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Licensing Questions Thread, SMART Notebook licensing in Technical; I've been to BETT today on a mission to find alternatives to Smartboards as we have 30 that are getting ...
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    Mr.Ben's Avatar
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    SMART Notebook licensing

    I've been to BETT today on a mission to find alternatives to Smartboards as we have 30 that are getting to the stage that they need replacing. I started a discussion on the SMART stand about licencing Notebook and was frankly a little shocked......

    Notebook will be moving to a subscription model in the very near future, rather than being free (but will include some extra tools).

    The cost being discussed at the moment is around 120 PER BOARD (although multiple boards will acquire discounts - no further details given).

    The software still won't be fully functional when you are using an alternative interactive device.

    If I'm honest, that probably the end of Smartboards being replaced in my school - even with discounts, has anyone else got any more info from them?

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    IWDave (29th January 2014)

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    FishCustard's Avatar
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    If I were to replace any interactive whiteboards I'd probably get one of the C-touch interactive LCD screens - no bulbs to replace, no pens to worry about.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    All I know is what is here: Notebook Advantage maintenance plan - SMART Technologies

    Not sure how to react to this. Yes its annoying but then I don't think my school will be particularly bothered about getting new versions. The current version they run seems to do the job properly. But on the other hand, if we keep buying new boards then there will be different versions around the school which could be a headache.

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    Wow. Only reason I was looking at the Smart boards instead of the C-Touch was that "all the staff use Notebook so I'll have to stick with that".

    This news changes things dramatically.

    Weren't Promethean pushing free collaborative software at BETT too? Would make Smart Amp AND notebook licensing seem a very expensive option.

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    FishCustard's Avatar
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    Pretty sure you can use your existing version of Notebook on the C-touch anyway if staff really want to cling to it (if they have resources set up that only work with it for instance) - it's just like a massive touchscreen, shouldn't require anything special.

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    free780's Avatar
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    All the more reason to avoid the bloat that is smart. Also the lack of a decent activation process means the smartboard is probably facing a long drawn out death like xp.

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    I was looking at smart alternatives at BETT too. I really like the Sahara clevertouch tv's and their Own software is now packed with interactive features. Even the C touch screens are nice Although the people on the C touch stall didn't seem too clued up about their technology, the lady on the stall didn't even know what size tv she was demonstrating. We discovered last year that when using smart notebook 11 with a clevertouch tv it placed a water mark across the screen and at the time the free software just didn't seem great.

    The teachers really do love to use smart notebook and getting them to change software just won't go down well trust me. I even had a demo at the Epson stand as their new projectors can also come with an infa red sensor and make them interactive on the wall or even on a table top. They do a petty good job at a reasonable price of around 1500. The key for me was new bulbs only set you back 50-60.

    Did any of you see the 4K tv in action? Drooool

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCustard View Post
    Pretty sure you can use your existing version of Notebook on the C-touch anyway
    Technically, yes, but legally (well, within the terms of Smart's terms and conditions that you agree to when you install their software), no - they explicitally state that you can't use their software on other manufacturers interactive hardware. That's really what this new pricing model is about - now that practically every new laptop has a touch screen, you would technically be breaking the terms of their T&C's by installing Smart Notebook on it, plus there's a whole bunch of manufacturers making large-screen interactive displays and offering their own software. It looks like Smart are separating their hardware and software somewhat so they can sell the software separatly to their hardware. To be fair, they used to charge something daft like 800 per device (perpetual license, mind) to use their software on other devices, so this is something of an improvement.

    It should be interesting to see what other software offerings appear, and hopefully the price will get driven down quite quickly. It's not technically difficult to write web-based interactive whiteboard software, so it's the kind of thing a small startup could wander in and steal a bunch of market share with. With the above pricing, we'd be paying 3,000 a year for Smart's software - a subscription to a web-based service for 1,000 per year instead would be a lot more attractive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    It should be interesting to see what other software offerings appear, and hopefully the price will get driven down quite quickly. It's not technically difficult to write web-based interactive whiteboard software, so it's the kind of thing a small startup could wander in and steal a bunch of market share with. With the above pricing, we'd be paying 3,000 a year for Smart's software - a subscription to a web-based service for 1,000 per year instead would be a lot more attractive.
    Good point (ahhhhh, don't give me ideas, I've got enough that I'm supposed to be working on as it is! Now I want to write my own implementation! )

    Then again, of course, Open Sankore already exists - never used it myself, but as it's free...
    Last edited by FishCustard; 26th January 2014 at 09:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCustard View Post
    Good point (ahhhhh, don't give me ideas, I've got enough that I'm supposed to be working on as it is! Now I want to write my own implementation!
    There must already be several companies / projects offering alternatives to Smart's software, they just don't neccesarily exhibit at BETT. As you point out, Open Sankore looks great (their website has got a lot better than last year), although personally I think I'd go for something web-based and that offered direct VLE / Google Apps / MS Office 365 integration. Might be time for a trawl around the Internet at some point looking for software to replace Smart's on all our hardware.

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    I upgraded some of ours to v11 and they are begging me to go back to 9.7!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    There must already be several companies / projects offering alternatives to Smart's software, they just don't neccesarily exhibit at BETT. As you point out, Open Sankore looks great (their website has got a lot better than last year), although personally I think I'd go for something web-based and that offered direct VLE / Google Apps / MS Office 365 integration. Might be time for a trawl around the Internet at some point looking for software to replace Smart's on all our hardware.
    Just had a look, and I haven't found anything that integrates with... well anything to be honest. Do you mean importing existing content from Google/365 and then being able to export the 'scribbled on' versions back?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCustard View Post
    Just had a look, and I haven't found anything that integrates with... well anything to be honest. Do you mean importing existing content from Google/365 and then being able to export the 'scribbled on' versions back?
    For those schools using Google Apps/Office 365 as their "VLE", I guess they'd need the ability to share annotated IWB files with people (pupils), possibly letting them make their own annotations. I wrote the startings of a Moodle plugin that did this several years ago - a teacher could annotate a slide, and updates would update in real-time to pupil versions. That was Flash-based, and the basic functionality is easy enough to re-do in JavaScript, it's turning it in to a proper product that would take the time. Smart Notebook comes with a library of content that lets teachers get started really quickly, imports images and Flash objects and integrates with MS Office. Any product that stood a chance of competing would have to do that, plus the ability to import existing Smart Notebook content.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Technically, yes, but legally (well, within the terms of Smart's terms and conditions that you agree to when you install their software), no - they explicitally state that you can't use their software on other manufacturers interactive hardware. That's really what this new pricing model is about - now that practically every new laptop has a touch screen, you would technically be breaking the terms of their T&C's by installing Smart Notebook on it, plus there's a whole bunch of manufacturers making large-screen interactive displays and offering their own software. It looks like Smart are separating their hardware and software somewhat so they can sell the software separatly to their hardware. To be fair, they used to charge something daft like 800 per device (perpetual license, mind) to use their software on other devices, so this is something of an improvement..
    Just to clarify - that 800 is NOT perpetual. It is a yearly license!

    Quote Originally Posted by free780 View Post
    All the more reason to avoid the bloat that is smart. Also the lack of a decent activation process means the smartboard is probably facing a long drawn out death like xp.
    What do you mean lack of a decent activation process?
    Last edited by localzuk; 27th January 2014 at 08:42 AM.

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