Founded in 1987, SMART Technologies (SMART) is a world leader in collaboration solutions that are redefining the way the world works and learns. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, SMART is an innovator in interactive touch technologies and software that inspire collaboration in both education and businesses around the globe. The company develops interactive displays and software solutions for teachers, students and business. SMART also offers software solutions for the classroom that enable co-creation and fosters student collaboration on devices while giving teachers real-time insight into learning and contribution.
Neil Gaydon was appointed President and CEO of SMART Technologies in October 2012. Throughout his career, his hallmark has been defining and executing strategy, creating effective structure and changing business culture on a global scale.
To date, SMART is the world’s leading provider of interactive whiteboards that are used by over 70 million students and their teachers. SMART Technologies is Headquartered in Calgary, Canada, with international offices globally. SMART has approximately 1,000 employees worldwide and has been committed to innovation and excellence for more than 25 years.
SMART is best known for developing and implementing the world’s first interactive whiteboard back in 1991. Today, SMART’s solution portfolio has evolved to include award-winning interactive displays, collaboration software, interactive learning software and the all-newSMART kapp® family of products.
SMART Board® became the bridge to connect people to the information they need; to teach, learn and explain ideas, which made this interaction seamless. The SMART Board was also the platform for other SMART products. The popularity of the SMART Board extended beyond the classroom and into boardrooms where communication in real-time has transformed collaboration. Businesses across the globe are embracing SMART Technologies.
SMART’s Philosophy in Creating Natural Collaboration
We sat down with SMART executives to learn more about the company.
“Our global success with educators stems from the results they achieve with our products, which are known to support natural, student-centered learning,” says Jeff Lowe, SMART vice president of Global Marketing. “Our solutions for business teams increase innovation and boost productivity by working together without the restrictions of traditional tools or distance.”
“It wasn’t just about having a compelling strategy” says Neil Gaydon, president and Chief Executive Officer at SMART. “Your fundamental culture, how you do things in the company and how these things join together is really important,” adds Gaydon.
The SMART culture is owned and lived by everyone. “One way to encourage the SMART culture is to build trust among employees,” says Gaydon. “SMART holds regular Town Hall meetings where I talk openly about our results and our progress both the good and the not so good.” SMART employs are realistic approach to reward achievement when they do well and inspire better performance when they don’t.
SMART employees understand their individual contribution to the company and how they can impact the business every day. “This not only drives accountability and great execution but it also engenders a sense of belonging,” says Gaydon.
The process of innovation and one of the things SMART strives for is to disprove the myth that innovation is conserved by a handful of people who have creative and innovative ideas. “It’s actually about encouraging people to think about how something works and making it better,” says Gaydon.
When presenting an overall idea, SMART employees continue to relentlessly keep asking the questions that drive more innovation to come to solutions that make their product so compelling and so easy to use as a result.
SMART kapp – the Next Game-changer
Even though the dry-erase board and flip charts are still commonplace because they are easy to use, they don’t fit in with today’s connected world. SMART kapp is just as simple to write on as the latter but magically allows anyone to capture, save and share their ideas and thoughts to any device, anywhere and anytime.
“Everyone who sees and uses SMART kapp falls in love with it as it solves a real problem, makes things easier and seamlessly joins the analog world of writing with a dry erase pen with the digital world of connectivity,” says Lowe. “SMART kapp has the capacity to change the world for the masses just as we did in the classroom 20 years ago.” Not only will the education system benefit from this new technology but it extends past the classroom, allowing kapp to be used by everyone.
In schools, SMART kapp enriches small group collaboration by allowing students to naturally capture discussion notes and digitally share outcomes with the instructor or with the broader class via student devices or through front of room display. Class notes can be shared in real-time, saved and easily distributed after class, so students can focus on class discussion, rather than copying notes.
No matter what the teaching style or classroom environment is, SMART gives students the best in collaboration technology while at the same time, enables educators to focus on the teaching process. When students can naturally interact together, they develop collaboration skills essential to becoming successful beyond their academic years- a SMART aim to ensure the learning process is equally as important as the outcomes.
The cornerstone of SMART’s simplicity with SMART kapp is that it fully leverages as a secondary to a mobile device. The newest member of the SMART kapp family, SMART kappiQ, has the ability for multi-way linking, 4K display, inking over content and the same experience as kapp with no IT involvement. This is the future of the classroom and meeting room where mobile and analog, personal and work come together.
Natural Collaboration in the Classroom
SMART designs its products with educators and students in mind; they ask, discover and learn in order to build high-performance solutions engineered for classrooms. SMART also evolves its software to enable more natural learning than we once found in classrooms.
Nowadays, technology comes quickly and naturally to children. Students are frequently relying more on personal devices, interacting with technology outside of the classroom to explore, share and connect with the world. SMART enables educators to bring that same experience into the classroom.
SMART’s mission is to equip educators with simple, intuitive technology solutions that allow students to explore within the classroom just like they do in the world – and ensure that technology is not a distraction but complimentary to the curriculum.
SMART was the first company to bring technology to the front of a classroom. The SMART Board has become an essential part of today’s classrooms and is used as universally as the “chalkboard.”The company’s most successful products to-date is the traditional SMART Board, SMART kapp and SMART amp, a collaborative learning platform. And it doesn’t stop there – SMART makes every effort to equip its customers with compelling content and ideas.
Over 65,000 digital resources are available on the SMART Exchange™ website, SMART’s online community for educators. There are approximately 50 country-specific versions of the site. SMART Notebook, enables teachers to create and deliver lessons, access education content and engages students; conferencing software; and interactive learning software with lessons available for download in 23 languages.
SMART Solutions for Business
SMART’s business solutions focus on liberating knowledge workers from unproductive meetings, enabling faster decision making and reducing business risk. SMART provides technology and services that help turn meetings into a time when people can collaborate naturally and where work can actually be done. By providingcollaborative solutions to a variety of industries, SMART has successfully transformed the way organizations work with their specialized software applications like AutoCAD, TeklaBIMsight and iObeya.
SMART solutions for business can change the way industries share and work with digital information, turning the workplace into interactive, engaging collaboration spaces where teamwork can thrive. SMART works closely with industries to help discover which SMART solutions will best accommodate their customers’ needs.
SMART Meeting Pro™ software is visual collaboration software that allows users to create and capture ideas in the virtually interactive unbound workspace, as well as make notes over available application, keep meetings organized, and communicate outcomes. This software coupled with the most extensive range of touch-enabled interactive displays enriches collaboration sessions and keep participants engaged.
An extensive selection of products are available to meet any organization’s needs. SMART offers industries unique ways to transform collaboration and revolutionize the way businesses connect. Currently, more than 125 blue-chip (Fortune 500) companies in over 50 countries around the world are using SMART’s visual collaboration solutions in industries such as financial services, manufacturing and advanced technology.
Giving Back to the Community
SMART is committed to being a good corporate citizen. In April 2014, the company announced an exciting partnership with Free the Children, an international charity and educational partner that strives to educate, engage and empower youth to become active local and global citizens.
Since teaming up together, SMART has raised nearly $300,000 in 2015 through a combination of corporate contributions as well as various fundraising initiatives. With the intent to help break the cycle of poverty and teach long-term sustainability, a group of SMART employees traveled to Verdara, India, in a “Me to We” campaign to help build a school. The employees interacted with the locals and conducted interviews to better respond to the community’s needs. The SMART team added a fully equipped computer lab as part of their “Adopt a Village Program.”
SMART is defined by innovation and their desire to improve the way the world works and learns. Their technology helps customers discover new ideas, new ways of learning and new ways of collaborating. Their easy-to-use interactive displays and integrated solutions have greatly impacted classrooms and meeting rooms around the world where SMART products can be found in use in over 175 countries.
SMART’s ongoing strategies include monetizing software, expanding enterprise solutions as well as increasing investment in leading interactive flat panels, SMART Kapp and software. Education headwinds will likely continue partially offset by interactive flat panels outpacing their interactive whiteboards, education software and services.
SMART continues to be a vibrant, growing, profitable business based on innovative solutions for their customers in education and business. “If our diverse team has one unifying characteristic, it’s a genuine passion for what we do,” says Gaydon. “Everywhere you look at SMART, you’ll find stories of the real-world impact our products are having. It’s something we take great pride in and are excited to be a part of.”
To learn more, visit www.smarttech.com