Amazon has announced the launch of Whispercast 3.0 in an effort to make it easier for schools and businesses to not only set up the Whispercast system, but to also administer their users and devices.
Originally released in 2012, Whispercast is a self-service platform that allows schools and businesses to easily place digital content such as books, textbooks and apps onto Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and Kindle apps found on other platforms. While the business originally focused on placing books and documents onto the Kindle, the service has since expanded to include other types of content, as well as other devices, writes Sarah Perez for TechCrunch.
Amazon says that over 130 of the 250 largest school districts in the country, in addition to 24 of the 30 largest universities, use the Whispercast system. This includes The University of Texas at Austin, Santa Barbara Business College, and Seton Hall University, reports Stephanie Mlot for PCMag.
The company recently released “Digital Transition Services” in an effort to support new schools who want to use the service, especially aimed at K-12 schools and higher education organizations. An Amazon service representative will be available to directly work with these schools to help with the setup of the Whispercast system, as well as implementations based on best practices. The feature comes as part of the “premium” customer support package.
The software itself has received an updated design, including a wizard that takes the user through a step-by-step process allowing educators to create groups, add or move users, access digital content, and distribute content. The company hopes the update will make the system more user-friendly so that anyone can handle it, rather than just those from the IT department.
In addition, tiered administration and group management support is also being added to offer Whispercast admins the ability to offer permissions and control over individuals or groups, while at the same time setting up a hierarchy that may be similar to their actual school system such as classes or grade levels. After it is set up, any non-admins can use the system to add user groups and other students without requiring technical support.
New purchasing offers have also been included, such as the ability to pay for digital content through purchase orders. Prior to this update, payment options included credit cards and gift cards.
Whispercast currently offers users access to over 3 million books, textbooks, newspapers and magazines, and over 6,000 titles from National Geographic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic, Lerner Publishing Group, Cherry Lake Publishing, Sleeping Bear Press and Penguin Random House. Users also have access to Amazon’s Appstore, which includes over 400,000 apps.