Why printers are holding back BYOD schemes in schools

New research indicates a rising bring your own device trend in schools, but one managed service provider is warning that BYOD initiatives cannot be achieved without updated printer estates.

Annodata welcomes the recent news that BYOD schemes for pupils are gaining ground in schools, saying that such schemes open up new opportunities for increased productivity and enhanced learning.

However, the MSP has warned that BYOD initiatives need to be matched with appropriate document management and print estates if the benefits are to be fully realised.

A recent RM Education survey highlighted the growing BYOD trend in schools, finding 29 per cent of UK secondary schools have actually opted for some form of BYOD, and the number considering adopting this policy rose from 22 per cent in 2014 to 26 per cent this year.

Responding to the research, Joe Doyle, marketing director of Annodata, welcomed the news. However, to benefit from any productivity gains print estates need brought up to date, given the central role the printed page maintains in today’s education sector.

“BYOD and mobile devices have the potential to significantly increase engagement and make it easier for students to transfer work, collaborate and, ultimately learn. But in our experience many of these mobility drives are being hamstrung by a lack of mobile printing,” said Doyle.

“It’s all very well equipping students and staff with new devices, but unless documents can be accessed efficiently, when and where they need them, any productivity gains to be had from mobility and BYOD schemes will be lessened.

“Print is still an essential part of the IT estate so it’s important that it keeps pace with the growing transformation that’s taking place in schools, like the trend towards BYOD.”

Doyle added that students want to print from their tablets or mobile phones onto university or college printers/MFDs, but there’s been reluctance from IT directors to want to allow those devices on their network.

“An increased number of personal devices can result in security and data protection risks as they can cause increased complexity when it comes to determining which devices are accessing which systems and data,” he said. “However, that’s where a number of clever software solutions come in, allowing staff and students to print easily and securely from their mobile devices.

“A number of schools are at the start of their digital journey and the potential for the education sector to adopt new digital processes and technology is clearly there. But, as many of these institutions don’t have large IT teams, they need the help of suppliers for the appropriate guidance. Ensure a provider is chosen that has invested in their processes, infrastructure and support network.

He concluded: “By working with the correct cloud print provider, a simple yet essential process can be migrated to a future proof and scalable platform and provided back to the client as a true managed services from start to finish.

“Furthermore, the right provider can offer the ability to build sophisticated student billing infrastructures so that costs relating to mobile printing by students can be re charged to the student (if appropriate) to prevent spiralling costs.”

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