Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Amazon has announced a free service that is about making it easy to distribute ebooks to groups. The immediate question many may ask is ‘so what, groups don’t buy ebooks’, but they do and today can’t achieve that mass distribution or broadcast.
‘Whispercast for Kindle,’ will allow purseholders and stakeholder to buy once and send with one click. Teachers can send to students not just ebooks but also set up and manage access policies on school equipment effectively blocking undesirable access. An enterprise could also benefit for the same controls, but it is schools and that lucrative education sector that Amazon appear to be focused on today. It effectively brings Whispernet out of the closet and to the front enabling it to be used to manage and control estates not just of Kindle ereaders but also Kindle Fire Tablet.
Amazon report that Clearwater High School used 2,000 Kindles for over two years and now is using them in 122 schools within their district. Also a third world education provider, Worldreader, have been using the technology to deliver over 200,000 e-books to children in sub-Saharan Africa. Amazon claim that the technology is now being tested widely in hundreds of schools.
So we find ourselves stepping back to understand how Whispercast could become a real asset top Amazon and win over not just schools, institutions but commercial organisations who are all looking for better ways to distribute ‘stuff’. We are not just talking about books but in principle anything that is supported over the network. Today we have services such as Dropbox who have made a healthy business out of doing the same in a cloud. We all have document, PDFs and stuff cluttering up emails which now are mobile.
Its interesting to reflect that the Blackberry redefined email by making it mobile, perhaps Amazon are redefining the document world and broadcasting of digital stuff and don’t forget they also have the cloud to allow them to do even more. If they do extend the service to cover Kindle apps running on other devices it certainly could become a real differentiator and leave some behind.