The Live@edu service, which is our cloud-hosted email and collaboration service*, has been chosen as the standard schools email system by a growing number of local authorities and Regional Broadband Consortia. Two years ago London Grid for Learning chose it, and the DCSF highlighted the potential for £11M of savings through using it. And the list of local authorities keeps growing. Of course, it's not all about somebody deciding what's best for schools - there are also plenty of schools which sign up for Live@edu directly, and just start using it.
There are now 10,000 education establishments - schools, colleges and universities - using Live@edu, with 11 million active students around the world.
The other thing that has been happening is that ICT suppliers have been building Live@edu into their existing hosted services. Not only does it help them to reduce their costs, but it also means that they can provide an enhanced service to schools.
RM have just announced our partnership, to bring Live@edu to the 4.5 million users of the RM Learning Platform. As Billy McNeil puts it:
"This is an exciting development for our customers. As well as developing our own cloud services for schools and authorities, the learning platform is built using standards that enable us to integrate a variety of innovative technologies and services that benefit our customers. Live@edu was the obvious choice - it complements our existing services, and in a period where there is immense pressure on school budgets, free email and storage are extremely welcome."
Once complete, integration will bring a number of benefits. The RM Learning Platform identity management system will enable schools to choose to automatically create Live@edu accounts, reducing administration overheads, while staff and students will benefit from single sign-on between the two systems - no need to remember another username and password.
We've obviously worked closely with RM for many years, and this new step is another good example of the benefits that schools get from the way we work in partnership. In effect, it enhances the services schools get, without adding to their bill.
* Live@edu offers each user Outlook Live email including a 10GB inbox, a calendar, Forefront antispam and antivirus filtering, and optional services including a personal 25GB online Skydrive, instant messaging, video chat, mobile e-mail, Office Web Applications and document sharing.