Catching up with AppsAnywhere Co-Founder and EdTech Pioneer Tony Austwick, to find out more about app delivery and deployment in the world's higher education market.
Tony on Twitter: @TonyAustwick
Can you explain some of the biggest pain points that exist in the education field and how AppsAnywhere are addressing them?
What are some of the technology trends you see in the education field and how are you injecting those into the solutions you offer?
I think the biggest change in the last few years has been the attitude towards BYOD. Most universities or organisations will tell you they support BYOD, but I am not sure this is really the case. What most people mean when they say this, is they allow the personal devices to connect to the network over Wi-Fi.
At AppsAnywhere, we think BYOD is around value-add and services that can be supplied on top of just a simple network connection. It is with this in mind that we developed solutions to allow the staff and students of a university access to the apps they need on their own machines, when they need them.
AppsAnywhere allows any Windows app to be deployed to any device, anywhere. Could you shed some light on the features of AppsAnywhere?
AppsAnywhere, using Numecent's Cloudpaging technology, allows an organisation to deliver apps to users on-demand. Although the application is run on the end device and behaves with all the local interactions you would expect, it is not physically installed. We are doing for applications what VDI has done for desktops.
Are there any other technologies you're offering to help improve the student experience?
When having conversations with CIOs in the UK, we found that their main drivers were around improving the student IT experience, increasing the university's standings, and gaining efficiency from better management information. We took this on board and discovered some other unique, innovative and cool solutions out there.
Firstly we partnered with Appixoft, a vendor in the Netherlands that really helps with metrics around the time to teach and making the user experience consistent regardless of their device. Also, very recently, we partnered with Nexthink, who are already helping us provide the information to universities on how to adopt a pro-active problem management methodology and save millions in their hardware refresh cycles.
What are some of the investments AppsAnywhere has made for innovations? Can you give us an inside view of what goes on in your innovation lab?
AppsAnywhere are a value-added distributor, and all of our development centres on the solutions we distribute and about making us unique in the market. AppsAnywhere is the centre of this development. What probably makes us different to others out there is that our labs sit in our university customers. Most of our lab work is done with our partners. We take a specific issue a CIO may have and then we build this with them in mind on their site.
Could you mention one or two case studies on how AppsAnywhere has enabled clients to overcome challenges and attain desired outcomes with its innovative array of solutions?
The University of Surrey is one of our proudest achievements in all the time we have been running AppsAnywhere. We first engaged with them on a strategic initiative they had underway called the 10-100-10 program. They had the aim of becoming a top 10 UK university and a top 100 worldwide university, within a 10 year time frame.
As part of the program, we worked on a project with them around improving the student IT experience. As a forward-thinking university, and with AppsAnywhere being a successful project within the program, they have now achieved their desired top 10 standing. The work still continues though and last year the University's software delivery project was shortlisted as a finalist for Public Sector project of the year at the Tech World awards.
Even the most competent of organizations tend to face market competition. What are the strategies employed by AppsAnywhere to thwart this competition? What according to you are the company’s key differentiating factors?
There are two things that help us stay ahead of the competition. Firstly it is a keen view and understanding of our market. We only work in academia, we live and breathe it. I think most CIO's find it refreshing that we understand their challenges and do not confuse them with the same commercial challenges other businesses feel.
Secondly, we aim to be the best at what we do and add significant value around the products we distribute. Either through personnel or through technology that is exclusive and owned by us, like AppsAnywhere and S2Hub.