Education is a cost-sensitive market. Schools need technology that is inexpensive to install, update, maintain, and service. Recently, Julong Educational Technology (Julong*), a leader in interactive whiteboard technology, demonstrated some persuasive math by applying a digital signage network specification, Intel’s Intelligent Pluggable System Specification (IPSS), to its whiteboard products. The result is a series of interactive whiteboards offering greater convenience, easier installation, and lower maintenance costs, while enabling rich graphical experiences and compelling interactive teaching environments.


Julong produces up to 20,000 interactive whiteboards annually for educational users in over 60 countries (Figure 1). The market for these whiteboards is competitive and growing. One way to rise above the competition is by offering innovative solutions that save school systems money.



Figure 1. Example of a Julong dual-pen interactive whiteboard. 


The Intelligent Pluggable System Specification (IPSS)

One such solution is IPSS. IPSS builds on the popular Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) which defines a slot in a display or whiteboard for a PC module. No external connectors are necessary. OPS, formulated in 2010 by Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and the Digital Signage Multimedia Alliance (DSMA), currently has more than 30 ecosystem partners in modules and displays. The specification is widely applied in Europe and China’s education interactive LCD electronic whiteboard markets.


OPS’s advantage is its flexibility. You can choose any compatible display to get the size and resolution you want, and then choose a module with the performance you need. OPS also provides future proofing. You can easily upgrade or replace one of the components. For instance, if a bigger, higher resolution whiteboard comes along at an attractive price, you can repurpose the module in the new whiteboard. Likewise, if a whiteboard display fails, you can reuse the module in its replacement.


IPSS adds valuable advanced capabilities to this formula. Most important to the interactive whiteboard education market are IPSS’s specification of 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 processors and 5th generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 processors providing Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT). (For more on IPSS and its capabilities, see this post describing its use in a digital signage application.)


Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT)

Intel AMT is the component of Intel® vPro™ Technology (available with Intel Core i5/i7 processors) that enables cost-saving remote management solutions (Figure 2). With Intel AMT, school IT staff can remotely perform software updates and maintenance, as well as problem diagnosis. Keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) capabilities give technicians the tools they need for remote fault investigation and recovery in cases where the operating system crashes, a hard drive fails, or software is corrupted. The technology also supports auto on/off, a feature that can help save energy and, along with remote maintenance, reduce total cost of ownership.



Figure 2. This diagram – directed at a business audience – illustrates the remote device management capabilities of Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT).


Intel® Core™ Processors

From a compute and graphics performance perspective, IPSS’s specification of 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 processors and 5th generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 processors  is key. These processors provide quad-core performance to deliver fast response to touchscreen inputs and advanced features like gesture-based interfaces based on optical sensors. This performance is available in a thermal envelope starting at 15 watts for low operating costs.


Built-in Intel® HD Graphics reduce system and lifetime power costs by eliminating the need for a discrete graphics card. The processor can support resolutions up to 4K2K@24Hz via HDMI1.4a and 4K2K@60Hz via DP1.2, enabling exceptionally vivid content. With the capability to support up to three independent displays, these processors can enable classrooms to connect additional whiteboards or displays to a module installed in the primary whiteboard.


Example of an IPSS-Compatible Media Player

Lanner, an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, makes the LEC-7388 digital signage module (Figure 3). When purchased with a 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, this media player provides an IPSS solution for OPS-compliant interactive whiteboards. In addition to Intel AMT, its features include 4K Ultra HD resolution (3,840 x 2,160), a swappable 2.5" HDD/SSD drive bay, support for up to 16 GB of DDR3L memory, a built-in LAN controller, and one mini-PCIe slot with SIM card reader. It includes an external HDMI port that can power a second whiteboard.



Figure 3. Lanner LEC-7388 digital signage module.


Whiteboard Solutions That Belong at the Head of the Class

Schools across the world are making the transition to interactive whiteboards that encourage open, pro-active and problem-oriented learning behaviors driven by group collaboration. By choosing solutions that support IPSS, educators will not only achieve outstanding graphics performance, responsiveness, and convenience, but will also realize substantial savings in maintenance and service. To learn more about the value of IPSS in education, be sure to read this case study of Julong’s experience with IPSS.



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Lanner and Microsoft are Associate members of the Alliance. NEC is a General member of the Alliance.


Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine