Jan 212014
 

Artistic Impression Of Imperos BETT 2014 StandA new year means one thing in the education world it means the BETT show. As in previous years here is my Impero Life Update edition for BETT 2014. Impero is on the stand D286 and I am down from Wednesday to Friday. This year Impero comes to BETT 2014 with new products, updated existing products and a brand new look.

Impero Education Pro

Impero Education Pro has once again improved with lots of new updates. We have now added a OS X console which has the classroom management elements which includes features such as computer lab management to remote control and support.

We have been working on  additional extra e-safety features. We now have updated the keyword lists which includes lists for anti-bullying, eating disorders, Internet Watch foundation keyword lists, adult content plus a number of others.

Confide is a brand new feature that allows students to report concerns such as bullying either about themselves or another pupil. The reports can be sent to one or a number of staff members. In fact students can even choose to report their concern anonymously or to a certain staff member such as a teacher that they trust.

Log Viewer has had a number of improvements and features including a number to help customers manage the violations. We have added a number of advancements to the power management including extra reporting.

We have added pc booking which allows you to book computers from a single PC to a whole room and includes extra features such as the ability to make sure that the PC is ‘locked’ only allowing the person who booked it to unblock it (or it can be overridden by member of staff).

The USB tracking we introduced at last years BETT has had a major overhaul including the ability to add USB sticks to an allow list. Any USB not included in the list, or any unencrypted USB sticks, will be blocked from the network.

Impero Remote Manager

We released Impero Remote Manager a few months back and we are bringing it to BETT 2014 and this is your chance to use it hands on.

It supports multiple servers it can have up to 254 servers placed across the world in fact internally we host several servers on Microsoft Azzure servers.

It supports out-of-bounds remote control this allows you to install the client on the PC and you can remote control clients not on your network.

Impero Remote Manager allows you to remote support a machine without having to install the full client.  Great for supporting sites where you don’t need a full client connection to a machine but you do need to do ad-hoc support.  A customer downloads the ad-hoc client and enters a code provided by yourself and then you can remote support that customer.

YouID

We announced publicly our work with YouID a few months back and it has gone well with a number of updates being shown at BETT.

However YouID suffers same the problem that all similar products do. What happens when you want to integrate a product into the single sign and they do not support open standards or worst they offer some hybrid on the standards.  We can work with that company and their developers to integrate but this takes time and in the short-term you the customer is left waiting.  We took a step back and that is when we came up with the idea of the Personal Apps feature.

If a site uses form based logins we can integrate.  It requires that you add our browser extension (available for Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari ) it does than mean you can add just about any website you wish.  Like a fully integrated app they appear on the YouID webtop and you are able managed like any other app.

Stand Events & Give Aways

We have  a number of events across the stand at BETT 2014 as well as the usual Live Demos on all our products we have a free  e-safety clinc on Thursday & Friday with Alan Mackenzie. Alan will be giving advice on how to maximise e-safety in your school and you can get a free e-safety white paper produced by Alan. This paper looks at the relevance of Becta’s PIES model, why a managed approach to e-safety is better and how schools can empower young people to make responsible choices online.

Now the important part freebies like always we have some SWAG which will be held  in a handy Impero Bag infact we are running a competition using the bag the after the BETT show. So do make sure you come and visit the stand D286 . If you want to say hello I am down from Wednesday to Friday.

Oct 082013
 
Impero Logo

It has been a long time since I did an Impero Life Update post and certainly life at Impero towers has been a roller coaster of a ride with release of V4, YouID and Impero Remote Manager.

New Website & YouTube Channel Update

Impero Logo

Have you been to the Impero website recently as the marketing team went live with a brand new website showing off the new look for Impero. the site now includes a dedicated section for our corporate customers (did you know Impero has a corporate edition), information about IRM , YouID and more.

As well as the new website we also updated the YouTube channel and now includes lots of videos including a multi language Learning Series on using Impero V4.


Impero Education Pro V4

Impero Education Pro

We released version 4013 of Impero Education Pro a few months ago and this version has brought with it a number of changes. Such as  the new Log Viewer, SQLite database back-end, Patch Management and USB tracking to name just a few things.  If you want to find everything new then you can see a full list here.

We have not stopped there we now have a bug fix update in beta.  However we always like to improve our software and we are also internally testing the next feature release. This has has lots exciting new features such as…. I am sorry they won’t let me tell you yet but if you come to BETT in January 2014 you can see them all.


YouID

YouID Logo

Impero has been working on a solution to manage your Cloud based applications. YouID provides a single system to integrate your cloud based logins but it also provides sync integration with Local Active Directory. The dashboard which allows you to customise it and provides easy access to a number of apps.

Impero is always looking at the future of education and I am certain that cloud based applications are not going anywhere soon.  Managing the logins for this is something every school and the public sector in general are going to have to deal with.

I am also very excited about this project as from a QA point of view the process for this project is a new development style (more on that in the future) and brings lots of exciting challenges.


Impero Remote Manager

Impero Education Remote Manager

If you came to BETT last year you would have seen us showcase a project called ‘Vantage’. The project set the developers with the task of creating a platform that the next generation of Impero products could be built on.  They created the platform and the first product built on that platform is Impero Remote Manager which has recently gone into Open Beta.

At the moment this product is Remote Control based. If you looking for Admin, Classroom management, logging etc. then Impero Education pro V4 is the product for you now.  However some of the features that Impero Remote Manager supports vrs V4 are the following: -

Multiple Servers – Have up 254 servers placed across the world in fact internally we host several Remote Manager Servers on Microsoft Azzure servers in the cloud.

Out Of Bounds Remote control – You can install the client on the PC and you can remote control clients not on your network.

Lite Non Client Install Remote Support – This allows you to remote support a machine without having to install the full client.  Great for supporting sites where you don’t need full client connection to a machine but do need to do ad-hoc support.  A customer downloads the ad-hoc client and enters a code provided by yourself and then you are able to remote support that customer.

Impero Life

Picture Of Golfball

As I said at start of the article the past few months it has been a roller coaster but we still had time for fun here at Impero Towers. Such as 8 week lessons on the golf range to summer barbecues.  We are still bucking the trend and hiring at Impero Towers even in an economic downturn. In fact we have the nice problem of talking about where we are going to put all the new staff we are hiring.

 

 

 

photo by: kevin dooley
Jul 222013
 

Keyboard with stethoscope on it*If you came here searching for Pro-ana websites while I can’t force you I do ask you to consider contacting B-eat via http://www.b-eat.co.uk/.

The news again today was recently filled with talk about how big companies like Google and Facebook can help do more to stop child abuse images being seen and governments plans to block legal porn by default on internet connections.  Forgetting the governments plan to block legal porn. While child abuse images are a very important topic when discussing E-Safety the child abuse images are one small part of the E-Safety debate.  Just as an important is the discussion around other aspects of E-Safety such as bullying and websites that promote unhealthy lifestyles such as pro-ana websites (sites that promote anorexia) . This aspect is probably just as important at least with abuse images we have a system in place to deal with it. *

If we for a minute focus on pro-ana sites they became quite prolific in the 1990s with the internet just starting however the sites became known in mainstream media after the Oprah Winfrey Show aired a special show about the topic. In direct response to the show Geocities (for those younger readers in the audience Geocities was a very popular hosting website in the 1990s) and Yahoo actively closed the sites. This had a negative effect of driving the sites underground with the sites  trying to hide the true nature intent with some even starting to  interview new members.

Then if we take a look at bullying we can often fall into the trap of thinking it only happens using IM, email and on social media websites and while it happens in those places it also takes place elsewhere. I was discussing this topic with Sally our E-Safety Manager at Impero Software. We were discussing the students using Microsoft Powerpoint to write a messages about someone and then delete the text. Using it as a modern-day equivalent of passing a note around.

However in all my time in e-safety it is only a few times I have heard people talk about pro-ana or bullying the focus often has been abuse images and grooming.

This is why you have to look at E-safety not only from a URL blocking perspective but at systems (obviously such as Impero) that offer a complete system integration that look from a holistic point of view and not just  URL monitoring.

My question to you is what other areas get forgotten when we have debates around E-Safety?

* A side note the Guardian have a very good article from on the staff at IWF.