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A/V Opportunities within EdTech as K-12 Schools Look to Invest

Despite the majority of school districts in the USA having at least one form of display device installed, there are still many opportunities for technology vendors, according to a new EdTech report from Futuresource Consulting.

The report, based on interviews with 488 school districts across all 50 states, reveals that much of the installed tech is non-interactive projectors and non-interactive TVs, which are out of step with the current learning environment.

Interactive Panels Poised for More Uptake

Interactive flat panels have a far lower coverage, at two in every three school districts, and this is where the growth can be expected. There’s also an opportunity for interactive whiteboard vendors, based on decision-maker plans and the device types they have expressed an interest in.

Equipment mobility also plays a role in AV display decisions, with equipment sharing both within a single classroom and between classroom settings. However, priorities are wide ranging, and schools need to look not only at their devices, but the infrastructure and connectivity surrounding it.

“This interactive panel uptake is being driven by the new collaborative experiences that have been afforded to students and teachers alike,” says Chris Pennell, Principal Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “It’s an acceleration of what was already beginning to happen pre-pandemic. Pupils are becoming increasingly familiar with technology. It’s integral to their everyday lives. And now it’s fundamental to their academic progression.”

Spending Dip Could be Reversed by Education Stabilization Fund

But it’s not all good news. AV spending is decreasing in percentage and real terms, now at 7% of the total IT budget. This is likely down to funds being diverted elsewhere during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the American Rescue Act includes an Education Stabilization Fund, which should apply upward pressure to the AV market in the coming years.

“Planned ownership of visualizers and video conferencing solutions is also looking positive,” says Pennell. “COVID-19 is likely to have accelerated demand for visualizers in the short-term, though there are now visualizer emulators that can be used on phones and tablets. These may impact growth in the longer term.

“During the pandemic, eight in ten school districts have been using video conferencing at some stage to teach children. along with the usage came investment, with schools telling us they’ve purchased a range of cameras, microphones and other peripherals to support video conferencing-based teaching.”

Loudspeakers Creating Opportunities

The loudspeaker segment is another high point for EdTech, with last year’s growth predictions coming to fruition this year. Classroom coverage is now at 77%, with purchase priorities focusing on ease of set-up, price and sound quality. Ahead of many other EdTech solutions, loudspeakers are ultimately one of the best tools to combat the negative effects of overcrowding in classrooms.”

This is one in a series of four reports focusing on different aspects of EdTech, namely client device computing, administration tools, classroom tools and A/V devices. For further information on the EdTech Voice A/V devices report from Futuresource Consulting or to make a purchase, please contact  

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Chris Pennell

About the author

Chris Pennell

Chris Pennell is a Principal Analyst for Futuresource Consulting, leading Futuresource’s research across the Connectivity and Services practice. His research focuses on emerging technologies transforming enterprises' use of AV solutions.

Chris's recent research covers areas such as the shift to IP-connected devices, the use of managed and cloud-based services, and the impact of Pro AV solutions on the Future of Work. Working with various vendors and end users has enabled Chris to explore and build knowledge of the innovative ways enterprises use AV technologies to address ongoing challenges. Outside work, Chris is happiest helping raise his young family and supporting his local Scout troop.

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