The way we teach children is evolving rapidly. As online education becomes a standard part of the curriculum, teachers are adopting digital tools that allow students to learn through seeing, hearing, and touching in an immersive virtual environment.
For systems integrators (SIs), this trend represents a vast new opportunity. The global digital learning market is projected to expand to $56.5 billion by 2024, with the highest growth in interactive displays.
Opportunities for SIs are particularly strong in early-childhood education. While many high schools and elementary schools have already incorporated interactive games, preschools and kindergartens have shied away from high-tech solutions until recently. “The preschool market has much more potential for SIs,” says Harry Lu, Founder and Managing Director of interactive education solution provider Sindrax Technology.
Interactive technology is a good fit for this age group. Teachers often struggle to make learning engaging for active young children, and the problem has intensified as kids expect the fast pace and fancy graphics of games they play at home. But until recently, early-education solutions could be used only by teachers, not kids. The technology had limited functionality and could be difficult for teachers to control.
SIs may find preschools disappointed with past solutions are awed by today’s capabilities. For example, the Sindrax Intelligent Gamified Kids Education system uses computer vision, real-time analytics, augmented reality, and other advanced technologies to immerse children in an ever-changing virtual world. Kids can design their own characters and interact with changing themes on virtual coloring boards. (Video 1).
Interactive technology has also become easier to use, and some providers offer personalized help. “Teachers can just turn on our systems and start using them. Our engineers can remotely assist them to make adjustments,” Lu says.
Sizing Up The Global Market
SIs with experience in middle schools or high schools should approach their business connections about the potential for kindergarten and preschool solutions. But even those with no previous education experience will find this market wide open.
That’s especially true in China, where the government prioritizes rapid deployment of high-tech education. “China has 300,000 government-funded kindergartens, which are increasingly turning to digital solutions,” Lu says. Sindrax installed its technology in 200 of these schools last year, and another hundred the year before that.
Although preschool and kindergarten are not mandatory in China, programs are widely attended, with more than 34 million children attending programs in 2018. And by 2035, the government is expected to establish a national network offering three years of preschool to all children starting at the age of 3.
China’s large population makes the country particularly attractive, but it is by no means the only place to explore. Preschool attendance is growing in many countries around the world, with high enrollment in Australia, Europe, and Japan, where, for example, more than 85 percent of students enroll in preschool for at least two years.
Most of these markets are still in the early stages of exploring digital technology, so SIs have many options for getting started. Above all, they should look at districts where funding for technology is abundant and consistent.
Across the globe, the preschool market is rich with opportunities for systems integrators to sell interactive technology.
Selecting The Right Partners
To learn more about interactive technology, SIs should consider attending education technology conferences and exhibitions, where they can meet solution providers and see product demonstrations. Partnering with an experienced company can help SIs develop strong pitches.
“At Sindrax, we have collected years of feedback from teachers and schools. We understand their pain points and use their experience to improve our products,” Lu says. The company also provides training materials and case studies to help SIs present a compelling case.
SIs should also ask solution providers about their suppliers. Product reliability is a key selling point, and suppliers with a good track record inspire confidence. “We partner with Intel® because we know their products perform well and are very reliable,” Lu says.
Support is another key consideration. Just as it does for teachers, Sindrax provides SIs one-on-one support from engineers. It also offers more in-depth training as needed. For example, when the company launched its Augmented Climbing Wall—which uses the Intel® OpenVINO™ Toolkit for computer vision to detect kids’ body motion—SIs had questions about the product. Together, Sindrax and Intel conducted seminars, showing them how to explain the solution effectively.
“Service is one of our most important competitive advantages,” Lu says. “We have seen SIs switch from other technology companies to us because we respond quickly to their needs.”
Once SIs have a confident understanding of products, demonstrating them at schools—especially before an audience of students—is a particularly effective tactic. “Decision-makers who see kids having fun are more likely to buy,” Lu says.
Across the globe, the preschool market is rich with opportunities for systems integrators to sell interactive technology. For those with the right products, the right partners, and the right approach, the potential is nearly limitless for years to come.