NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Last year changed the world in unexpected ways, as people and businesses looked to keep moving forward in the face of a global coronavirus pandemic. In many instances, COVID-19 simply accelerated the inevitable, such as trends towards digitization while lockdown orders were in place. Perhaps the most significant example was in education, where students from grade school to college went 100% virtual for the first time in history. Education technology, or edtech, is a hot trend that, even as the pandemic wanes, isn’t showing any signs of slowing among today’s generation of digitally native learners, as evidenced by analyst forecast and upstarts such as Nextech AR Solutions Corp. (CSE: NTAR) (OTCQB: NEXCF) (Profile), which is partnering with juggernaut Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) for solutions to transform higher education. As it happens, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Coursera Inc. (NYSE: COUR) have also dedicated considerable resources reimaging education and democratizing learning for everyone, everywhere.
- The global edtech market is estimated at $106 billion and forecast to expand at a 19.9% CAGR through 2028.
- Nextech AR Solutions lists numerous leading educational institutions as clients and partners.
- The company recently launched its EdTechX platform, with customers already coming on board.
- EdTechX quickly achieved co-sell ready status with Microsoft, a partnership reserved for proven companies with highest-quality tech.
EdTech: One-Third of a $340 Billion Market
Big money has gotten behind edtech, catalyzing double-digit growth. Market analysts at Grand View Research estimate the global education technology market at $106 billion for 2021, up from about $86 billion in 2020, and on track to grow 19.9% annually through 2028 as digital technology improves access to education. The movement is global, including emerging markets such as Africa where tech is filling holes in learning.
Remote learning is one thing, but the future of education involves the marriage of remote learning to next-generation technology, including augmented reality (“AR”). With AR, computer-generated objects are seen on a screen in real time, a technique that helps students learn in a more interactive and engaging environment. Grand View sees the global AR market growing at a spectacular 43.8% compound annual growth rate to $340.2 billion by 2028.
Nextech AR Solutions Corp. (CSE: NTAR) (OTCQB: NEXCF) is on the cutting edge of the markets as a developer and operator of AR platforms that transports 3D product visualizations, human holograms and 360° portals. The company curates its products to a diverse array of blue-chip customers, including Budweiser, JNJ and IBM, by altering e-commerce, digital advertising, hybrid virtual events (events held in a digital format blended with in-person attendance) and learning and training experiences.
Nextech solutions have been used in more than 4,100 events that have been attended by more than 10 million people. Of particular interest is the company’s newly launched augmented learning platform and hybrid and virtual events products that are prime to disrupt a higher education market ripe for innovation. The platform, branded EdTechX, is gaining immediate traction.
Bring the Lab to the Kitchen Table
Nextech has already planted its flag in the university and college markets. Ryerson University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of South Florida, Université Laval (in Quebec City, Quebec), and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”) are only a few of those that trust Nextech for their needs. EdTechX is a comprehensive education product for global customers combining enterprise-scale video streaming, integrated assessments, augmented reality holograms and data analytics.
Applications abound for Nextech where it can provide virtual learning labs, digital courses and poster sessions, live demos and collaborations, Q&A sessions, teaching tools, downloadable course content and more, including uses outside the classroom such as homecoming events, convocations and career fairs. Using its AR and hologram technologies, Nextech worked with Ryerson to develop customized virtual labs for a several different science programs of the university.
Partnered with Microsoft for Sales
Nextech’s EdTechX is a new offering; the company just launched its LiveX platform built on Microsoft Azure this month. Ryerson, Carnegie Mellon and Black Student Fund have already implemented EdTechX into their daily operations. While impressive, this is just scratching the surface, where in the United States alone there are upwards of 5,300 higher education institutes that enroll more than 19 million students.
In addition, EdTechX has achieved Microsoft’s co-sell ready status, a milestone that should not go understated. A Microsoft co-seller process includes building demand, sales planning, sharing sales leads, accelerating partner-to-partner empowered selling and delivering marketplace-led commerce. This is the top tier for Microsoft partners, and qualifying puts Nextech in an elite group of global independent software vendors (“ISVs”) that are transforming industries.
A Microsoft co-seller agreement allows Nextech to work with Microsoft sales teams to actively fulfill customer needs globally, which speaks to the quality of EdTechX and Nextech, as Microsoft reserves this type of relationship exclusively for companies with outstanding technology and a proven customer track record.
“Nextech AR Solutions is helping education institutions digitally transform the way educators teach and the way students learn, by enabling remote experiential learning through EdTechX,” said Nancy Teodoro, education partner lead at Microsoft Canada.
Clients in High-Growth Markets, CEO (Keeps) Buying
In September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its projections for industry growth and contraction for the next decade. As it happens, Nextech is in the catbird’s seat considering that Nextech AR and digital experience platform services customers represent eight out of the top 10 for fastest-growing industries.
Investors always love to see “skin in the game” in the form of management laying out their own cash to buy shares of stock. To that end, Nextech CEO Evan Gappelberg remains “extremely excited about our business prospects,” proving that optimism by yet again increasing his ownership position. At the end of May, Gappelberg exercised warrants for another $186,650, marking his seventh purchase in the last 18 months. In that time, the Nextech chief executive has bought 1.54 million shares, increasing his total holdings to 9.86 million shares. Gappelberg explained his outlook on the company in depth during a recent Nextech presentation at the 2021 LD Micro Invitational.
Regardless of its $100 billion market status, the edtech market is still in its nascency. So is AR for that matter. The beauty is that they are emerging into an audience of young adults that have known nothing but the digital world, which virtually ensures mass adoption to rapidly re-shape the higher education landscape and new brand of pedagogues in the coming years.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has unprecedented scale and influence to play an important — and profitable — role in the global adoption of digital education. In aggregate, millions of companies and consumers (students, teachers, schools, etc.) will leverage the Azure architecture. The company is an education advocate and active in promoting online classrooms through its Microsoft Teams for Education and providing free access to a litany of its online education and learning tools.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is much more than just a social media platform and ad-revenue generating behemoth. While it doesn’t take a conventional route, the company is active on many different levels in the edtech space, including its Oculus VR (virtual reality) unit that it acquired in 2014 for approximately $2 billion. Doing what it does best, Facebook uses tech to disseminate information, albeit for peer-to-peer programs for educators, policy protocols, building communities. Facebook also provides specific content to teach digital marketing to students at all levels of higher education.
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is the parent of Google for Education, which works with many higher education universities on different verticals in addition to offering its Google Workspace products. Many may think of just search and ads when it comes to Google, but its education unit has many successes to its name, including working with the University of South Carolina to use cloud computing to study climate change and Brown University to use VR to recreate colonial history.
Coursera Inc. (NYSE: COUR) is new to the public markets, completing its IPO on March 31 to raise $520 million by offering 15.73 million shares at $33 each. The Silicon Valley-based pure-play EdTech company offers people access to online courses and thousands of degrees from a spate of universities. Business boomed during the pandemic, with revenue climbing 59% to $293 million in 2020, although net losses grew year-over-year by $20.1 million to $66.8 million.
As it does in so many other components of life, technology has improved the value chain of education. The benefits are overarching, to say the least, and level the playing field for students of all ages in all geographic regions wishing to receive any degree that typically would have only been possible via on-campus schooling.
For more information about Nextech AR Solutions, please visit Nextech AR Solutions.
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