Smart Sympodium ID350

Just a relatively short post reviewing the use of the Sympodium ID350 for teaching and learning. We have been using these interactive screens for the past two years and they are relatively solid with Hardware that is fairly timeless. However the ID350 is no longer supported officially by Smart and Smart say the product does not support Windows 7.

With the above mentioned don’t think you have to throw out your Sympodiums as they do work with Windows 7 (and with Windows *8 – tested on the release preview version). The only advice I would add is that you may need to buy need pens as these seem to have a life span of about two years with or without use. When we upgraded to Windows 7 we have a lot of Symoodiums acting erratically when the pens came within 5cms of the screen. We tried many different options with the software and drivers and we were even going to try and make our own drivers until we shelled out the ~£100 for a replacement pen.

Going forward I believe the Sympodium offers a better solution to interactive whiteboards as it doesn’t required it to locked-down to a single location and cost is favourable compared to the larger options. In the planned expansion of our campus we would install more of these devices not only in teaching and learning areas but also in meeting and collaboration spaces.

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Yammer

On the 26th of Feb 2013 I attended the annual Yammer road show in London and got a really insight into how businesses and enterprises are using this idea of an ‘Enterprise Social Network’ to work as a tool to aid communication and support the need to retain business knowledge. Yammer gives you all the usual social network tools as you would find with a service like Facebook but with the added angle of it being under your business control.

Yammer has been recently acquired by Microsoft and as you can imagine it is being integrated with the Office suite. I do believe that there is a lot of cross over with SharePoint (especially the 2013 version) and with other tools that mot businesses currently have in place. However with this in mind there is a place for a tool like this in business and there a lot developments which provide Yammer with immense functionality when its combined with Office365. One aspect that was demonstrated was using the Office365 web apps to create office documents in Yammer and automatically translate them depending on specific user settings, the integration with SharePoint 2013 also means that documents can be organised and stored within SharePoint.

At present Yammer offers a range of mobile apps and a cloud based license that gives a scalable service. You can create communities that cover your entire organisation and you are also able to invite external customers and colleagues to join specific communities (a function which I am a great fan of).

Yammer can offer a lot and it is a quickly maturing platform, I can’t recommend that every organisation should go out and purchase a license but I wold definitely say try the free trial and see how it can benefit your business. It may be of use and a valuable alternative to some of the more mundane knowledge management solutions.