Im getting it installed here on Friday for a trial. I'll update this thread if I think of anything to add.
I started writing this as a comment to the article linked below, but it got very painful really quickly, especially with no preview, so here it is in it's own thread:
OK So initial feedback from showing the BETT video (EduGeek.net - BETT 2010 - Capita and Stone Computers Demo) of the SIMS app to staff and management has been very positive and i've been doing some digging, asking some questions of my account manager (who checked some things with Groupcall) and i thought i'd share the responses for anyone that is interested. Answers have been reworded slightly.
I'd like a demo on my phone to test. I was hoping for this at BETT, but it was not offered. Is it possible to try it out?
-> Demo link to follow Contact your account manager for info.
If i install to my personal handset then decide to leave, can it be remote disabled?
-> Each device has a unique installation and can be remotely locked/disabled.
Follow up: I'd like for it to auto disable if not synched for x-days. It appears from the settings the different DBs have expiration times but i think that just controls when it next synchs.
At secondary pricing I'd need 28 units minimum before it's worth getting a site licence, but i only want to try it out with 1/2/5 initially, how will that work if i later add many more? [Secondary: £299 1st device, £99 after that. £2995 site. Primary: £195 1st device, £99 after that. £1995 site.]
-> Once a number of individual school licences reach the equivalent of the site licence, the school’s licence will automatically be upgraded to a site licence. [therefore cost is capped.]
Follow up: What affect if any is there for a dual Primary/Secondary site, where most of my students are Primary (2/3).
Usually new modules require installation / training, at additional cost. What is the hit?
-> Training is optional since Emerge is so intuitive. Remote training can be provided if desired.
On-line training materials are available and will be sent to existing customers on receipt of payment.
Groupcall is in the process of creating a range of training videos
I'd like the nurses to have access too. When will medical / behaviour be available?
-> A number of profiles are currently available, however we can add / create bespoke profiles as requested.
The additional of medical information is available now.
Groupcall intends to add the facility to write back behaviour information in the next release (due April 11)
Assessment information is currently under review, and we’re hopeful that it’ll be added before the new academic year (Sept 11), however this is yet to be specified or confirmed.
Can one device be used with multiple logins, i.e. I can have a shared iPad for Heads of Year to use?
-> Yes it is possible to set this up using the Emerge management console which will be installed for the school to manage.
Any idea on timeframe for other devices i.e. Android, Nokia, etc.
-> Not defined yet - but hopefully an Android app will be available in the next few months, followed by WM& and then Java.
Further queries and thoughts posed:
iPod Touch 4 is currently around £150 here for an 8GB. I think 3rd gen is cheaper still. Will it work on that?
Is the pricing annual? Or is there an on going cost?
The demo, appeared to have a limit of around 50 students on a search, but i may be wrong. When searching it finds the character / combo in any part of the name, so 'al' returns 'sally' and 'wallis'. That could be a limitation for me!
Can it access UDGs so when used for a school trip all info is in one list?
Any recommendations on management software to lock down usage of the devices?
On this i'm thinking one of the synch charge cases / racks seen at BETT2011 would do the job. They could all be restored from backup to prevent rubbish being downloaded. Any useful apps though could be added for all. I'll be looking at other threads regarding this, as i'm sure it'll be an issue when kids get given iPads; dont want them playing Angry Birds! (Unless it's in Physics!)
Last edited by vikpaw; 10th February 2011 at 11:57 AM. Reason: wrong link, new one to follow.
Im getting it installed here on Friday for a trial. I'll update this thread if I think of anything to add.
The cost for this is Annual. According to Groupcall to its cover the costs Capita charge for writing back to Sims.
What's all this trial business? I asked if it was possible to trial and was directed to that link with demo data. I'd love to actually show SLT a working demo with our data.
Garyholder mentioned a trial in another thread too. How long do you get and how many devices?
Please can someone test the disable function and explain how it works. I'd rather it relicensed itself every morning, than have to be disabled.
There have a been a few comments about the Groupcall Emerge ‘app’ recently, particularly relating to the charges we impose for the 1st device licence. (posted by ‘Glenda’ yesterday).
I wanted to set the record straight by stating that the higher initial licence of £ 299 for secondary & £ 199 for primary schools is in place to cover the initial Emerge Management Module installation, configuration and training charges. Also the primary school site licence @ £ 1995 is incorrect, the annual primary subscriptions is £1000.
Lastly, regarding Vikpaw's "further queries" which are included below, I have added my comments as follows:-
Q: iPod Touch 4 is currently around £150 here for an 8GB. I think 3rd gen is cheaper still. Will it work on that?
A: YES, as long as the device is running iOS4 or above, however, in performance terms, it runs better on the 4th Gen iPod Touch (this is the recommended option).
Q: Is the pricing annual? Or is there an on going cost?
A: YES, but the product is rapidly evolving and all upgrades are included.
Q: The demo, appeared to have a limit of around 50 students on a search, but i may be wrong. When searching it finds the character / combo in any part of the name, so 'al' returns 'sally' and 'wallis'. That could be a limitation for me!
A: When browsing you see the first 50 hits, however when searching it searches all students in the school. On the second point, the ability to do this type of searching is more flexible, but thats just my opinion.
Q: Can it access UDGs so when used for a school trip all info is in one list?
A: Yes, this is possible.
Q: Any recommendations on management software to lock down usage of the devices?
A: The system comes with a management console that controls security and access to the MIS data on the device, no other software is required. We are looking at the ability to control profiles on the device to lock it down, so it could only be used for this purpose (if required by the individual school).
Hope thats useful. Happy to answer any other queries.
EDIT: Also if it is for the "Emerge Management Module installation, configuration and training charges" the product why is it that you pay the £295 each year? as it would only be installed once.
Has the pricing for primary changed then? I was also told £1995 for a primary site license when I asked about it.
With regards to browsing students. How do you do that? On my demo, when i click on Students, then By Name, i see the As by default, down to last name Am*. I can't browse the Bs unless i click in the search box and type a B at which point i get any name with a b in it, and i'm assuming only the first 50. What do you do if you want to see the Ds or there are over 50 Smiths. In my case i could have a few hundred Al* because we never know if it's Al **, Al-* or Al* .....
Apologies for the incorrect pricing, i took that from what others have said, namely Localzuk, which is why i kept it in black and in brackets in my original post.
I'd be interested in your views on my ideas regarding how to lock it down. I still feel i'd rather it is approved for use on a daily/weekly/preset basis, and disables automatically if not synched. Rather than having a blanket freedom to use indefinitely which needs remote disablement. Hopefully it wouldn't happen but if it fell into unscrupulous hands, or should a user decide to go renegade, switching off the wifi would block the disablement surely...?
We had our trial installed this afternoon and have had a couple of hours to have a play with it and shown the Deputy Head and Head teacher who were both really impressed.
Early indications shows that it will be perfect for our needs - PE Registration.
The management software was installed onto our SIMS server remotely (Logmein) by a Groupcall engineer who talked me through the whole process of adding new devices etc. The 4 week trial is for unlimited devices. I created a Groupcall user on our SIMS system and had to add this in the installation process. We have our wireless vlan'ed off but my iPhone4 could still cross our VLAN's to see the SIMS server through our smoothwall box.
I was a little concerned after seeing how quick the demo was at BETT and the test data that with a school of 1,450 students it would be a lot slower but I don't feel it has any speed issues at all. The photo feature of all students is also very useful for those 'forgetful' members of staff.
In an ideal world I would love for each member of staff to have an 'i' device if for no other reason than for this app - anyway back to reality!
If anybody else has any questions, feel free to post them here and I'll try and answer them but you may be better contacting Groupcall directly.
How did you deliver the app to the device? Is all config done at server side?
Is the trial through Capita or Groupcall? i.e. Who should potential customers call, sims or groupcall?
All the config is done server side.
You need to setup devices with the UIUID (Unique ID)
The users are also required to be setup - you need to enter the staff name and initials who you want to create accounts for - these are not pulled from sims and uses the staff codes to link to the timetables etc.
I organised my trial via groupcall - I believe it's a lot easier to get a trial if you have your own devices although I think they do have hardware to loan but this takes longer to organise.
vikpaw (12th February 2011)
We had the 50 hit list because its takes slightly longer for the whole student list to load and we didnt think that users would browse a list of 1000+ students (without searching), we wanted to keep the usage fluid. But noting your points, what we have done is the following:-
1. The list now has a 100 records in it.
2. When you search (e.g. for "Be"), it now orders the list to display anyones surnames that start "Be" first (like Becker, Boris; Beckford, Karl etc..) and then will list students names that contains "be" (like Abbey, David).
I think this is better, appreciate your comments, we have already put this in the server side update, which will be available to all existing (and new) customers for Emerge which should be auto-updated later this week.
Hopefully, this highlights something else, which is that Emerge is a framework, the App on the device doesnt know about schools, students or parents etc, it is completely controlled by the server that gives the device the data and the way it should be displayed and used. It makes it extremely flexible and extendable. The current version of Emerge is just the begining, its the functionality and data that we have thought of together with input from schools. Where it goes is based on the feedback and ideas for functionality we get, which are always welcome.
Finally, we will have a look at the idea of a configurable auto-disable, such that it would disable even in offline mode after N hours/days. Currently, when online a user can be immediately disabled, but I take your point about offline.
Thanks and Regards
vikpaw (13th February 2011)
Thanks again Lawrence.
It's great to hear you're open to suggestions, and take them onboard so quickly.
The searching was based on my experience of iphone and having the alphabet down the side of contacts, which is how i expected yours to work. If you can do that, it would be great. The increased list and ordering is very useful
My trial install happens this week, will keep you posted, I have ipads, itouches and iphones ready to go.
Are you trying it on WP7 too?
I may be interested in the result then, even though SLG works well on WP7!
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