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This Clever Idea Can Solve One of Public Schools’ Biggest Technology Problems

January 29, 2014
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This Clever Idea Can Solve One of Public Schools’ Biggest Technology Problems
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The Neverware “Juicebox” can help schools struggling to keep up with new technology.

Let’s be honest: technology is great, but it’s also incredibly fickle. Each major computer trend or software revolution is practically extinct by the time the next big thing rolls around — a huge nuisance (and even bigger expense) for consumers. And for schools that are getting by on just a few outdated machines, this constantly revolving door is a real nightmare. Neverware, a startup based in New York City, acts as a doorstop for the ever-evolving tech industry by transforming barely functioning old machines into computers that work like new. Through the company’s “Juicebox”, a large box that plugs into the schools’ network, all the computers are automated and updated with the latest software. Neverware’s desktop virtualization technology then boosts performance to each machine, providing fast connections that allow students to work more efficiently. And all this fits into the tightest budget. Participating schools pay an adjustable fee per month, per computer (up to 150 can be run on one Juicebox), and the Juicebox itself is provided for free. Schools then just need to maintain the one server to service all machines, saving time and money.

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“I wanted to offer schools a more capital-efficient method and enable students to use computers that were more up to date,” Neverware founder Jonathan Hefter told Entrepreneur. “They are paying for the end value of turning the computers on and they work well, and it fits their budget.” Hefter got the idea for his business in 2009 while attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. In 2011, Neverware secured more than $1 million in funding, and just this month, the company won a $10,000 grant from the GOOD Maker Savings Side of Business challenge — a joint effort between GOOD and UPS.

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Neverware is already being used in more than 50 New York public schools, powering computers that are more than a decade old. And as schools prepare to implement the new Common Core State Standards, which require more computer-based testing, the Neverware Juicebox will be more in demand than ever. Now if only the company could find a solution to quickly outdated smartphones.

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