An open letter to Smart Technologies


We the undersigned met recently at the NYSAIS Education and Information Technology Conference held this November 12th -14th 2008 at The Mohonk Mountain House. During a session entitled “Smartboards Do Not Work Very Well” we attempted to identify the common problems we all have with our Smartboards. It was clear from our conversation that most of us had made significant investments in Smartboard technology and wished to continue to integrate interactive whiteboards into our communities. However, the stability of your product continues to hinder adoption among our faculty. 
 
The major issue we were able to identify was the shortcomings of your Macintosh software and drivers as compared to the Windows version. It was unquestionably clear from our conversation that the Mac version of your product not only lacks in features compared to the Windows version, but the stability of the product is seriously deficient. Many of us in the education community have a large commitment to Macs, and your product crashes more and is less reliable on the Mac operating system. Some other cross-platform concerns that arose included the continually changing file formats between versions of the Notebook software. Indeed, for both platforms your initial releases of new software can be very unstable, feeling more like beta releases. There is also a great need for better overall tech support. As a presentation technology aimed at regular teachers your software needs to be rock solid, and it is not. 
 
We are writing you this letter to implore you to put more resources into the stability of your software and support and to ensure the Macintosh version is as stable, quick and full featured as your Windows offering. There are other vendors in this space, and we will be forced to look at another solution if Smart cannot address our concerns in a timely manner.
 
Thank you,
 
Jeni Berry
Director of Technology
Columbia Grammar and Prep School
 
Adam Gerson
Assistant Directory of Technology
Columbia Grammar and Prep School
 
Pat Hough
Lower School Technology Coordinator
Columbia Grammar and Prep School
 
Joel Levin
Technology Integrator
Columbia Grammar and Prep School
 
Matthew Lipstein
Director of Technology
Brooklyn Heights Montessori School
 
Robin Newman
Technology Coordinator
Horace Mann School
 
Mary Beth Vrazel
Computer/Library Teacher
The Caedmon School
 
YongSoo Ha
Director of Technology
The Brearley School
 
Colin Anton Samuel
Director of Technology
Convent of the Sacred Heart
 
John Neiers
Director of Technology
The Dalton School
 
Stacy Hunter
Lower School Technology Coordinator
Poly Prep CDS
 
Fred Bartels
Director of Information Technology
Rye Country Day School
 
Jay Trevorrow
Director of Technology
Ethical Culture Fieldston School
 
George Orio
Director of Technology
Friends Seminary
 
Akbar Ali Herndon
Director of Technology
Grace Church School
 
Julien Laveyssieres
Director of Technology
French-American School of New York
 
Ellen Baru
Director of Technology
The Cathedral School, NY, NY
 
Anne Marie Rowley
Director of Technology
Windward School, White Plains, NY
 
Bill MacKenty
Instructional Designer
Hunter College High School
Hunter College Elementary School
 
Jonathan Mamelok
Director of Technology
Chapin School, NY, NY
 
Basil Kolani
Director of Information Services
The Dwight School
 
Herschel Kaufman
Director of Information Technology
Ramaz School, NY NY
 
Cordenia Paige
Technology Integrator
Brooklyn Friends School; Brooklyn, NY
 
Tom Jordan
Director of Technology
Elmwood Franklin School, Buffalo, NY
 
Pax
IT & Technology Specialist
The Churchill School, New York, NY
 
Joseph Knowlton
Director of Academic Technology
Greenwich Academy, Greenwich, CT
 
Yumi Nakanishi
Technology Coordinator
Greenwich Academy, Greenwich, CT
 
Brandon Wolf
Technology Coordinator
Brooklyn Heights Montessori School
 
Ahsan Karim
Director of Technology
The Buckley School
 
John Hutzler
Director of Technology
Abraham Joshua Heschel School
 
Jill Kaplan
Director of Technology
Village Community School, NY, NY
 
Leon Silver
Systems Administrator
Village Community School, NY, NY
 
Christopher Kavanaugh
Technology Coordinator
Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Thank you for taking the time to provide us with the opinions expressed in the open letter. We are sorry to hear that you have experienced problems with our software. We appreciate your feedback. This letter is to respond to your concerns as well as offer some potential solutions and additional support.
 
SMART Technologies takes customer satisfaction very seriously. We have built our success on a strong foundation of quality product and excellent service and we want to ensure that our customers are completely satisfied with the products that SMART offers. To that end, I want to assure you that we hear you and we recognize that you are dissatisfied at this time. We are committed to improving your experience of SMART Technologies products now and in the future.
 
In response to feedback received regarding our Notebook v.10 for the Macintosh operating system; we have been working on a service pack that is dedicated entirely to improving Notebook’s support of the Macintosh OS. The release date will be spring 2009 and we anticipate that this will solve any problems you are experiencing.
 
We encourage you and your group to interact with us more closely to ensure we are addressing your concerns. We would like to invite you to participate in a conference where we have our representatives on hand to address any outstanding concerns. We value your business and any feedback obtained will help us to improve our future product releases.
 
Another way to offer feedback is to participate in The Exchange, our online forum for customers http://exchange.smarttech.com/forums. What we are most interested in, however, is getting a face-to-face focus group together. We hope you feel the same.
 
As an additional resource, Chris Klein is a Macintosh Specialist and Education Consultant here at SMART. Chris would also like to extend an invitation for any of you to contact him directly so he can answer any questions or address any your current concerns. You can contact Chris via email at *** or phone at ***
 
Thank you for letting us know about your concerns about SMART Products; we will be in contact soon to provide more information regarding our upcoming conference.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sandra Coates
 
VP, Services
SMART Technologies
© 2011 Adam Gerson.