28/08/2007 - 22:00

UWA gives US a timely tech lecture

28/08/2007 - 22:00

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An online lecture presentation system developed at the University of Western Australia has been sold to one of its emerging competitors, US-based software company, Anysteam Inc.

UWA gives US a timely tech lecture

An online lecture presentation system developed at the University of Western Australia has been sold to one of its emerging competitors, US-based software company, Anystream Inc.

Dominating the Australian university market and leader in its field globally, the Lectopia system has been sold in a deal which includes an undisclosed up-front amount and an ongoing royalty stream to be shared by the university and the product’s three developers, Michael Fardon, Shaun Procter and Michael Neville.

Mr Fardon, who was an academic member of the UWA Arts faculty staff when the product was developed almost 10 years ago, will join the new owners as head of Anystream’s Australian operations based in West Perth, taking on the title of vice-president of product management.

Mr Proctor also remains with the company.

Mr Fardon said the drive of the team from its formation, the ability to test on-site, and key decisions made at each important phase of the product’s development had helped make Lectopia, formerly iLectures, a global leader.

He said almost 50 per cent of Australian universities used the Lectopia system, under a licensing arrangement, while the rest of the world was very ad hoc in offering this type of service to students.

That was changing as new broadcasting technology became a more accessible.

“Australia is a very mature market compared to the rest of the world,” Mr Fardon said.

“Outside of Australia it is a very new market, but it is set to grow significantly.

“The hype around podcasting has facilitated demand around this area.”

Lectopia allows much broader configuration than most competing systems – up to 20 classrooms, compared with less than a handful for the technology’s rivals – making it more economic and efficient, Mr Fardon said.

“We have managed to demonstrate this can be done on a large scale,” he said.

“There really is a big pipeline of opportunities.”

One of the key tasks of the Australian team will be to combine the best features of the Lectopia system and Anystream’s own competing product, Apreso, to launch a new product next year under the name Echo360.

Prior to the sale, UWA had examined many options to commercialise the product, including a spin-off.

There had also been earlier efforts to adapt the product for uses in other institutions, such as Tafes or corporations, in a separate company called Media Farm Pty Ltd, formerly an entity known as Centre for Water Research Pty Ltd, which was deregistered last year.

Editor note: an announcement on this subject stated the following: 

Anystream announced its acquisition of lecture capture pioneer Lectopia by its higher education division, Apreso.  The combined entities will reemerge this fall as Echo360, Inc. – a move that will formalize the separation of Anystream’s media and education business units. 

Celebrated by academia, Lectopia was born in higher education as an operating division of The University of Western Australia.  By adding Lectopia’s 500+ classroom deployments and 20 institutions with Apreso’s roster of nearly 160 customers, Echo360™ will boast more higher education installations worldwide than any other capture technology.

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