It was interesting to hear my pal, Bennett Liles, chat this morning with Extron Marketing VP Lee Dodson about some of that company’s many new products geared toward the education market, especially since Bennett works in that field. (See here, here, and here for Bennett’s comments on a couple of those Extron products.)
While we were talking, I asked Lee how Extron was viewing the education market and its vibrancy in the current economy. Having two elementary-age children moving through California’s suffering school system, I had a natural prediliction to presuming that not a lot was happening on that front. But Lee, and others I talked to in the last couple days, suggested that wasn’t exactly the case. He agreed with what others said, which I mentioned on the blog said yesterday. Namely, that schools and universities large and small are making, or are about to make, modest infrastructure expenditures and are seeking technology with long lives and upgrade paths from major manufacturers. Thus, a lot of technology on display in Extron’s typically gigantic booth, such as its new Annotator annotation graphics processor and its VoiceLift infrared mic system, is drawing intrest from the educational crowd.
Lee pointed out that product development aimed at that market, or any market, can’t be tied to current economic conditions directly since it begins long before those conditions take hold. But, he said, some of thse tools Extron and others are making available will naturally find their way into the next generation of infrastructure upgrades in schools of all types around the country sooner or later.
“Money is tight and they are spending wisely,” he told me. “But we are seeing them strategically use what money they do have for particular things that are important to their mission. RF mic systems, for instance, are sometimes being prioritized ahead of things like projectors by those making spending decisions because they are paying attention to studies saying that audio is the most important tool in reaching students and helping to improve their performance. Some of these things are red-hot right now in the educational market.”