In a move to expand its cloud computing solutions and extend learning opportunities to students, Lenovo on Sept. 18 announced that it is acquiring educational technology provider Stoneware Inc.
Stoneware sells a number of cloud-oriented products to schools. Its webNetwork service, which uses a browser-based interface to give users access to all their applications and files in the cloud with a single sign-on, has been rebranded as Secure Cloud Access. LanSchool, which Stoneware itself acquired last year, is the company’s classroom management solution.
Those products reportedly serve a combined 5 million users, mostly in education.
Stoneware CEO Ben Cahoon said the chance to expand the company’s cloud computing capabilities even further is “one of the key reasons for the acquisition.”
Lenovo says its “four screen strategy” plays an integral role in the acquisition as well. The “four screen strategy” revolves around laptops/PCs, smart phones, tablets, and “smart TVs.”
“We really see cloud computing as the glue that brings all these devices together,” Cahoon said.
Lenovo’s Secure Cloud Access allows schools to create their own private or private-public clouds to deploy applications and other services in a “unified cloud.” Students, teachers, administrators, and parents can use one password to access files, applications, and reports.
“The role of technology should be to fundamentally improve learning outcomes,” said Sam Morris, executive of worldwide education for Lenovo. Technology can be a burden if not properly installed or maintained, he said, and its aim should be to improve teaching and learning and boost operational efficiencies.
Morris said the Stoneware acquisition will meet schools’ needs by addressing the proliferation of devices in today’s classrooms.