliver value for money. These frameworks are reviewed by the Schools Commercial Team, which is part of the Department for Education, and oversee adding suppliers to the list or removing them.

While schools now have more autonomy about how and where



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Power Protection Solutions

Surge Protectors Provide AC outlets and protect equipment from power surges. Optional USB charging.

Desktop UPS Systems Provide conditioned power and battery backup.

Network UPS Systems Supply highly reliable power with battery backup and optional network management.

Power Distribution Units (PDUs) Provide AC outlets without or without current meters, remote monitoring and outlet control.

Wall-Mount Racks Secure equipment in a locking steel cabinet.

Charging Devices

Charging Stations & Carts Keep devices charged, organized and secure.

• Locking enclosures deter theft. • USB models provide wired syncing; all models support wireless syncing.

• Cable management reduces cord clutter. • Carts enable easy sharing between rooms. • Towers save space in crowded rooms.

Connectivity Solutions

Audio/Video Solutions Connect high-res AV sources to displays and projectors with cables, adapters and extenders. Options include HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C. Display Mounts & Mobile Stands Mount TVs or monitors to save space, optimize viewing angles and move from place to place.

Network Cables Connect devices to high-speed networks with copper Ethernet cables. USB Solutions Connect, adapt and charge USB-A and USB-C devices with cables, docks, hubs and adapters. Interactive Displays Enrich in-person and remote collaboration with intelligent 4K interactive touchscreens. Available with or without built-in PC, mobile stand and lithium-ion battery system.

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how to get into the m a r k e t education


they purchase products and services from, the majority still use framework lists to source at least some of their supplies.

Resellers don’t need to be listed on an educational supplier framework to sell into schools, but it can make the bidding process easier.

To get onto a framework, resellers must follow a tendering process. More information about that can be found on the website.

For resellers on frameworks, schools put in a specification for what they want, and resellers then put in a quote for it. The school will then decide whether to take up one of those quotes or ask those that have put in a quote to provide more information in a competitive process. Here, branding and clear and concise information will help a reseller to stand out from the crowd.

Quality and innovation “For businesses that supply education institutions, the most important factors they must consider are the quality, affordability and scalability of the products they sell as this will not only attract new commercial opportunities, but it will also help resellers retain customers,” says Mark Whitfield, director of school sales at Stone, A Converge Company.

“Not only must they ensure that they can provide innovative tech that can align with the standards of the curriculum, such as the adoption of coding practises into ICT lessons or the creation

Mark Whitfield director of school sales Stone, A Converge Company


of digital student portfolios, but they must also ensure that the tech supplied can be easily implemented at scale,” he adds.

“With budgets across schools and colleges being tightened in the wake of economic downturn, resellers must ensure that their products are affordable to present themselves as an attractive choice for potential buyers.”

Decision makers The person in charge of procurement varies between schools. In general, in primary schools the headteacher oversees procurement decisions. However, in secondary schools it is more complex, as responsibility for spending can be devolved. It may be down to a headteacher or business manager, but in MATs there may be a centralised role solely for procurement. But, in cases such as this, cost savings can be made if they are buying for all the schools in the trust. Buying cycles Another factor to consider is buying cycles. Buying cycles in schools – and within school departments – can vary markedly; they aren’t all sorted out in the summer ahead of a new school year. This is where getting to know customers comes into its

own – resellers can build up lists of contracts and when their end date is, so they can know when to pitch to schools. It is also worth remembering that many schools will let contracts roll over if they are happy with their products/service, so any pitch will need to be impressive to show an offer is better than their current provider’s offering.


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cybersecurity in education

Keeping it safe

With schools becoming increasingly connected and using devices in learning, it means they are vulnerable to cyberattacks and must ensure that they are completely secure, and resellers have a vital role in this.

Cybercrime is a threat to everyone today and educational establishments are as much targets as anyone else and need to invest in security as a result.

“Educational institutions are often targeted for two main reasons,” says Spencer Starkey, vice president EMEA at Sonicwall. “The first is they have access to a great number of people’s data from students to staff and the second is that they have a very large attack surface. “There are many tactics that cybercriminals use to gain unlawful access to institutions within the education sector. One major concern is the rise in data breaches, whereby cybercriminals gain unauthorised access to sensitive information, leading to personal data exposure, financial fraud, identity theft and reputational damage. Ransomware attacks also pose a significant risk, entering the system and encrypting an institution’s data locking the users out until a ransom is paid. Such attacks can heavily disrupt operations, impacting teaching and learning for a significant period, particularly where more people learn online.

“Additionally, phishing and social engineering techniques are commonly used to trick staff and students into revealing sensitive information, resulting in unauthorised access to systems, data breaches and financial losses.

Spencer Starkey vice president EMEA Sonicwall

“The impact of cybercrime on educational institutions can be severe, therefore it is essential to prioritise cybersecurity


measures, such as robust network security, employee training, data backups and incident response plans.”

Threats recognised Spencer adds that educational establishments are increasingly recognising the

need for robust security measures. “Over time, there has been a growing awareness of the potential risks due to recent high-profile cyberattacks targeting educational institutions that have garnered significant media attention.

“Additionally, data protection and privacy regulations, such as GDPR, have imposed legal obligations on educational institutions, forcing a greater focus on data security and breach prevention. Compliance with these regulations has prompted institutions to prioritise security measures and deepen their understanding of cybersecurity risks.”

There are a range of security solutions educational establishments should seek to get in place, Spencer adds. “Educational institutions should be looking at strengthening network security through the use of firewalls, intrusion detection systems and secure network configurations,” he says. “Regular patching and updates should be implemented to address known vulnerabilities in operating systems, software and applications. To prevent unauthorised access to systems and data, educational institutions should set up access controls and stronger methods of authentication, like multi-factor authentication (MFA) or biometrics. Security awareness training programs should be set up to better educate faculty, staff and students on best practices, such as recognising phishing attempts.”

Spencer adds that educational establishments should also consider developing an incident response plan to mitigate any security incidents. “Regular data



cybersecurity in education


backups should be performed to ensure data availability and recovery in the event of a ransomware attack or data breach,” he says. “Continuous monitoring and auditing, including the use of intrusion detection systems and log analysis, also help in identifying suspicious activities. Regular security audits and vulnerability assessments help maintain a proactive security posture.” Increasing demand Sam Manjarres, senior product marketing manager at WatchGuard Technologies, adds that there has been an increase in the need to protect and secure devices outside the traditional school network, given the rise in learning and working from home. “We have seen an enormous increase in demand for providing comprehensive, but simple network security, secure Wi-Fi and endpoint protection solutions,” she says. “IT managers at educational establishments need a comprehensive network security platform with advanced firewall appliances and automated web filtering and malware detection services encrypted via HTTPS.”

Sam adds that, given that most network access within their perimeter occurs via Wi-Fi, they also need to have fully secure connectivity to their access points. “They also need advanced endpoint protection and detection and response technologies based on a zero-trust approach, so they can classify all binaries before they are executed and block threats,” she says. Reseller considerations Sam adds that the security of student data and complying with privacy regulations is another major consideration. “Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE) statutory guidance requires educational institutions to implement solutions that directly protect against cyber threats and cyber bullying,” he says. “Features like content and URL filtering, as well as web blockers, are key features that ensure appropriate internet usage and enable secure remote access for staff and students.”

Sam Manjarres senior product marketing manager WatchGuard Technologies


She adds that implementing a secure, easily manageable MFA service to access all educational platforms and apps is also important. “Many SaaS platforms already require MFA, plus the use of mobile educational platforms is growing,” she says.

Sam says that is it important that resellers understand the specific needs and challenges educational establishments have. “It is crucial to highlight the benefits of the products in addressing cybersecurity concerns, enabling secure remote learning and providing reliable network performance,” she says. “Demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements, offering competitive pricing, providing training and support services and emphasising the ease of deployment and management can also enhance the value proposition for key buyers.” Spencer adds that resellers can act as trusted advisors to educational establishments, guiding them through the process of selecting, implementing and maintaining effective cybersecurity solutions. “The partnership between resellers and schools/

universities helps to create a secure digital environment that protects sensitive data, ensures operational continuity and fosters a safe learning environment for students and faculty,” he says. Future In the coming years, the education sector will continue to integrate new technology, which means that demand for security solutions will continue to increase, Sam adds. “This industry needs security solutions that empower educators to deliver an inclusive learning experience,” she

says. “Access control, asset protection, identity security and securing endpoints are only a few of the solutions required to enable a reliable learning environment.

“Bring Your Own Device is a common occurrence at most schools, making networks more vulnerable. At WatchGuard, we are paying special attention to delivering straightforward unified solutions and focusing on the KCSiE regulation.”


technology in education

Leading from the front

Increasingly education establishments are using greater amounts of technology, from hardware such as laptops to communication tools and more – and this is only going to grow in the coming years and presents a wealth of opportunities for resellers.

The pandemic showed how important tech and communication devices are to education establishments and while teaching at all levels is now mostly back to normal, demand for these products remains high.

As Mark Whitfield, director of school sales at Stone, A Converge Company, notes the education sector is looking to diversify the way learning is approached through the technologies available. “While there has always been a huge demand for end user devices within the sector, institutions are now looking to improve infrastructure, audio visual solutions, networking, software and security,” he says. “With more modern technology within infrastructure, education can also now begin to access remanufactured and refurbished items to help with budgets. Everything is about pace, speed and accuracy in today’s learning environment.

“The pandemic showed us that mixing up traditional education methods with more flexible tech-led approaches can result in increased student engagement so it’s not surprising that we’re seeing more schools adopt ‘blended learning’ models. “In addition, we’re seeing more schools implement micro-learning models to make the most of digital materials and faculty are wanting more access to learning analytics tools and programs to help them create tailor-made teaching strategies to enrich the education of their students.”

Rachel Rothwell regional director, UK&I Zyxel Networks


MSP Education establishments are also investing in tech- focused services, Rachel Rothwell, regional director, UK&I, Zyxel Networks, adds. “The big challenge for a lot of schools is how they can meet government guidelines for technology purchases and make best use of their budget,” she says.

“Increasingly, we see multi-academy trusts (MATs) going their own way and adopting new and more advanced options. They are embracing managed services in particular. We have several MSP partners that use our Nebula cloud managed platform to monitor networks across multiple sites for MATs. “For partners, introducing the idea of managed services into schools is a good way of starting a wider conversation about how schools can reorganise and manage their IT in the future. Most schools already make use of the cloud for everyday apps and specialist learning platforms, and it’s a relatively small step from that to having your network devices managed by an expert provider. “A conversation around managed services will almost always lead to a further discussion about hardware choices and enable the partner to put forward different options that will enable make deployment and remote management easier and save the school money as well.”

UCaaS As the pandemic showed, there is increasing appetite for

communication technology, and this is informing buying decisions. “The increasing demand for better connections among educators, students and parents has put UCaaS solutions at the forefront,” says Dion Smith, head of EMEA channel at Zoom. “Having a digital- first mindset is vital in a modern context. Educational institutions need

Dion Smith head of EMEA channel Zoom



technology in education


to provide the relevant technology to enable flexibility in how and where students and educators can attain information.

“For colleges or large universities, technology products need to simplify and streamline communication, instead of complicating it with multiple tools and workflows. A unified, scalable platform with functions including video, chat, events, virtual whiteboards and smart workspaces can enable students and educators to stay connected within one platform. “The dynamic needs of colleges and universities also require technology products to provide more accessible, personalised educational experiences where accessibility considerations are not just nice-to-haves, but requirements in the technology development process.” Hard-wearing Neil MacDonald, UK & Ireland channel director and acting MD at HP, adds that there continues to be demand for the latest hardware. “In primary education we look to provide Chrome and Windows-based devices, and harder wearing, rugged devices built to withstand more wear-and-tear, such as the HP Fortis, which has been designed specifically to meet this demand.

“Of course, those in tertiary education need more power from their devices, and we encourage resellers to accommodate these needs by assessing the type of subject being studied to recommend the most appropriate device and accompanying software. This can range from workstation devices that can handle more creative tasks, such as video editing, graphic design, and even data processing for STEM and engineering subjects; or an all-round laptop for students needing to run standard Microsoft packages.

Neil MacDonald UK&I channel director and acting MD, HP Inc.

“As schools evolve to a blended learning model, we are seeing more one-to-one device strategies with peripherals


being integrated into the classroom on a full-time basis and how they are crucial to software such as the Microsoft Reading tool, which is helping to improve the reading and writing skills for learners of all ages and abilities.” Reseller conversations With technology to the fore for education establishments, resellers have a vital role to ensure customers get the right solutions. “Our resellers are having ongoing conversations with education customers, not just about hardware, but also the

accompanying software solutions that will be best suited to the demands of the course being studied,” says Neil. “This information impacts things such as the requirement for basic or specialist software installations and, of course, the device capabilities. For example, those seeking devices for design or art courses need better graphics and colour gamut than those studying STEM subjects who prioritise processing power.” Neil adds that the wants to see resellers moving away from the traditional notion of selling, and instead focusing on student outcomes. “And how we, as a technology industry, can positively influence outcomes through devices and data with targeted and flexible curriculums and dedicated support.”

Kirk Bellerby, education lead at Tanium, adds that resellers should be talking to the education sector about working smarter and doing more with less. “They have an opportunity to demonstrate to organisations how technology can support IT teams to work better and closer together,” he says.

“It’s also important to communicate that breaking down silos not only increases efficiency, but security too. Currently, educational institutions are using multiple



continued technology in education different remits and data sources. Resellers are in a prime position to break this cycle and support organisations in boosting efficiency and security – which translates into time and money that can be better spent on education itself.” Future Kirk adds that the most significant growth areas in the next 12-18 months in the sector will be security, artificial intelligence and data. “Security needs to be a priority,” he says. “According to the UK government, 41% of primary schools, 63% of secondary, 82% of colleges and 85% of higher education institutions identified a cyber incident within the last 12 months. In comparison, only 32% of other businesses identified a cyber incident within the same timeframe.

“For organisations in this space, increasing visibility within the next 12- 18 months will be vital to addressing the multiple security issues that we are seeing. Having visibility and control over staff devices is critical to cyber hygiene. It provides the ability to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities before they become a problem. Without it, education organisations are trying to manage what they cannot even see.” Mark adds that technology will continue to innovate and develop at lightning speed and the education sector will likely continue to further adopt and integrate new technologies into the classroom and school’s IT infrastructure. “We’re seeing major developments in artificial intelligence and augmented reality, so I anticipate we’ll see these technologies be integrated to enhance both face to face and remote learning,” he says. “In addition, esports continues to surge in popularity and with numerous schools and universities adopting esports programs into their curriculum, I can see this interactive method for honing students’ teamworking and cognitive thinking skills be further integrated into education institutions up and down the country.”

Kirk Bellerby education lead Tanium


solutions in education

Ricoh scanning solutions – supporting administration and improving the learning experience As schools, colleges and universities attempt the tricky balancing act of cutting costs while improving service levels and adapting to new ways of operating, more and more are discovering the benefits of moving away from paper to digital processes. PFU (EMEA) – a Ricoh Company (previously owned by Fujitsu) are helping education establishments to embrace the use of technology in schools and in virtual learning environments. By enabling teachers to have the skills to develop an engaging and relevant curriculum this will, in turn, help to ensure that the next working generation is equipped with the digital skills to match the ever-changing workplace. Learning and innovation go hand in hand and education needs to stay ahead of the curve by adopting technology to embrace digital transformation and place the development of their pupils and staff at the core of their ambitions.

By embracing digital transformation institutions can better manage peaks and ensure smoother workflows and processes. Other key benefits include: l Centralised storage with enhanced security of all information, including client records, authorisations, contracts, identification and invoices l Enhanced compliance (GDPR) throughout all departments with all regulatory guidelines; address efficiently and timely your



solutions in education


Subject Access Request and comply to retention periods l A business process agility that can lead to productivity gains and cost savings l Faster access to client and staff information, leading to improved monitoring and execution, better engagement and empowered decision making l Ensure more success from information capture where enhanced and improved data analytics lead to more informed outcomes l A notable ROI, with most establishments reporting a full return on their investment within 18 months of implementation. The Ricoh ScanSnap range of scanners offers an ideal solution for education due to their exceptional features and usability. These scanners boast high-speed scanning capabilities, enabling educators to quickly digitise a large volume of documents, worksheets, and handouts. With their user-friendly interface and intuitive software, ScanSnap scanners streamline the scanning process, making

it accessible to teachers and students alike. Their compact design ensures easy integration into any educational setting, while their advanced image processing technology guarantees clear and legible scans. Furthermore, ScanSnap scanners offer seamless integration with popular educational platforms, facilitating efficient document management and sharing. In summary, the Ricoh ScanSnap range is perfectly tailored to meet the scanning needs of educational institutions.

Key models from the ScanSnap range include:

ScanSnap iX100 l Battery powered scanner for scanning in the classroom, office or at home l Wirelessly scan to a cloud account, smart device, notebook or email address l Scan small documents such as permission slips or notifications simultaneously l Choice of paper paths for flexible operation

ScanSnap iX100


ScanSnap iX1600 l Scan everyday documents such as forms & permission slips up to A4 & even A3 l Scan colour, double sided & mixed batches of documents l Simple in its operation, connection via USB to PC or Mac l Intuitive & automated scanning & seamless distribution l Bundled with OCR software for creation of searchable & editable files ScanSnap SV600 l Overhead contactless scanner for scanning of loose documents up to A3, bound material and pupil produced material such as craft items l Simple one button approach, compatible with PC & Mac l Continuous scanning possible with page turning detection and timed scanning l Capture and document evidence of pupil progress

ScanSnap iX1600

ScanSnap SV600

At Northamber, our award-winning team can help you provide the right document management solutions for your education customers. You can talk to our award-winning team on 020 8296 7010 visit for more information.

Total distribution™

All PFU’s market leading Image Scanners are being rebranded from Fujitsu to Ricoh. This change will only affect the brand printed on the units itself, packaging and associated items. The model names, part numbers, specifications, functions, quality and unrivalled support will remain exactly the same as it was before. At Northamber we anticipate having Fujitsu branded scanners for a while yet and expect our customers to see a gradual change to Ricoh branded stock over the course of the summer. For more on the transition from Fujitsu to Ricoh including a video and Q&A download visit .


workplace How an adaptive digital workplace will bring clarity to the education sector adaptive digital Teachers can lose time having to switch between apps or find documents on systems or working through an outdated intranet. But adopting an adaptive digital workplace can alleviate these problems. By Erik Nicolai, co-founder and CEO, Workspace 365 Teaching and imparting knowledge is unquestionably a difficult profession. It doesn’t need to be made any harder by technology that works against the teacher or lecturer at the front of the classroom rather than with them – but this is exactly what is happening.

Teachers are losing up to an hour of their working day as they switch between apps, frequently having to sign into anywhere up to 30 of them individually every day. Switching between apps is a huge frustration for teachers, as different parts of different classes and lectures are stored in different, disparate parts of their school,

college or university’s IT networks. There are too many places where they may need to look to find documents they have saved or files that are essential to the teaching and learning experience. Then there’s the issue of collaboration, which is vital in the classroom. While most educational institutions will almost certainly have an intranet as a way of sharing information, a significant proportion of teachers have given up on them and

Erik Nicolai co-founder and CEO Workspace 365


don’t use them. They say the information they need is hard to find on a traditional intranet, their designs are clunky and outdated and they don’t add value to their already-stressful working day.

Finally, like in most jobs, teachers are bound by their institutions when it comes to the technology that they have at their disposal to do their jobs. The seats of learning manage their devices, which means that productivity inevitably suffers if the hardware develops an issue.

It all adds up to what can be termed ‘technostress’ – and it’s something into which research on its effects on university lecturers has already been carried out.

Similarly, although many Generation Z students will be digital natives who have lived with technologies for their entire lives, their reliance on it in the classroom or lecture theatre may be overwhelming as it turns them, to all intents and purposes, into ‘telecommuters’ like their parents who may have had to work from home during the pandemic .

Solving issues All these issues can be solved by engaging an adaptive digital workplace in the classroom. They offer user-friendly environments that integrate everything a teacher needs to do their job in one place, on any device and from any location within a school, college or university faculty. A well-organised portal allows a teacher to find not just files and documents related to their lessons and lectures but also timetables, current and historic submissions and grades of work from students and records of absences. All this information will be available to them wherever in the world they are, on whichever device they want to access it from.



continued workplace adaptive digital

At their heart, adaptive digital workplaces must contain these elements that deliver value for the end user in the education sector: l A calendar, a scheduling app and a system that allows IT service tickets to be issued and tracked l MS Power apps, MS Power Automate, MS Office apps and a suitable document management system l An activity feed showing tasks and notifications l Intranet and communication tools l Statistics and data tracking l Customisable and personalised with shortcuts and iFrames. Making the workplace a reality Logging into an adaptive digital workplace is a refreshingly simple process. All the educational apps that each individual teacher needs to do their specific job will be waiting for them, so there is no need to sign into each one individually and there is no wastage. If a teacher doesn’t need to use an app or a program, it will not appear on their bespoke workplace. Everyone’s workplace is unique to them and only them. The single sign-on process eliminates one of the biggest pain points a teacher faces as technology conspires against them. That statistic of possibly having to log into up to 30 apps each day disappears once the workplace is implemented as the preferred solution.

A similar headache of keeping track of documents is also considerably eased by using the digital workplace. There are many storage options facing teachers, with Sharepoint, Teams, Google Drive, One Drive, shared drives and Dropbox all being used in institutions. There are simply too many places where a document might be kept, or where access might be restricted, meaning efficiency is severely compromised. Discussions surrounding the implementation of a digital workplace can include the possibility of migration to a single storage solution, meaning


everyone knows what is stored where.

Finally, the digital workplace brings the need for an intranet into the modern age. A teacher needs a place where they can share information with students but also find information that is relevant to them. The traditional intranet managed by either a communications professional or an information manager does not always fulfil this remit but integrating it into the digital workplace does. Collaboration becomes much easier in the adaptive digital workplace that will be a key part of the school of the future, making them ideal for the role of the intranet. This combination of the two elements means that the teacher can focus on their work while being able to share and easily find information on the same platform used by students. An adaptive digital workplace can’t control a disruptive pupil or calm a parent with an unreasonable belief that their child deserves preferential treatment ahead of another. However, it can make it much easier for teachers to deliver lessons and lectures with top-quality teaching materials that are close at hand and easily accessible. And anything that brings some clarity to a demanding profession is no bad thing.


workplace Elevate education with Lenovo ThinkSmart: A new era of learning adaptive digital In the digital age, education is no longer confined to the four walls of a classroom. With Lenovo ThinkSmart, a groundbreaking solution designed exclusively for education, learning transcends boundaries and limitations. Seamlessly integrating interactive collaboration and intuitive design, ThinkSmart is reshaping the landscape of education and propelling it into the future. The Power of ThinkSmart Redefining the classroom experience, placing innovation at the forefront of education, ThinkSmart combines state-of-the-art hardware with intelligent software to create an environment that encourages engagement, fosters collaboration, and empowers educators and students alike. Collaboration Beyond Boundaries: ThinkSmart breaks down geographical barriers, allowing educators and students to connect regardless of their physical locations. Video conferencing capabilities enable real-time communication, opening doors to virtual field trips, guest lectures from experts worldwide, and collaborative projects that extend beyond the classroom walls.

Empowering Educators: ThinkSmart empowers educators to tailor their teaching methods to various learning styles. The intuitive interface allows for seamless content sharing, annotation, and instant feedback, creating a more personalized and engaging learning experience. With access to a suite of educational tools, educators can effortlessly manage and organize their lessons, making teaching more efficient and impactful.

Inspiring Student Engagement: Gone are the days of passive learning. ThinkSmart puts students at the centre of their educational journey. Interactive lessons and collaborative


activities transform students into active participants, encouraging critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. This approach cultivates skills that are not only essential in the classroom but also in the rapidly evolving professional world.

Seamless Integration, Endless Possibilities: ThinkSmart seamlessly integrates with existing educational technology ecosystems. Whether it’s integrating with learning management systems or connecting with other devices, ThinkSmart ensures a smooth and cohesive experience. This adaptability means that educators can leverage their existing resources while harnessing the power of ThinkSmart’s advanced capabilities. Elevating Education Everywhere: Lenovo ThinkSmart isn’t just a technology solution; it’s a catalyst for educational transformation. From K-12 institutions to higher education, revolutionizing the way educators teach and students learn. It prepares students for the challenges of the future by equipping them with the digital literacy and collaboration skills needed in an interconnected world. A Future-Ready Investment: As the education landscape evolves, embracing technology is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. ThinkSmart empowers educational institutions to provide a future-ready education that aligns with the demands of the modern world. By integrating innovation and learning, this ensures that students are prepared to thrive in an ever-changing global economy.

Experience the Future Today: Join the educational revolution powered by Lenovo ThinkSmart. Elevate your institution’s learning environment, inspire collaboration, and equip students with the skills they need to succeed. Embrace the future of education with ThinkSmart and pave the way for a generation of learners who are confident, creative, and ready to shape the world.


ThinkSmart solutions can help your classroom to be more collaborative and productive. We offer flexibility across platforms and room sizes. And with ThinkShield, our integrated suite of security solutions, you can trust your data will remain safe and your privacy intact.

Our kits provide you with the equipment you need to get classrooms up and running smoothly – regardless of room size.

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