Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Indiana, Floyd County Indiana is home to the first public high school in the state – New Albany High School, founded in 1853.
New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation (NAFCS) is looking to the future with innovative technology initiatives, including a program that aims to provide more than 11,000 students and 700 teachers across all grades from the district’s full-day kindergarten through graduation with access to district-owned iPads and discounted laptops.
“We’ve always been one of Indiana’s more dynamic and innovative school systems,” explained Sal Costanzo, Director of Technology and Instructional Resources for the district.
“We are fortunate to have an involved community that includes the New Albany-Floyd County Education Foundation, which raises money for programs that our budget couldn’t otherwise cover, as well as an active strategic planning committee made up of educators, parents, and community leaders who are helping us set and achieve goals that will continue our long-standing commitment to improving the education our children receive.”
IT’s iPad Printing Problem
Soon after the first iPads were distributed, the district’s IT department started hearing from teachers who were frustrated with the iPad’s rudimentary printing ability. “Yes, there was a print function, but it wasn’t anything that we could use reliably with the more than 600 printers we had on our campuses,” said Costanzo.
The district wanted more than the ability to print documents via email. It wanted to be able to manage and monitor printing costs, restrict access to some printers, limit some student users to black and white printing, and enable printing from websites and photo files as well as documents – and it wanted to ensure that privacy was maintained and the district’s network remained secure.
Breezy was among the products the district looked at three years ago when it first began seeking a mobile printing solution. At the time Breezy was a new product from a startup company in Oakland, CA. “They thought that we looked promising, but our first product wasn’t really ready for the enterprise, so they took a quick look and moved on,” says Jared Hansen, Breezy CEO and founder.
“We looked at most of the mobile printing solutions out there, and none of them worked for us,” Costanzo says. “If it was secure, it wasn’t easy. If it was easy, it wasn’t secure. And we couldn’t find anything that included the kind of tracking and controls we needed. After several months of frustration, I saw an article that mentioned some new features that Breezy had added, so we took a second look. I was surprised to see how much the second version of the product had changed. On paper, it seemed to be feature rich and encompass all of our needs.”
The school district had a well-managed printer environment with two print servers and centralized management for more than six hundred printers, plus a MobileIron mobile device management and security solution already in place. “Breezy’s integration with MobileIron was a big plus in the company’s favor when we took our second look at it,” Costanzo adds.
Pilot Program and Requirements
In 2013, NAFCS began a formal trial program to evaluate Breezy for district-wide deployment. The trial program was designed to test seven important criteria, including:
- Security features, including on-device encryption, and integration with the district’s existing MobileIron deployment.
- Access to mobile printing from every network printer in the school district, including a wide range of brands and models.
- The ability to print files stored on mobile device applications, cloud-based storage services, the district’s Intranet servers, and web-based content.
- Integration with PaperCut, the district’s print management and accounting software.
- Built-in compliance monitoring without multi-step credentials that leave users frustrated and create bottlenecks.
“Our pilot program included 700 iPads. Eventually, we plan to have an iPad for every student, so the ability to scale up is vital,” says Costanzo.
Breezy’s Jared Hansen says that the NAFCS pilot program was one of the best-designed pilots he’s seen. “This school district knew exactly what requirements different users had, and the program started with a very clear set of goals and measurement criteria,” he says.
For instance, the first requirement was a secure and simple way to print from iPads that included low-touch setup and management. “Teachers and students love the fact that it’s so easy to print from a mobile device,” Costanzo explains. “School district IT departments work under tremendous time pressures. You can’t take time away from classroom instruction for things like set-up, maintenance, and lengthy security or sign-on processes. Breezy was very simple to deploy. You just install a simple piece of connecting software on your print servers, and Breezy takes over from there.”
MobileIron’s Single-Sign On (SSO) capability with recognized partners like Breezy meant that all a user had to do was to open the Breezy app, which detects MobileIron. The user is instantly logged into Breezy via MobileIron, with no need to enter a new set of credentials for printing.
The second critical integration was with PaperCut, a popular print management and accounting system. “One problem that every school district struggles with is controlling printing costs,” Hansen says. NAFCS had already deployed PaperCut on all of its campuses when the pilot began. Breezy’s integration with PaperCut allowed the print management team to quickly and simply configure permissions and printer access from Breezy’s admin panel.
Costanzo said that the efficiency gains were measurable and immediate: “Before, iPad users could print documents via email – but if they wanted to print a picture or a webpage, they had to email it to a laptop or desktop, and then print from there. Breezy prints exactly what you see on your screen, and it’s a real timesaver.”
“We are very pleased with Breezy,” said Costanzo. “All of our iPad users now have mobile printing, and IT didn’t need to purchase any additional hardware.”