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InformationWeek : Apple Doesn't Rule the School

A recent InformationWeek article by Richard Hoffman titled Arch Frenemy, very cleverly outlines some of Apple’s weaknesses in serving up enterprise friendly products.

While covering a range of known issues with Apple’s approach to integrating its products with enterprise, a subsection covers how schools are handling mobile deployments.

Recommended best practices include:

*Formalize BYOD.

*Standardize the gear.

*Use caution when considering tablets as PC replacements.

Notable in this subsection is the mention of content filters that block most Flash content, even when delivered through third party vendors that specialize in virtualizing Flash content. In this sense, LiveCirrus is exceptional in that our cloud platform can be configured to accommodate existing content filtering protocols on the server side, effectively circumventing this vexing IT challenge for educational environments.

Tablet Use in Schools is Growing Explosively!

We were excited to come across this recent Boston.com article Wellesley Considers Requiring iPads for All 5th Graders, as it reinforces what we’ve been hearing from some of our industry leading clients in the e-learning space since we launched in 2010. Schools are quickly discovering what an incredible tool the iPad can be for engaging students, while the questions about how to implement the right apps and take full advantage of the new technology are still under debate amongst educators and e-learning software vendors alike.

A common theme we see from our discussions with leading e-learning companies that have been building and selling software into educational environments for years, is that in many cases, millions of dollars have been pumped into developing very complex, dynamic Flash content that doesn’t work in either iOS or Android operating systems. These companies are now eager to keep up with the growing tablet trends in schools, but are at a loss as to how they can continue to monetize all their valuable legacy content, given that even HTML5 doesn’t quite cut it with respect to rendering rich content, and native development initiatives can take years to complete.

Furthermore, we hear that iOS tablets are dominant in the marketplace at the moment, but there is a commonly recognized business case to be made for cheaper Chromebooks and other Android based tablets to gain widespread adoption in education environments. So iOS vs. Android development decisions must be made to address interoperability problems that could otherwise be muddied dramatically by this potential shift in the hardware ecosystem 2-5 years from now.

This is where LiveCirrus cloud virtualization comes in. We enable companies to focus on new development initiatives while cost effectively delivering Flash, Java, and other incompatible legacy components to iOS AND Android based mobile devices NOW, not months or years from now!

HTML5 = No Silver Bullet

In speaking with many of our current and prospective clients over the past year, we’ve encountered widespread dissatisfaction with HTML5 as a mobile development platform.

The story goes something like this:

CEO: “I want all our customers/employees on iPads ASAP”

CIO: “That’s easy, we’ll just convert everything to HTML5!”

(6 mos. later)

CEO: “So how is that HTML5 conversion project going?”

CIO: “Well, ah, the product and development teams investigated HTML5 and native redevelopment, and it turns out we’re going to have to find an XYZ vendor for our legacy content, which may cost quite a bit of money. Native apps are really cool so we’ll hire an in-house dev team for that part, that should get us to about 50% desktop parity, or maybe more like 25%. Oh, and we discovered that HTML5 doesn’t really work all that well for rich interactivity, so we’re still working on that, then we have to figure out how to integrate everything…”

And so on.

The truth is, getting your valuable software and legacy content onto mobile devices in a way that doesn’t eat up years of time and budget is HARD! Even Mark Zuckerberg made a costly and disappointing failed attempt at an HTML5 based mobility strategy.

Here at LiveCirrus, we’re observing that companies are climbing a steep mobile development learning curve in an extremely competitive environment where best practices are still being refined. So we offer a compelling alternative that saves time, money, and effort, either as a bridge strategy or full replacement for costly mobile development initiatives.

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