Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Interview with Dheeraj Mahtani, Faronics -- E-Learning Innovators Interview Series

Welcome to an interview with Dheeraj Mahtani of Faronics, developers of Insight, a collaborative learning environment which can be used in computer labs or in distributed applications.

1. What is your name and your relation to Faronics?

Dheeraj Mahtani, Marketing Communications Specialist

2. What is Faronics? What does it do? How does it work? Why do you believe in it?

Faronics is a software company that specializes in delivering system control solutions to the education, library, corporate, and government verticals. Our products are designed to help organizations manage, simplify, and secure their computing environments. We were made famous by Deep Freeze, our flagship product that eliminates IT helpdesk requests by making computer configurations indestructible. More recently, we’ve been garnering a significant amount of attention thanks to Power Save, our software solution that provides IT with centralized control of workstation power settings.

3. What is the philosophy of Faronics?

Faronics is driven by a desire to deliver a trouble-free computing experience by solving real world computing problems that threaten user productivity, system integrity, and organizational efficiency.

4. Who benefits from Faronics? How? Why?

Faced with shrinking budgets, educators are being asked to do more with less. Faronics has several solutions that can help.

Insight’s ability to turn standard computer labs into collaborative learning environments has helped teachers become better educators with the tools they already have. Insight allows teachers to assist, monitor, and communicate with an entire class from one central computer. Teachers can share their screen with students, control student access to applications, websites, or peripherals, and monitor classroom activity to ensure students are on task. Students can communicate with the teacher, receive assistance, and respond to class polls right from their computer.

Our award-winning Deep Freeze software eliminates workstation damage and downtime by making computer configurations indestructible. Daily user activity inevitably alters a computer’s configuration to the point where it suffers from system slowdowns and crippled functionality. Deep Freeze prevents this configuration drift from taking place by ensuring any changes made to the computer—regardless of whether they are accidental or malicious—are never permanent. Users can still save their data while the workstation remains protected.

Anti-Executable protects workstations from unwanted software by preventing unauthorized executables from running or installing. Any other programs—whether they are unwanted, unlicensed, or simply unnecessary—are blocked from ever executing. Educators no longer need to worry about students installing games, instant messaging clients, and peer-to-peer file sharing programs on classroom computers.

Power Save uses intelligent power management to ensure workstations are saving energy and money when they are not being used. Our latest version features a new centralized software deployment and management utility and enhanced power consumption and savings reporting. The average return-on-investment for Power Save is a mere four months, and many schools are even receiving Power Save for free thanks to rebates provided by local power authorities.

5. What differentiates Faronics's products from others?

Every Faronics product focuses on delivering absolute control of computing environments—whether it be delivering total workstation reliability to IT, complete classroom control to educators, or intelligent energy management to organizations. By ensuring 100% workstation availability, dependability, and control, our products have freed IT personnel from tedious technical support and software issues.

6. How does Faronics encourage students and instructors to interact? Does Faronics help special needs students, or students with disabilities? How?

Insight enhances the learning experience for students by turning standard computer labs into interactive learning environments. Students are able to request and receive help directly in their workstation session, and appreciate the discretion that the instructor chat feature offers. They can discuss course material and ask questions without leaving their workstations and without disturbing other students. The anonymity that the voting feature provides students allows them to often provide a more accurate answer to questions posed to the class.

With Insight, teachers can easily launch applications and websites on all student workstations from a central teacher console. By blanking student screens, teachers can lock students out of their computers when they should be paying attention, and can monitor multiple student computers through Insight’s thumbnail viewing feature.

7. Where and how does your vision encourage creativity, innovation, and leadership?

As a customer-centric organization, Faronics’ products are researched and developed in close consultation with our end-users. We value our customer’s ideas and suggestions, and depend on this feedback to provide the innovative solutions our users have come to rely on. This approach is the basis for Faronics’ industry-leading customer service strategy, continually working to build and maintain lasting relationships with our users.

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