Bett 2020: your essential software guide

Nicola Yeeles takes a look at some of the latest software headlining at Bett

The first industry show of the year, BETT 2020 will showcase a range of software that could be game-changers for universities this year. Ahead of the exhibition, we give you a sneak preview of some of the hottest software to help you stay abreast of what’s on offer. From specific teaching and learning solutions to software to improve how university processes run, these tools could help your institution work in a more innovative way over the coming months.

TOPdesk

TOPdesk can help a range of people in the university, from the service desk to the classroom. The Enterprise Service Management solution is suitable for use in any department, including IT, human resources and facilities.

TOPdesk gives the organisation the power to process all requests to different departments efficiently through one easy self-service portal. As a result, anyone asking questions can solve simple requests themselves, saving staff time for larger issues. What’s more, the process of answering requests is simplified, so staff and students get their information much quicker. In a 24/7 world, the portal does the hard work of providing an impeccable level of service to students, even overnight.

How does TOPdesk help universities?

TOPdesk develops, implements and supports software that helps universities efficiently manage all the services they provide. TOPdesk’s solution is widely used by educational institutions of all sizes, helping service desks improve customer communication, manage workflows and keep track of assets. The software is simple and attractive; this not only makes it easy and pleasant to use but also quick to adopt and allows for seamless integration with other packages.

When it comes to metadata, it’s also possible to run reports to see how effectively the portal is being used by students and staff, and so better understand and improve the pinch points in customer service wherever they are happening.

Type of payment

It’s arranged on a fixed-term contract, paid annually.

TOPdesk can help a range of people in the university, from the service desk to the classroom

Read&Write (from Texthelp)

Lecturers and students can both benefit from the Read&Write literacy toolbar. For example, when revising or writing assignments, students can use smart highlighters to organise research or use the audio maker feature to convert large documents into digestible audio files.

For university staff, Read&Write can help to structure teaching notes, create engaging study plans, or listen to articles and papers while on the move.

How can Read&Write help universities?

Assistive Technology in the education space can sometimes get singled out as something that only students with specific learning differences require. However, what we have learned from the Universal Design for Learning educational framework is that any student can benefit from these tools.

Technology allows for multiple means of representation, expression and engagement, so students are supported in their unique learning styles. Incorporating the UDL framework into course design and ensuring tools like Read&Write are available for students to use helps universities to minimise barriers and maximise learning for all students.

Specifically, Read&Write offers a range of features essential for accessibility. Text-to-speech enables students to hear documents or web pages read aloud, while synonymous word highlighting enables students to track the words on screen.

Another handy tool is the scanning feature which converts inaccessible paper handouts or PDF documents into an accessible format, enabling students to then use other study skills features within the toolbar.

Type of payment

Read&Write can be purchased as an ongoing subscription. Discounted pricing is available for Read&Write when purchased alongside other Texthelp software.

TouchLink room scheduling using Room Agent (from Extron)

This room scheduling tool benefits people across the university who need to schedule room bookings, as well as admin support teams who traditionally used to manage those for them.

How can the room scheduling system help universities?

Instead of getting support staff to do the admin for room bookings, university staff and students can now reserve rooms with a couple of taps on a panel or from their mobile device. The TouchLink Room Scheduling Panels seamlessly connect directly to popular calendar services including Microsoft® Exchange, Office 365™ and Google Calendar. Room Agent software makes setup a breeze, enabling you to customise the touch-panel interface with the meeting options you need.

What’s more, this software enables facilities teams to understand better how space is being used.

You can download a file with room usage and meeting data concurrently from multiple touch panels, and then transform this readily available information with data analytics tools to create powerful reports.

The panels can also be set up to monitor room occupancy and, after a user-defined time, release the room back to available status. So that means that the university’s spaces remain open to all, if a meeting is cancelled or moved.

Type of payment

The software comes free with Extron’s hardware. 

SMART TeamWorks™

SMART TeamWorks™ can help students, lecturers and other university staff – basically, anyone who needs to collaborate on projects, boost productivity on those projects, and inspire ideas by working together and sharing ideas.

How can it help universities?

SMART TeamWorks™ software is designed to leverage the power of SMART Board® interactive displays for fast, flexible and limitless collaboration. With one-touch meeting launch, a connected whiteboard, wireless screen sharing and customised PDF summaries, SMART TeamWorks™ is an end-to-end visual collaboration solution.

It can help lecturers, students and university staff collaborate on projects remotely or face-to-face, enabling multiple contributors to collaborate and share ideas in real time, using the software.

The connected whiteboard features let groups add and interact with all sorts of dynamic content, from Microsoft Office® files to videos. They can move, rotate, zoom and navigate content, flip through pages, add new ones, draw, add text and add background colours. You can also use unlimited sticky notes, speech-to-text conversion and voice commands and even record the session to recap later.

You can use it to collaborate face-to-face or remotely. Remote participants can join via meeting PIN or QR code through a free contributor app. There is also easy screen sharing for up to eight simultaneous devices and integration with Microsoft Exchange, Skype, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, Zoom and many more.

It’s not just for student projects; lecturers can use the software to deliver engaging presentations, annotate files, and allow live remote contributors to share information and comment.

Type of payment

It is available in one- and three-year subscriptions.

SMART TeamWorks™ can help students, lecturers and other university staff inspire ideas by working together and sharing ideas

Impero Education Pro

Impero Education Pro supports all those who are focused on digital learning, student safety and wellbeing. For example, lecturers can deliver engaging and interactive lessons and share resources across large classrooms using the broadcasting functionality in Impero Education Pro. Library staff also benefit as all devices on all floors are monitored and kept safe. The tools also enable universities to save money, as devices which are rarely used can be identified and managed.

How can it help universities?

University IT teams are often very tight on resources and time and may struggle to manage devices across large campuses. Impero Education Pro enables IT teams to oversee thousands of devices from a central solution, creating streamlined networks, improving efficiency and enhancing time management. Tools built into the software enable IT teams to remotely track, monitor and manage resources across all campuses.

Supporting Chrome, Windows, Mac and iOS devices, Impero Education Pro consolidates classroom management, network management and online safety. It is also possible to combine it with other software.

For example, Impero EdAware enables wellbeing teams and student services within universities to identify vulnerable learners on campus via a holistic, single, central record, so early interventions and referrals can take place. Combined with Impero Education Pro, this enhances online safety by providing the university with a full history of student concerns that can be addressed before they escalate.

Type of payment

Impero offers flexible payment options to universities. Payments can either be upfront or ongoing depending on the end user’s requirements.


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