SMART Notebook’s pricing structure has changed, how will the new costs affect your budget?
Interactive whiteboards have been a mainstay in education for the best part of ten years, and at the forefront of this industry has been SMART.
The SMART Board hardware and associated SMART Notebook software are now standard in many classrooms, mainly due to freely available updates and few controls on software installs. But this could be about to change as from the April this year SMART has begun charging an annual licensing cost for SMART Notebook which may make school’s think twice before buying SMART hardware.
Called Notebook Advantage, the licensing changes require an annual paid subscription for customers using SMART Notebook collaborative learning software. It covers upgrades, add-ons and technical support for SMART Notebook software. There is also the option of purchasing Notebook Advantage on a site license basis and schools will be able to renew their site license for multi-year durations of up to 5 years.
New SMART hardware purchases include a one-year subscription to Notebook Advantage, but after this first year schools without the Notebook Advantage subscription won’t be eligible for product updates, live technical support or subject-specific add-ons.
After contacting our reseller the costs for the SMART Notebook subscription worked out to:
- 1 year subscription – £34 per board per year
- 3 year subscription – £25 per board per year
- 5 year subscription -£20 per board per year
SMART’s previous model was clearly unsustainable and needed changing, but the new pricing structure adds an ongoing cost to owning a SMART Board that may give some schools pause for thought before purchasing new SMART hardware.
The move also appears to be an attempt to shore up the interactive board market which SMART has traditionally dominated. At a time when a number of powerful competitors are entering the field — such as C-Touch and CleverTouch — which offer very similar touch screen products to those that Smart are pushing, SMART has changed Notebook’s terms of service state that you are not permitted to use SMART Notebook with touch devices from any other vendor. How this works with touchscreen laptops is not clear.
Will the pricing changes affect your purchasing decisions?