by Anton Shilov
10/18/2012 | 09:59 PM
Amazon this week introduced “Whispercast for Kindle” platform, giving schools and business customers a simple, scalable online tool for deploying Kindle devices and Kindle content. Whispercast provides a single access point to easily purchase and distribute Kindle books and documents for educational, marketing and employee incentive programs across Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.
“Hundreds of thousands of students around the world are already reading on 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,” said Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle division.
While in many ways Amazon Whispercast will compete against Apple’s iTunes U, it should be noted that it will support distribution of books not only on Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle Fire devices, but also on free Kindle reading applications for iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, PCs and Macs, which means that Whispercast is more flexible than Apple's platform to distribute educational content. In the coming months, Whispercast will support distribution of Kindle Fire applications. Besides, Whispercast also aims businesses.
Whispercast gives teachers and educators access to millions of Kindle books, including best sellers and free classics, they can easily purchase and distribute to develop educational programs for every age group and level. With Kindle books students no longer need to carry heavy textbooks. Kindle devices can also help meet the individual needs of students with features such as adjustable font sizes, line spacing, built-in dictionaries and the ability to add and share their own notes and highlights. Schools can also register and seamlessly manage the settings on all their Kindles, including adding password protection, centrally configuring wireless connectivity to their organizations’ private networks and restricting individual purchases.
Whispercast also 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. Additionally, Whispercast makes it easy to centrally distribute PDFs and other business documents such as a conference agenda or training materials to employees or customers. With “bring your own device” support businesses will be able to distribute documents and Kindle books to personally-owned Kindles and other devices with access to free Kindle reading applications. Businesses will also be able to use Whispercast to purchase and distribute applications from the Amazon Appstore for Kindle Fires in the coming months.
While Amazon Whispercast is clearly a rival to Apple iTunes U and an attempt to enter the market of educational software/hardware, it is not a straightforward approach to fight iTunes U or any other platform out there, but a rather unique solution. The main difference is obvious: Whispercast targets both schools and businesses, which so far have been using custom applications for the iPad.
Whispercast allows to easily manage fleets of Kindles and gives administrators the ability to assign users into one or more groups, such as specific class, grade level or corporate department. Amazon’s platform makes it easy for organizations to centrally distribute Kindle books as well as documents on an individual basis.
With support for personal devices (which can range from Apple iPhone to Microsoft Windows 8 PCs), organizations can invite employees, students, customers and partners to receive content from the organization on their Kindles or compatible readers, a feature that provides never-before-seen flexibility.
At the same time, Whispercast allows administrators to control Kindle device settings, such as Wi-Fi and password protection, for a simple and secure user experience as well as restricting web access and purchases. Organizations can also efficiently purchase Kindle devices and content through a single payment method, including purchase orders, as well as Amazon gift cards or credit cards.
The main advantage of Whispercast is its ultimate flexibility, which allows using it in different industries and environments, a huge benefit for Amazon in general and Kindle devices in particular.