Future-Proofing Your Educational Media Investment through SaaS

Over the years, I’ve seen many different deployment options across the education sector. In the beginning years of my career, I loaded software CDs on individual computers before a professional development training. Later, I watched IT departments struggle to deploy on-prem LMS software district-wide. But now, an increasing number of districts are being extremely successful rolling out Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Because the level-of-effort is minimal and there’s a lower cost of ownership, their system is up and running in a few days or weeks as opposed to months.
SaaS for educational videoCIPHR, an HR software company, noted in their blog last year that “SaaS is no longer a new, untested unproven platform. It’s now the preferred choice by software providers . . . client maintained systems are on the decrease.” At Kaltura, this is not a surprise. In the EDU vertical, the majority of our clients, from school districts to colleges and universities to DOEs to virtual schools, are deploying their media solution through SaaS.
Many potential new clients still have concerns, worrying about bandwidth and storage issues from hosting video on the cloud. Today’s video SaaS has solutions for these issues, however. The key is having multiple transcoding “flavors” (optimized output files). Our system automatically detects the viewer’s connection speed and device capabilities and delivers the optimal video flavor. Kaltura’s platform conserves bandwidth at the school or district as it makes videos available to more students, teachers, and staff. In the case of changing network conditions, Kaltura will adapt mid-stream to deliver uninterrupted playback. Additionally, we offer eCDN (internal caching servers behind the school or district firewall), and hybrid models of deployment where media content can be on the institution’s server and software in the cloud.

Why Use SaaS for Educational Video?

For those that are still on the fence about SaaS, I’ve compiled four compelling reasons to consider future-proofing your media investment with SaaS .

  1. Reduce total cost of ownership: Protect yourself from having to redo your infrastructure every year. Hardware and software is becoming obsolete sooner. Deploying a SaaS model means you don’t have to worry about hardware becoming old and needing to update it. New features and functionality like Kaltura’s Interactive Video Quizzing (IVQ) can be added to your environment immediately after general availability by your system administrator. In essence, you don’t have to wait to install a new version of the software.

According to a WIRED article entitled, Six Reasons to Move to the Cloud, Consider SaaS, “. . . support costs are typically 18 to 20 percent of the license as well as additional hardware, personnel for maintenance and support, network monitoring, management tools and more.”

  1. Reduce resource costs:The article also cites Gartner’s estimation that the annual cost of owning and managing software applications can be as much as four times the cost of the initial purchase. With an SaaS deployment you can minimize your internal resource costs, free-up your IT staff, and have predictable software costs year-over-year.
  1. Reach the masses:Many one-to-one and BYOD programs enable the students to watch video anywhere, anytime, and any device. Today’s students are using their own devices from their pocket or at home instead of taxing the district or universities servers. By deploying SaaS platforms, students, teachers, and staff are able to access media content from school, home, and even on the bus. There are no school or district firewalls preventing access, but players are still highly secure. In Kaltura’s case, IT departments have peace-of-mind knowing that Kaltura is supported with 70 redundant data centers and tier 1 Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) delivery around the world.
  1. Enhance Support: Get quicker resolution to problems. In an on-prem world, the client maintains patches, upgrades, and installs often times without the knowledge of the provider. In a SaaS environment, the provider is better able to isolate an issue sooner, and often times before the client knows there is an issue.

In summary, SaaS lifts the burden of maintaining complex hardware, redirects limited IT resources to other priorities, and provides a sustainable predictable lower cost of ownership than on-prem deployments. Isn’t it time to consider moving your systems to the cloud?

Want to know more about education in the cloud? Read the whitepaper Leveraging the Cloud for Education Video Applications.

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