Last week Meraki participated in the 2009 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. EDUCAUSE is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the intelligent use of technology in higher education. This was the first time that Meraki has participated in an EDUCAUSE event, but it will certainly not be the last! We have never seen such a concentration of tech-savvy, higher ed IT thought leaders (more than 4000 of them) in one place before, and it was exciting to be a part of it. Each day was packed with seminars where schools could share best practices and their experiences with various IT initiatives with their colleagues, as well as keynote talks on the latest trends and issues in higher ed IT and technology plus workshops from over 250 vendors doing demos of some very cool products on the trade show floor.
Meraki hosted a booth on the floor as well as a special dinner event for CIOs and Directors of Technology for a small group of colleges and universities. We had the opportunity to chat with folks from schools with as little as 100 students all the way up to big state schools with over 25,000 students, and to learn about their needs and pain points. We saw tremendous interest at the booth in Dashboard demos of some of the networks of our current higher ed customers, such as Westmont College in Santa Barbara and Sweetbriar College in Virginia. Both schools have recently done campus-wide 802.11n deployments with Meraki, and their respective techology gurus spoke at our EDUCAUSE event about their experiences.
Major takeaways from the event:
-With the degree of budget-cutting that higher ed has seen over the last 12 months, schools are more than ever looking for ways to increase their bang-for-buck on IT spending and for ways to make reduced staff more efficient and more productive.
– There is a tremendous amount of excitement surrounding new ways to leverage cloud computing to reduce capex and operating costs of IT departments while increasing reliability and manageability of systems.
– Meraki is a great fit for higher ed, organizations that even in the best of times make due with limited budgets and IT staff that need a fully-featured wireless LAN that won’t break the bank, can be managed by a small staff and can easily scale and be rolled out across entire campuses.
We are excited to help our new friends from EDUCAUSE find ways to save money while simultaneously improving the quality of services that they can provide their students, turning their wireless networks from a liability into a strategic asset for recruiting and student retention.
Look for Meraki at future EDUCAUSE events, especially in places where the weather is as gorgeous as it was in Denver last week!
-Posted by Greg Williams