Feeds

Net uptake in schools fuels market growth

Education offers lifeline to many in UK channel

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Analysis Last week the government stated that the number of primary schools online had grown almost four-fold in the last year. This increase was due to the government pumping cash into the education sector through the National Grid for Learning (NGFL), said Schools Minister Jacqui Smith. The education market is huge for the IT industry -- estimated at between £0.5 and £0.75 billion per year -- and growing rapidly. The government is investing £2 billion in infrastructure and teacher training by 2002. Sixty two per cent of primary schools are now online, compared to last year's dismal 17 per cent. Ninety three per cent of secondary schools are connected to the Internet, up on last year's 83 per cent. Terry Ernest-Jones, IDC research manager, said: "The market is growing rapidly due to government investment, in particular with getting schools online." According to IDC, there has been a 15 per cent growth in PC shipments to the education market in the UK this year. This represents 415,000 units which are expected to be shipped by the end of this year, compared to 360,000 in 1998. And in July the government chose a dozen resellers from which it recommended schools their buy IT kit and training. Though this was good news for the chosen few, it will no doubt have an effect on those not selected. Ray Fleming, secondary schools business manager at RM (Research Machines), the largest supplier of IT kit to the education sector, expects getting on the list to lift sales at his company. RM depends on the education market for 99 per cent of sales. Fleming says the government needed to establish the accreditation to bring some order to the situation. "The IT education market is very diverse in the UK. There are 25,000 primary and 5000 secondary schools, with around 450 PC suppliers. "The government is trying to bring some standardisation into the market via a list of suppliers which have passed their tests," he said. RM controls around 20 per cent of IT shipments to the education market in this country, according to Fleming. This is followed by Apple with 11 per cent and Viglen with eight per cent. Elonex was another company selected for the government accreditation. Stephen Mitchell, Elonex education sector manager, was also optimistic the move would raise the amount of education business done by his company. Fifteen per cent of Elonex's £85 million business is currently from this sector. "The project's only just started, so it hasn't made a difference so far. But it will -- it's like a stamp of approval for a company's product," he said. One of the companies not selected by the government was Tiny Computers. According to Jim Buchanan, Tiny PR manager, the company was disappointed that it was not on the list. "We don't believe not being selected will damage business," said Buchanan. "We have many established contracts." But he said Tiny believed it was important to be included in the list and would try again in the next round. Viglen, with about 40 per cent of its £40 million turnover from education sales, also failed to make the grade. Ernest-Jones said the government list would have an effect on reseller sales -- but it would depend on each educational establishment. "A lot of smaller schools have strong relationships with local dealers, but larger institutions and universities will probably buy from recommended suppliers," he said. Other resellers pointed out that this market was very different to selling PCs to businesses or individuals. More added services were needed -– there are few staff with technical skills in the education sector -- and higher levels of security had to be in place. In addition, there are a large number of users for a small number of PCs - with the dangers of mountains of floppy disks spreading viruses, deliberate deletion of files and security on the Web. A final issue for resellers selling to this market is that, although the sector is growing -- and state schools getting IT puts pressure on the private sector to keep pace -- so is the level of competition to sell into that sector. IDC noted that education was increasingly buying direct. "The most successful resellers will be those who specialise," commented RM's Fleming. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.