Amazon Launches New Tool to Help Schools Manage Their Kindle Collections

At least a couple of my readers are running one to one programs using the Amazon Kindle and I have a treat for them today.

Amazon has just announced a new tool which will let schools and institutions manage their Kindles from a single webpage. It’s called Kindle Whispercast, and once all the features sink in it is going to seriously undercut whatever lead B&N has in the institutional market.

As most IT departments will tell you, there are a lot of hassles to maintaining a fleet of gadgets. Whether we’re talking about ereaders, tablets, smartphones, or computers, there are certain issues which cause headaches. They range from setting up network credentials, loading apps and content, pushing out updates, and more. (Try doing this across hundreds of devices and then you’ll see the headaches.)

B&N tried to solve some of those problems by making tech support really easy for schools to access. They can get immediate help which is only an email or phone call away. Amazon has come up with a better idea.

Amazon has just solved a lot of the headaches. Using Kindle Whispercast, a single sysadmin can now setup, maintain, and manage all the Kindles in use at the organization from a single webpage.

Whispercast will enable them to do everything from the initial setup, push out the Wifi network name and password, and send out content to either single Kindle, a group, or the collection as a whole.  Whispercast will even secure the Kindles by blocking reregistration, allowing the admins to require a password. Admins can even block Facebook and Twitter integration, web browsing, or access to the Kindle Store.

What’s more, Whispercast can also work with Kindles registered to other accounts. If a student brings in their own Kindle, the Whispercast  admin can support it with many of the same features like sending content to it as part of a mass distribution. Whispercast also supports the Kindle apps as well as the Kindle Fire tablets. Amazon has even announced plans to let admins buy apps and push them out to specific devices.

All in all, this is a major update to the Kindle platform and it is going to turn the institutional market on its head. They have once again shown that they are the single best company when it comes to developing an ereader platform.

6 thoughts on “Amazon Launches New Tool to Help Schools Manage Their Kindle Collections

  1. This is great idea. From my experience though, amazon doesn’t support PO/PO2′s for purchasing, which most schools use, unlike Barnes and Noble. Also BN offers onsite support through their digital sales leads in the store.

  2. So now we get to see *why* the US State Department wants to buy Kindles for world-wide deployment to and through US Embassies. Kindle Paperwhite was the first shoe, Whispercast is the followup.
    This should also put a big dent on Ricoh and the other turnkey electronic document system vendors, though realistically the corporate market needs a larger, color reader. Something similar to but different from the consumer-focused Kindle HD9.
    Hmm…

    1. Agreed. I do have to wonder what Amazon showed the folks at the State Dept in order to get the contract offer.

      The long term management aspect of the contract didn’t get much press attention, but I did wonder about the highly detailed requirements. There’s a good chance that whoever wrote that spec was shown Whispercast months ago. Same goes for the KPW.

      1. And the video playback capabilities might be a hint of the next-gen eink…
        Or maybe the contract allowed for Kindle Fire “readers”.
        Either way, the DOS contract now looks like a shoo-in, sole-source or competitive, simply because nobody else is competitive and Whispercast will clearly save the government millions more than the Kindles themselves might cost.

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