Cloud Storage and Higher Education

This past summer, I had the privilege to present at the inaugural event for the Louisiana Education Leaders. I was on hand to talk about cloud-based services and present AT&T’s offerings in the space.

I find talking to technology leaders in higher education incredibly interesting. These days, they are trying to find ways to battle shrinking budgets and still address the needs of the ever-changing student population. Students today expect to have information at their fingertips. They show up on campus with their laptops & smart phones in hand – and in some places, they’re given devices such as iPads upon entering the school.

On-Campus Student Data Storage Challenges

One of the top challenges that college students face today is how to handle their data. They tend to carry most of their data around on thumb drives and they’re constantly losing them.

While in Louisiana, I spoke to the educators on hand about the tremendous opportunity here. I believe colleges and universities can use cloud storage to help eliminate this potential loss of data by providing data storage to their students.

Potential Solutions to the Storage Issue

Imagine enrolling for college and as part of the welcome package you get your own personal URL that gives you 1GB of space to store your documents, presentations, etc. As a student, you could use this space to share files while collaborating on projects. And if the one person with the updated version of the presentation (and his thumb drive) can’t make it to a meeting, he or she could send off an email to the rest of the team with a link to the file. That way the project keeps moving forward.

There’s also an opportunity for revenue generation here. For example, let’s say 1GB of storage space costs 25 cents. The university could give this first gigabyte away for free or perhaps add a $3 per year “technology fee” to tuition to cover the cost. If a student needs more memory, charge a premium—say 50 cents or $1 per gigabyte. I predict that once students start consuming the service, they’ll need more space.

For more information:

Synaptic Hosting
Synaptic Storage

Anyone have other ideas for higher education in regards to the cloud? I’d love to hear them.
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