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Amazon won’t keep quiet about Whispercast tech for education and content distribution

April 29, 2015 05:40 PM
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Shout it from the rooftops: At least 130 of the 250 largest school districts and 24 of the 30 largest universities in the United States use Amazon.com Inc.’s Whispercast, a content distribution tool.

The leading e-retailer in North America and Europe on Tuesday released an update to the technology, which enables organizations to “easily discover, procure, manage and distribute digital content to nearly any device,” according to Amazon. That means teachers and schools, for instance, can use Whispercast to distribute rented learning materials and textbooks to students equipped with such devices as Kindle e-readers, Fire tables, smartphones running Apple Inc. or Android operating systems, and other types of computers.

Whispercast launched in October 2012, which was about the same time the retailer was launching a Japanese Kindle store and reporting a 27% year-over-year increase in third-quarter sales, to $13.81 billion. Whispercast has grown to reach more than 2,400 U.S. colleges and universities, says Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide and Europe 500 Guide. The Whispercast announcement comes amid the much louder news this week that Amazon launched Amazon Business, a business-to-business e-commerce marketplace, matching millions of buyers and sellers with millions of products. Amazon Business replaces AmazonSupply.com, which the company launched in 2012 and that grew to more than 2.25 million products ranging from janitorial suppliers to metal-cutting tools and industrial equipment. Amazon Business also supplants the Business, Industrial & Scientific section of Amazon.com.

New Whispercast features include:

  • Tiered administration and group management: Whispercast administrators have more control to set up organizational hierarchies and permissions, enabling scalable, centralized or delegated control.
  • Digital transition services: Amazon offers Digital Transition Services tailored for K-12 and higher education organizations with named service representatives to assist with onboarding and implementations.
  • Easier-to-use interface: The updated design includes a step-by-step setup wizard, making it possible for educators to create groups, add and move users, procure digital content and distribute to their organization, without requiring technology training.
  • New purchasing options: Whispercast is expanding the payment methods accepted to procure digital content with purchase orders and purchase cards, in addition to credit and gift cards. 
 

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