Q&A With Ilan Paretsky of Ericom Software
EdTech Times had the privilege of speaking with Ilan Paretsky, Vice President of Marketing at Ericom Software. Ericom Software is a company focusing on delivering the solutions for accessing centralized or remote computing resources – with K-12 and higher education institutions being an important part of their market.
Company at Glance:
Founders: Eran Heyman
Category: Desktop virtualization solutions
LinkedIn company page: Ericom Software on LinkedIn
ETT: How would you define the market segment your company is in? Who are your core customers?
IP: Ericom Software focuses on enabling access to centralized, or remote computing resources. In addition to the K-12 and higher education market which is comprised of school districts, colleges and universities, our software is widely used by organizations in financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and government.
Our software enables users to access remote Windows applications and desktops from any device (e.g., tablets and smartphones, Chromebooks), from any location and at any time.
Penn State University, Hapeville Charter School, North Greenville University and many other K-12 and higher education institutions currently leverage Ericom to deliver a better learning experience, taking advantage of BYOD, mobility and browser-based accessibility.
ETT: How did you get involved in the education industry?
IP: Initiatives such as 1-to-1 and BYOD and the increased adoption of Chromebooks, tablets and smartphones provide schools with a unique opportunity to deliver a new learning experience, leveraging and extending existing IT infrastructure and mobility. Our software provides schools with the ability to provide browser-based access, as well as end-user device-specific solutions for accessing Windows applications and desktops, managing that access centrally, and offering learning environments beyond the classroom.
ETT: How does your solution help further the exam-taking at schools, particularly in the context of your partnership with Pearson?
IP: Ericom AccessNow™ and TestNav® 7.5 with Chromebooks is the first certified on-premise virtualization solution for Chromebooks in Pearson’s TestNav® Qualified™ program. With Chromebooks gaining wide adoption among K-12 school districts, Ericom provides the capability to use these devices to take key standardized tests delivered through Pearson, providing flexible testing centers that do not compromise security.
ETT: What makes your solution different from the competitors’ – what is it that you’re doing differently than your competitors?
IP: First, our solution in that context does not require any installation on the end-user device. Using AccessNow, any user can access their remote desktop or application from any device using popular web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Second, on the IT side of the house, our technology can be used with any Windows Terminal Services (RDS) version, including mixed server environments. This carries great benefits to IT organizations that are ‘in-transition,’ as more often than not, they don’t have the resources to upgrade technology all at once – and Ericom enables a step by step upgrade process that reduces workload and minimizes risks.
ETT: How did your partnership with Pearson come about – in other words, did you develop/customize Ericom AccessNow™ specifically to address Pearson’s TestNav® program?
IP: Ericom and Pearson share common goals and ideals regarding the future of edtech. We both want to help prepare students for college and careers, and were aware of the rapidly increasing presence Chromebooks have in K-12 schools. Our Ericom AccessNow solution was already in use by many educational institutions, from K-12 and up. Also, it was already being used with Chromebooks, so the eventual cooperation with, and certification by Pearson happened in a very positive and organic way.
ETT: Could you tell us about other startups or product builds that you have been a part of and what your role was?
IP: At Ericom, I led the market launch of AccessNow, Ericom Blaze™ and other products. Blaze accelerates, compresses and enhances display performance of graphics-rich content and applications. It essentially delivers a local PC-like performance to remote users.
With an extensive background in R&D, I started my marketing career at Comverse launching products to the telecom market, for operators implementing and deploying pre-paid services to their customers. After that, I led various marketing campaigns related to mobile data billing and other product launches at Amdocs.
ETT: Where do you see the education technology market going in the next few years, especially in the browser-based access segment of market?
IP: There are many opportunities for browser-based computing in schools. The Google Chromebook –Google / Web Apps ecosystem has grown especially strong in the Edu sector; according to Garter, Inc., Chromebook sales will reach 5.2 million units in 2014, a staggering 79% increase from 2013. Software solutions like Ericom’s not only help to extend existing IT investments in Microsoft-based applications and hardware but they contribute to disrupt how curriculum is taught, learned, tested and reported.
Utilizing HTML5 technology along with smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks, breaks down the walls of traditional classroom settings, enabling teachers and students to learn after hours and offering new opportunities to learn and collaborate – all within the browser.
ETT: What advice, if any, do you have for someone thinking about launching a company in the education technology market?
IP: The advice is always the same – focus on the need, and the user. The user base is diverse – teachers, admins, district staff, parents, students and IT staff. Articulate the need and come up with a solution that is simple to deploy, and easy to use.
ETT: Is there anything else you would like to share specifically with our readers?
IP: It is an exciting time to be in edtech and we look forward to helping schools transform their learning environments and prepare students for the exciting challenges and opportunities ahead.
EdTech Times thanks Ilan Paretsky for taking the time to speak with us and we suggest you learn more about Ericom Software at:
Yevgeny Ioffe, or as people call him, Yev, has been working in both the startup world and established companies. His career spans from joining Xplana Learning as it launched to Cengage Learning to MBS Direct when it acquired Xplana in 2009. Yevgeny brings to EdTech Times his passion for start-ups and technology, along with his interest in the ever evolving world of edtech. Yevgeny obtained his BSc and MA from Brandeis University and MBA from Boston College.