[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]

Re: [school-discuss] OS4ED Release bAlert


Thank you very much for taking the time to respond in such detail.

Your product and business plan seems well thought out and viable and of great
benefit to the K-12 level of schools and beyond.

I agree, more needs to be concentrated in the classroom as compared to
administration but with the oversight being exercised today it seems the
administration level is getting hit the hardest.

Keep up the good work.

Get some sleep.


---------- Original Message -----------
From: "Casey Adams" <casey@xxxxxxxxx>
To: schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 10:01:02 -0500
Subject: Re: [school-discuss] OS4ED Release bAlert

> First thing:  I don't want to burden the list with this extended
> discussion.  Feel free to take this off line with me at
> casey@xxxxxxxxxx  If you want to talk i person, just email me and I
> will gladly give you my cell.
> As a lead in to the novel I have written below: I am a former 
> teacher, technology coordinator and network admin from my life prior 
> to IBM. At IBM, I joined as a programmer and worked my way to a Education
> Solutions Executive in the IBM national education practice.  I have
> worked the K-12 and higher ed market extensively for the last 15 
> years and am somewhat comfortable that my knowledge is pretty good.  
> I have a bent towards instructional system design, instruction and 
> the classroom experience, where I believe the majority of education funds
> should be going, not to costly administrative systems.  I believe 
> that teaching is an art, not a profession where you follow a cookie cutter
> plan. I occasionally write extended blogs about my interests at
> http://educationtalk.blogspot.com.  I am way behind in the blog and
> life in general, because I work a full time job in a financial
> services firm (50 hours a week) and try to do os4ed.com on the side.
> I began os4ed because, while at IBM, I saw how schools and districts
> were facing budget issues like never before and how open source could
> help address that problem. I also saw no serious sustainable open
> source efforts gaining mass market acceptance, except perhaps Centre
> SIS.  I left IBM this summer, took a job that didn't conflict with my
> interests and set up os4ed partnering with Jack Miller (Centre) and
> Bob Ghosh (Methodologic, Inc) a friend who has a SW development shop
> in India.  I invested $10,000 of my own personal money to get Centre
> converted to openCentre and am investing more for Version 4.1, which
> is going to be awesome!  I am a father of three, one who is 5 months,
> and am severely sleep deprived.  Just some background on my wackiness.
> I have answered your questions below underneath each one.  Just so
> everyone is clear about Open Solutions for Education, here is our
> mission statement:
> Mission Statement
> OS4ED provides world class open technology solutions to the K-12
> education community that are economical, easy to use, compliant with
> open standards and integrated in support of effective administration,
> instruction and student achievement.
> Please note the line economical to use.  We do not give everything
> away for free, but do attempt to create a compelling total cost of
> ownership model based on open source SW.  What you get from us,
> whether free or for a cost, is yours and you get all of the source
> code with it.  It is yours to modify as you wish.  We can save a
> school or district over 50% TCO on similar SW and up to 75% if it is
> Windows based SW.  Our base model is to give away  a few key
> foundational products and then add additional functionality through
> modules, customizations, etc. for a fee.  Everything we have is very
> reasonably priced and our services rates are very low compared to say
> a Pearson, who charges $225 an hour for custom work. We also provide
> full Help Desk support for our products.  Phone, VM and email all
> unlimited for unlimited users for a client.  We think that is another
> key point to building the confidence of the mass market to use open
> source solutions.
> All customizations, whether paid for by clients, done free for 
> clients or just done by us are released back to the os4ed community 
> for its use.  We don't require fees, but have numerous ways to try 
> and develop a revenue stream to sustain our efforts and allow us to continue
> adding functionality and features that will be useful. We may take an
> angel investment in 2008 and completely rewrite openCentre into a
> "pro" version with everything included that will be given away for
> free, but requires an annual maintenance license. We are trying to
> assess if that is appealing to our user community and beneficial to
> them.
> As an example of giveback, we are currently customizing openCentre 
> for a small college.  In January, we will release a higher ed 
> version, OC4College that will be free for colleges to use and 
> released under GPL V2.  The college may also contract with us to do 
> an Admissions module, which will then be returned to the community 
> of users as well.
> Our goal is to gain mass acceptance of open source solutions in K-12
> and Higher Ed  by doing three things:
> 1) Produce and distribute quality applications that are true feasible
> alternatives to costly commercial applications
> -- It must have nearly the same, equal or better functionality
> -- It must look as good and have the same easy navigation
> -- It must be easy to administer
> 2) Remove the barrier of price, giving some things away for free and
> charging economical prices for others
> -- If it as good, has the same su0pport mechanism and can be obtained
> for up to 75% less, the decision should be easy for the client
> 3) Provide a support mechanism for clients so they can have  a 
> comfort level with choosing open source
> According to a recent poll on our website, 43% of people felt that
> open source solutions were not robust enough (Item #1 above).  23%
> felt that they did not have the skills to manage open source (Item
> #1).  If we can do the three things above, we can eliminate these
> fears and misconceptions and get mass acceptance of the solutions.
> Bottom line, we are trying to return operational dollars to the
> instructional budget.  66% of a child's education comes from the
> classroom experience and the more resources we can direct into that
> arena, the better the education potential.  To have a serious impact
> on K-12 and higher ed education, we have to get mass market
> acceptance.
> All that said, I think we are trying to do something good for
> education and that doing good things for education is good business.
> On Dec 6, 2007 6:24 PM, Stewart Ives <ivessm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > Casey,
> >
> > Now that you have raised your hand I have some questions about your
openCentre software.
> >
> > I couldn't find this info on your site.
> If you register, you will have access to the downloads section where
> you can download numerous overview presentations that should give you
> a good idea of the functionality of all of our products.  All we ask
> for is an email address to help begin building a client base that we
> can communicate with and get feedback from occasionally.  If you are
> registered, you would have seen an email requesting development
> suggestions for EasyCom Version 2 as an example.
> >
> > 1.  What exactly are the server system requirements to run openCentre?
> openCentre will run on any server that will run:
> --Apache
> --PHP
> --PostgreSQL
> --HTMLDoc (PDF generator)
> We have had many requests for MySQL and sometime in 2008 will deliver
> a version of openCentre that will run on any database, enabling you 
> to leverage your existing database SW and skills.  Actual server 
> specifications depend upon the amount of your data, but most of our 
> clients who are small schools easily run on single or dual Pentium 
> processors.  Storage is minimal and does not grow exponentially over 
> time.  To the best of our knowledge, openCentre will run on any OS 
> or HW platform that can run the above required SW.
> We have an installer that works flawlessly on Windows and we are
> working out the final bugs on Linux.  This means that you can unzip
> the files to a directory, open your browser to that install directory
> and we do all of the work for you assuming the required SW are
> installed.  Another key component to mass market acceptance.
>  We hope to have our SIS included in the openSuse CD next year.  We
> also have approached and are having conversations with Canonical
> (Ubuntu) to perhaps get bundled onto the Edubuntu CD.  We hope to 
> also work with Dell/Ubuntu to create an open source school ready server
> with integrated solutions over the next few years.  Another mass
> market approach.
> >
> > 2.  What tasks/functions/modules/etc are included in the "base" system?
> How about what is not included?  The additional modules we sell are:
> Discipline, Student Billing, Cafeteria, EasyCom and State Reporting.
> We hope to release a module for Tests next year, that will allow you
> to batch import test scores and generate numerous reports on those
> scores.   We are working to incorporate the Centre modules into
> openCentre, which has some architectural and code differences.  Any
> module purchase will guarantee complete integration.  openCentre
> includes: (you get all of the source code for openCentre under GPL V2)
> Schools
> --Calendars
> --Portal Notes (Dynamic with expiration dates and the ability to
> assign them to specific users and groups)
> --Marking Periods
> --Grade Levels
> --Year End Roll Over
> --Copy Schools for easy setup
> Students
> --Demographics
> --Address and Contacts
> --Medical
> --Print mailing labels
> --Print letters
> --Associate Parents with Students (Then parents automatically see
> their children in the portal with appropriate security)
> --The ability to add any number of tabs and fields to suit your
> specific needs.  Up to 2 million currently. Your SIS your way!
> Parent Portal
> --See everything about their specific students that is in the system
> Gradebook
> --Excellent functionality
> --Classroom, final and marking period grades
> --Just added extended comments for the Wooster School in Danbury, CT
> to pilot.  16,000 characters to satisfy their state requirements
> --GPA reports, classroom ranking reports, teacher completion reports
> and many more
> Transcripts
> Report Cards
> Numerous Standard Reports
> Ad Hoc Reports
> Security
> --You can add users and manage their security down to the field level
> in openCentre
> Attendance
> --Take attendance.  One period or multiple periods.  You choose.
> --Attendance completion.  Monitor those teachers who have not entered
> their attendance.
> --Attendance reports
> Activities and Eligibility
> --Monitor and track student eligibility for various activities or sports.
> Schedules
> --Group schedule
> --Mass schedule
> --Individual schedule
> --Search schedules
> --Print schedules
> --Add/drop
> --Monitor incomplete schedules
> --Schedule requests
> --Unfilled requests
> Pictures
> --Student pictures
> >
> > 3.  Can a K-8 school of about 500 students run completely on the free
openCentre or do they need to purchase additional modules/parts to run
> You can easily run your school with the free openCentre solution
> listed in question number 2.  If you require additional 
> functionality, we have add-on modules.
> >
> > 4.  What additional tasks/functions/modules/etc are available for
openCentre and how much does each cost?
> I listed the modules above.  They each cost $2,500 except for
> Cafeteria, which is $3,500 and EasyCom which has an annual
> subscription rate.  State reporting may change based on the
> requirements of your state.  Some states require extensive reporting,
> like FL.  We are almost signed on a deal to produce FL state 
> reporting and expect to have that ready by early 2008.
> We offer full Help Desk support for our modules, usually $1-$2 per
> student depending upon the size of staff and student population.
> When you purchase a module, we do consider that proprietary, but we
> give you all of the source code and you are free to modify it as you
> wish.  You just can't redistribute.
> >
> > 5.  About how many schools are currently running openCentre and can you
release a list so we may contact the administrators for their comments?
> I have no clue.  We give away openCentre and you are not required to
> have maintenance, so your guess is as good as mine.  We have about 
> 700 registered clients since June 2007 and openCentre has now been 
> downloaded over a 1,000 times.  I do know that we have been 
> installed multiple times because we keep getting questions that we 
> try to answer free of charge to get people started.
> You can register and pose these questions in our forums, which are
> seeing some regular conversation.  Some of the original Centre
> developers are active in the forums as well.  We also count Centre
> clients as our base and if you truly want to talk with some clients, 
> I can request Jack Miller to refer you to some clients using either 
> product.  I can tell you for sure, that multiple school districts, 
> faith based schools and charter school are using Centre/openCentre 
> as their SIS today, some for several years.  I now that Centre has 
> thousands of active installs around the world and in the US.
> We are in talks with several schools and districts and expect to
> announce pilots with some major US districts in 2008.
> >
> > I like the looks of your product but really don't have the full info on it.
> Thank you!  I am very excited that we are producing a product that 
> has real potential for education.  I am also proud that I am doing a 
> good thing.
> Casey
> > ---------- Original Message -----------
> >  From: "Casey Adams" <casey@xxxxxxxxx>
> >  To: schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> >
> >  Sent: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 13:42:00 -0500
> >  Subject: [school-discuss] OS4ED Release bAlert
> >
> > > Hi All,
> > >
> > > OS4ED has just released its latest solution bAlert, a web based email and
> > SMS text messaging system for K-12 and Higher Ed.  The announcement is
> > below.  We are very excited about this solution and think it has many
> > practical applications for education.  The solution will be offered on an
> > annual subscription basis.  Feel free to direct any questions to my direct
> > email:  casey@xxxxxxxxxx  Contact phone is below if you want to talk in
> > person.  Thanks!
> >
> > > --
> > > Casey Adams
> > > 205.612.5489
> > >
> > > Message:
> > > Open Solutions for Education
> > > Thursday December 6, 2007
> > > ------------------------------
> > > -------------------------------------
> > > OS4ED announces the release of bAlert, our web based email and SMS text
> > messaging communication solution.  bAlert allows you to send unlimited
> > emails and SMS text messages to any number of users or groups.   bAlert even
> > works when traditional phone lines are down because it uses cellular modems
> > completely bypassing POTS.
> > >
> > > bAlert Features include:
> > >
> > > 1) Email and Short Message Service (SMS)
> > > --Deliver both or individually
> > > --Deliver text messages to any SMS device
> > > --Cell phone, PDA, Blackberry
> > > 2) Deliver email to multiple devices
> > > --Computer, cell phone, PDA, Blackberry
> > > 3) SMS messaging works when phone lines are down or
> > > capacity is exceeded
> > > --Messages still delivered in crisis or storm situations when traditional
> > phone lines are down or overloaded
> > > --Messages delivered via cellular modems bypassing traditional phone lines
> > >
> > > bAlert has multiple uses.  Some examples include:
> > >
> > > 1) Notify parents of children who have:
> > > --an unexcused absence
> > > --an unexpected illness
> > > 2) Important communications
> > > --Report cards
> > > --Required forms that need to be completed and returned
> > > --Parent teacher conference reminders
> > > 3) Weather related communications
> > > --School closings
> > > 4) Crisis related communications
> > > --Notify emergency personnel
> > > --Communicate emergency procedures in crisis situations
> > >
> > > 10 Reasons to try bAlert:
> > >
> > > 1) Easy to use web interface
> > > 2) Quick implementation
> > > 3) Message tracking and reporting
> > > 4) Reliable and secure
> > > 5) Web based data upload
> > > 6) Low annual subscription rate
> > > 7) Delivery to any device
> > > 8) No hardware required
> > > 9) Works when traditional phone lines are down
> > > 10) Call center support included in maintenance fees
> > >
> > > Try bAlert free for two weeks at no cost!
> > >
> > > --Unlimited messages
> > > --Unlimited emails
> > > --Enjoy the entire functionality at no cost
> > >
> > > To get you trial user name and password send the following information to
> > info@xxxxxxxxx :
> > > --Name
> > > --Contact Email
> > > --Phone
> > >
> > > An OS4ED representative will contact you within 24 hours to get the
> > information necessary to set up your trial account
> > ------- End of Original Message -------
> >
> -- 
> Casey Adams
> 205.612.5489
------- End of Original Message -------