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$6.6B Higher Ed IT Market Booms with Tablets, Cloud Solutions

A forecast of IT spending in 2015 sees millions of dollars being invested in new technologies.

Higher education IT spending in 2015 could top $6.6 billion, according to a new IT spending guide from industry analyst IDC.

The document by Shawn McCarthy, research director at IDC Government Insights, titled Pivot Table: U.S. Education IT Spending Guide, includes technology forecasts and opportunities for the U.S. education IT market, including breakdowns on "education level, individual states, education functional area, enrollment levels (school size), and technology segments."

In an interview with EdTech, McCarthy said colleges are still recovering from the financial impact of the economic downturn, but they've bounced back with some fresh technology opportunities.

"Like many industries, [colleges] are enjoying a recovery along with the economy, and with expanded grant opportunities," McCarthy said. "We do expect a pull-back of about three percent for 2017, mostly due to spending cycles. With a lot of equipment being refreshed in 2014 through 2016, the spending is likely to pull back for a couple of years."

During his research, McCarthy noticed a sudden drop in PC sales and a significant shift toward tablets.

"We expect tablet computers to have a bright future in education, particularly for use in science classes and for one-off training via apps,” he said.

READ MORE: These devices are the top bandwidth hogs on campus

Tablets aren't the only market being propped up by fresh funding. Higher education spending on cloud solutions is also on the rise.

"I do see strong interest in cloud solutions for things like classroom management and student registration systems. The savings related to this move can be repurposed," McCarthy said.

Email and storage cloud solutions have proved to be the most popular in higher ed, according to CDW's Cloud 401 Report. The report surveyed IT professionals to gauge their interest in cloud technologies and found that in higher ed, 39 percent of services are delivered either totally or partially in the cloud.

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May 26 2015

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