Schools and businesses are increasingly turning to tablets and e-readers to help disseminate information among students and employees. Amazon has one of the more popular e-readers with the Kindle. Bring these two instances together and you have Whispercast.
Amazon announced that Whispercast is now available to businesses and schools that use Kindles for content distribution. Amazon describes the service as a "scalable online tool for deploying Kindle devices and Kindle content." In essence, it allows a central entity, a school or business in this case, to distribute content among the thousands of other Kindle devices that are connected to the central network.
“Hundreds of thousands of students around the world are already reading on Kindle,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Today, we are announcing Whispercast, a free, scalable solution for school and business administrators to centrally manage thousands of Kindles and wirelessly distribute Kindle books as well as their own documents to their users. Organizations can also design bring-your-own-device programs at school or work using personally-owned Kindles, Kindle Fires, and other tablets using the free Kindle reading applications for receiving content.”
The new service will be especially helpful to schools that leverage e-readers across the student body. Teachers can send learning materials directly to a student's Kindle device without the need to hand out paper or heavy textbooks. It also supports the free Kindle reading apps on iOS and Android so students, regardless of platform, can get the latest digital textbooks sent directly to their devices from the school.
Education benefits don't stop at local schools. Non-profit organization Worldreader has being using Whispercast for the past year to send books to children living in sub-Saharan Africa. The organization says it's much better for the children as they no longer have to wait for new books to be shipped to them. They can now get access to new books at the touch of a button.
Schools may have the most to gain from Whispercast, but Amazon sees businesses benefitting from it as well. They say that Whispercast "makes it easy for business owners to manage and deploy fleets of Kindle e-readers and tablets as a way to support employee productivity or customer marketing initiatives." In the future, Whispercast will also support the distribution of apps across Kindle Fire devices.
The educational benefits are by far the most exciting applications that Whispercast brings to the table. Tablets promised children a future without back problems as it would replace the textbook. That was true, but it also proved difficult to make sure all children regardless of platform were able to access the books. Now everybody, even those with iOS and Android devices, can get the latest educational content sent directly from their teachers. To be honest, I wish it was around when I was in school.