IoT: Powering the Digital Economy – The B2B Education Sector | Schneider Electric


[MUSIC PLAYING] IoT. Powering the digital economy. Brought to you by Schneider Electric. [THEME MUSIC] In this rapidly evolving global
economy, knowledge is perhaps the most valuable currency of all. Education is the passport to our future. It equips us with the
power to better our lives and transform the world around us. No surprise then that according
to the World Bank Group, we spend on average
over 4.7% of global GDP on schools, universities,
teaching, and training. And education is evolving
like never before. A rising tide of digital
innovation in the sector is revolutionizing the way we learn
and the way we think about learning. Education is now more personalized,
accessible, and profitable than ever. The market for learning platforms alone
is a multi-billion dollar industry, attracting serious attention from
startups and existing companies alike. In 2017, global investments in
learning technology companies reached over $9.5 billion. In this program, we’re looking at
how the big players in education are keeping pace with the digital
revolution and, in the process, helping change the way we learn. And what about the new companies
born into this brave new world? What technical innovations are they
offering to help education thrive? I’ll also be talking
to an expert in EdTech to find out how education is
evolving in the digital landscape and asking how we’ll teach
the teachers of the future. Educational technology,
or EdTech as it’s known, is breaking new ground in
approaches to education. From cloud-based tuition
to augmented reality, EdTech is empowering students
and teachers across the globe with new online tools and platforms,
helping us all meet the shifting demands of the digital age. Around the world, the race
is on to digitize learning. And EdTech is a huge growing market. According to organization EdTechXGlobal,
only about 2% of education is currently digitized. And yet, the market is three times
the size of the media industry. Pearson PLC is a British-owned
education and publishing service originally founded in the 1840s. In response to the
growing EdTech market, Pearson has moved away
from traditional publishing and invested heavily
in the digital realm to become a dominant force in
online learning in over 70 countries worldwide. And after a turbulent year
for the business in 2017, Pearson predicts their profits
in 2018 to exceed $750 million. Albert Hitchcock is Pearson Education’s
chief technology and information officer and a member
of the executive team. Prior to joining the company, he was
chief information officer for Vodafone and held leadership roles
at BA Industries and Nortel Networks, among others. Pearson is a well-known
traditional education brand. Yet, we’ve seen you
forge ahead with EdTech. So what is it about this
space that excites you? I think the digital medium
gives us the opportunity to really take the education and
learning experience to the next level. The technology ultimately will
allow us to truly personalize the education experience in a way
that both improves learning outcomes, shortens the learning time, and
the ability to deliver learning and at anytime, anyplace
around the world. There’s been a lot of excitement
around your global learning platforms. I would like to know more
about it and how it works. Yeah. I mean, the vision behind
the global learning platform is to basically create
a model that a lot of the other digital native
companies have already employed. We’re all familiar everyday with
the use of Amazon for retail, as an example, Netflix for TV
and movies, Spotify for music. Those companies have
transformed their sector. The opportunity for us is to
create that global platform that will deliver all of our courseware
and experiences around the world and to take that learning
experience to the next level. So at the core the platform,
we’re plugging in machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s a complete, multi-device,
agnostic platform, so we can deliver content to any
device anywhere in the world. And it’s also going to allow us
to personalize the experience to the student but also give the
institution and the teaching faculty access to how the student is
responding to that experience. What about cross-sector partnerships? Does EdTech make it easier? Well, I think one of
the things that EdTech does do is it enables us to really
focus on things like employability, as an example. I mean, we know from employers
that 40% of students come out of university without the requisite
skills needed for each of the sectors. And so I think one of
the big opportunities is to work with companies to
really help shape education. Here in London, we have
something called Pearson College where we’re actually teaching
degree-level courses working alongside employers. So as an example, Unilever
could work with us to design a degree-level course that
would serve their needs as an employer. And so I think there’s a
very tight collaboration here between particular higher education
and the professions and the companies to help inform the next
generation of learning. As online learning continues to
grow, so does the need for schools to manage their teaching over the cloud. Firefly Learning is one
company that’s been lighting up the sector by offering schools and
intuitive groundbreaking platform that brings students, teachers,
and parents closer together. In 2016, Firefly secured the largest
Series A funding for an EdTech company in the UK with an
investment of $6.25 million. Simon Hay is a founding
partner at Firefly. While still at school, he and
his classmate, Joe Mathewson, developed an online system to help their
teachers and fellow students access school information in
and out of the classroom. And in just a few years, the company
has gone from strength to strength with teams in the UK,
Singapore, and Australia. So for a teacher, we’re really
trying to save them time that they can spend on
teaching rather than on apping. They can set work so students
can hand that in online. So I could look at the essay and
annotate that and give feedback. And I can also do that in new ways. So, for example, I might
give voice feedback. Excellent essay overall, David. Really well done. Just a couple of points. And what about the students? What do they see? We have a separate app
for students, which is an electronic equivalent
of their paper homework diary. So this helps them organize their
day at school in the same way they organize the rest of
their lives on their phones. What we’ve been trying
to do is to make it easy for teachers who aren’t
IT experts and don’t really want to be to create and curate
and share resources and set and collect and mark work,
track their students’ progress and engage parents
more in the kind of day to day learning conversations
that are going on. Where is this being used at the moment? So we’re still quite small,
but we’re growing fast. So we’re used by a
few million people now around the world, so a lot of the
UK but also 35 other countries, all the way from here to Australia
and a lot of places in between. What makes the platform
special, though, because there are a lot of platforms like this,
learning platforms of this sort? Yeah. I think it’s a really confusing
marketplace for schools actually because I think there’s
a lot of overlapping products, and it’s really unclear to
people whether these two things compete or integrate. People can talk about feature
lists till the cows come home, but I think that probably what
sets us apart more is philosophy. So we’ve tried really,
really hard to be focused. We think the way that
we make schools happy is by doing a small
set of things, and we hope being the best
in the world at those and then playing nicely with
others at the edges of that. So we focused kind of
fanatically on the ease of use and the quality of the
user experience because I think unless you get
that right and you build something that is
usable by every teacher and every member of
the school community, not just the enthusiasts
or the experts, then you’re never going to
get the uptake that you need to actually have any impact. And ultimately, that’s
why we’re here, right? We want to make a difference to
students’ experiences at school and ultimately to their
learning outcomes. Yet, it’s still a rather
competitive field, EdTech, so how do you survive given all
the competition that’s coming up or competition that exists? So I think you need to keep moving. EdTech is at the intersection
of education and technology, and both of those are actually
really fast moving fields. And it means that we
have to stay on our toes. I think the functionality
that even a few years ago was very difficult to produce and
valuable gets quickly commoditization. And there are now all
sorts of things that can be done for free that
a little while ago, people would have paid good money for. And that means that companies
like ours need to be continually moving up the value
chain and making sure that we’re doing more
and more of the things that schools get excited by as they
see the kind of unfolding potential that these technical
advances bring them. The cornerstone of
the EdTech value chain is, of course, the
system infrastructure. As cloud-based learning expands,
then we need reliable systems to make sure the flow of
information to electronic devices is fast and reliable. For the 2 billion people
in the world living without a reliable
source of electricity, projects like this one in Lagos,
Nigeria can make a huge difference. Lagos State Power Company
are working in conjunction with Schneider Electric and
Microsoft’s cloud computing Azure to create and manage solar power
for over 200 local schools. The system connects across the internet
where it can be remotely monitored and maintained to ensure thousands of
students can go about their studies uninterrupted. They’re also able to charge devices and
personal night lights for at-home study so learning can continue
into the evening. By 2020, the partnership will
help an estimated 190,000 pupils gain access to educational tools. EdTech is opening new frontiers
in the business of teaching, and it’s also fundamentally changing
our ideas on how we deliver education. So what does this mean for
students and their educators? And do we need a new set
of rules to help govern this digital flow of information? After the break, I’ll be speaking to
an expert in the sector on concerns around the classroom of the future. Education is in the grip
of a digital revolution. New technologies and
methods of teaching online are forcing us to
reappraise the way we learn. But these exciting
developments in EdTech bring with them a range of concerns for
parents, educators, and their students. I’ve come to University College London’s
Knowledge Lab where a team of academics are exploring new ideas and approaches
to education and technology. Hello, Rose. Welcome to the lab. Nice to meet you. Thank you so much. Professor Rose Luckin has
been developing and writing about the learning sciences, EdTech,
and artificial intelligence for over 20 years. She’s also an international
advisor on the digital futures and the design and use of EdTech. Let’s talk about business to business
collaborations in the sector. What standards are in
place, and what standards need to be in place to
make these work better? That’s very interesting. My concern about the lack
of standards and the lack of ways of working for
people like myself working in the university and businesses
outside were the jumping off point for forming the EDUCATE Project, which
brings those communities together because there wasn’t really a set way
for people to collaborate together. And actually, unlike
the health sector where there’s a long tradition of different
collaborations, the EdTech ecosystem, so to speak, is still forming. On one side, you have EdTech, which
is a very corporate world where there is the small entrepreneurs
or the larger companies. And then on the other side,
you have the educators. And in some cases, those are
state education projects. How do we kind of make
those to work together? It’s different in countries because
there are some intermediaries that try and broker relationships
between educators and companies. And that’s different across the globe. But in general, the
relationship is challenging because the company is obviously
trying to make a profit, and the educator is wanting
to teach or to learn. And it’s about trying to find ways of
bringing those two agendas together in a way that line up. Now, a lot of EdTech platforms
are global platforms. And that brings in itself a new
challenge when it comes to regulation. How do we maintain standards? Different parts of the world
will have different regulations. And certainly, these new EU
regulations stipulate what happens within EU member countries. But I think there are not
just the regulations that may be enforced in that
particular part of the world, but there are also the
ethical implications on these companies, particularly those
who are working with young people or possibly vulnerable adults too to be
very upfront about exactly what happens to their data, how it’s
stored, how it’s processed, how it’s kept private and secure. And I think one of the most
important things in this area is actually educating
people to understand what’s likely to be happening to
their data and what questions to ask. I mean, clearly we’re very conscious of
things like data privacy and security. And we have a very mature program in
the company around GDPR and everything we need to do there. And we’re very conscious that
particularly for student data, we need to make sure that student data
is captured in the country of origin and we comply with all the
regulatory requirements that governments have in this space. And so, in particular, in our new
architecture around global learning platform, and everything we’re doing
there, is built from the outset to both ensure that the data stays
within the country of origin, but also that we protect access to it. And things like all the cybersecurity
controls and technologies are applied to ensure that
this thing is really highly secure and stable for our
business going forward. And we’ve always had to take, in
particular, things like data security and people’s personal
information extremely seriously. We’re dealing with sensitive
information about children. So we have to concentrate
very hard on making sure that we’re good guardians of the
information we’re being trusted with. The main thing that we
have to do is to make sure that we have infrastructure
in all the different regions that we operate in. And that’s both from a
regulatory point of view to make sure that people’s data
is being held in the jurisdiction that it needs to be, but also just
from a performance point of view. It gives people a much better experience
if they’re not having to access servers on the other side of the world. So it kind of makes sense
from both standpoints. So far, what we’ve found is
that the European standards are pretty stringent. And so if we’re making sure that we’re
doing all the things from a technical and a process point of view that
we need to do to comply with that, that stands us in pretty
good stead around the world. For Professor Rose Luckin of
UCL, another major concern is that of quality control. I keep being told, there’s
loads of content out there. Content’s not a problem. Yes, there is a lot of educational
content available on the web through multiple different
sorts of devices. It’s not all that good a quality. And it’s wrong to think that we
have content to meet any need that’s of a good enough quality. It’s getting better. And we are developing the sorts of
systems using artificial intelligence techniques that can select the better
of the resources that are available. The technology can help
to filter their content and do some kind of quality
control automatically. And we can also use people to do that. If you think about some
of the marketplaces, such as the TES Marketplace,
that’s a global marketplace of resources created by
teachers for teachers. Teachers pick the
resources that work best, and then other teachers take notice
of what the teacher who has just used that resource says about it. And that’s a way of using the
technology to support human control. Educators and regulators need to keep
a steady eye on global development if we’re to ensure the safe
future growth of EdTech. But the evolution of a
sector is far from over. So where is EdTech
headed, and what does this mean for businesses and
learners of tomorrow? After the break, we’ll be finding out
about new innovations on the horizon. Education technology is big business. Global investment in EdTech rose from
$2.5 billion in 2014 to $9.5 billion in 2017. So where is all this investment
going, and what does this mean for development in the future? I think it’s interesting. Education is one of the few industries
remaining hasn’t been totally transformed by technology in the way
that most others have been by now. And I think that’s why there’s this
huge opportunity in this space. It’s why we’re excited
about it because I think that the change
that technology can bring will have real meaningful impact on
the students’ future life directions. And what’s largely happened so
far is moving traditional pen and paper-based processes online. It’s great. It gives significant productivity
benefits for teachers. It helps save lots of time and money. But what really gets
me excited is the stuff that technology makes
possible that was never even imaginable in an offline world. So how can we take
advantage of this tech to change teaching practices to give
more effective formative feedback to students to close attainment
gaps, to have parents more able to help their children’s learning? But we also want to enter
new markets around the world because there are 3/4 of a
billion school students out there, and the vast majority of them are
still doing things exactly the same way that their ancestors were 150 years ago. We want to be able to
ultimately have the impact that we’re having on million
students on 10 million or 50 million. When you look at the future of
the industry, the EdTech space, where do you see it going? Well, I mean, I think the
opportunity is huge, right? So there are 500 million
students out there that are not going through formal education, right? There are people out there
that are not getting access to high quality learning. And so I think this is a huge positive
for society if we can get it right. It’s also incredibly
positive for employers as well if we can equip people
with the skills for employability. We talk about efficacy
a lot internally, which is how do we create an experience that
truly delivers an outstanding learning experience that enables people to learn
faster at higher quality at lower cost. And I think the digital
medium is the mechanism with which we can do that through. And obviously, engaging with
faculty and with teachers, using the digital medium, we
think we can have a massive impact and help students and
society as a whole. One of the things I
think is going to happen is technology’s going to
become much more invisible. We’re going to stop talking and
thinking about it as much and just start taking it for granted and relying on it
as a implicit part of our daily lives. So I think that technology
will blend into the background and become more of a silent enabler. And actually, I think schools
are a good environment for that because they are quite structured,
and so the technology can have a pretty good guess about who you are
and where you are and what you’re doing and who you’re doing it
with and, therefore, what might be most useful to you right now. So if you’re in a physics lesson with
your sixth form class, we can tell you, here are the notes that you wrote last
time about what you wanted to cover. Don’t forget to tell Thomas well
done on his last piece of work. Here’s the work they’ve
all handed in for you. Here’s the video that you
were going to show them. Here’s the animation that
you were going to use. I think there are also opportunities
for computers themselves to learn from some of that data. We can learn how people
learn, for example, and give them things
that suit their approach and suit their progress
and their timelines. We’re very excited about artificial
intelligence and machine learning because it truly gives
us the opportunity to personalize the learning experience. So a good example would be the work
we’re doing with IBM and IBM Watson and using artificial intelligence
to both inform the learning process and also to create a cognitive
tutor, as we call it, for students so that the
actual platform itself actually interfaces with the student. And the cognitive tutor is actually
asking questions of the student as they go through the course. Some argue that artificial intelligence
and EdTech may take over the classroom and take away the need for teachers. Where do you stand? Now, we don’t agree with that view. Actually, we think it’s really
going to enable the teaching profession because it takes a
lot of the administration out of the role of a teacher. And the teacher can really
focus on adding value to the student in terms
of both helping them through the courseware
and the course experience. We’re also helping to design some of the
way that the content and the courseware is actually delivered. So we actually see the
faculty and the instructors, the professors as integral to delivering
that next generation experience. But it seems the real key to the
successful teaching of the future lies in educating our educators. One of the reasons why I
stress the need for educators to be part of the discussions about
how technologies are developed and how they’re used is because
that’s one very, very good way of training people. Because if they
understand the intentions behind the design of
a piece of technology and they are part of that process,
they are naturally becoming much better at using that technology. Because in the end, it will be the
human factor that makes the difference. So training the trainers, training the
educators, is fundamentally important. For me, it’s part of the
technology product and service has to be the training that goes
alongside that product or service. Education is more essential
than ever before to the needs of our changing global workforce. If we’re to flourish in our shifting
global economy of the future, then we all need accessible learning. But the key to success
lies not just in EdTech distributing the flow of knowledge
but in equipping the learners of today with the tools and skills that they need
to be the workers and creative thinkers of tomorrow. [MUSIC PLAYING] IoT. Powering the digital economy. Brought to you by Schneider Electric.

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