How and why did the partnership with BenQ get started?
"Last June Boxed was looking for a key partner in the area of display technology, or more precisely a manufacturer of interactive projectors, video projectors and LED monitors. The objective was to find and start cooperating with a renowned partner that had a successful track record in education. Boxed made first contact with BenQ last summer at the Prezentiáda - a national high school presentation competition", said Luděk Heinz, Executive Director of Boxed.
After careful analysis the management at Boxed took the decision to make BenQ a key business partner, with the primary reasons being their extensive involvement in the education segment and BenQ’s portfolio of top quality technologies at affordable prices and the peace of mind provided by their warranty. Today, the two companies cooperate mainly in the area of hardware sales and mutual marketing support.
BenQ products offered by Boxed to the education sector comprise of a package of proven products - 7 projector models and 6 types of monitors. The BenQ MP780ST interactive projector is the flagship that offers teachers trouble-free implementation of interactive teaching methods in their classrooms.
Boxed together with BenQ can also tailor custom solutions that meet more specific requirements of its customers in the education sector. Reasonable prices mean that it is possible to equip all classrooms with quality BenQ projectors.
A significant portion of BenQ technologies supplied to the education system consists of LED monitors, which can save up to 36% on electricity costs, while their price is only about 10% higher compared to LCD monitors. The competition frequently applies a 50% surcharge for something that Boxed now views as almost a standard. In the category of monitors for the education system the most commonly supplied products have a diagonal of 19" or 22", almost always in the 16:9 wide-screen aspect ratio. The best selling monitors are the BenQ GL940M and the GL2240M – modern LED monitors with digital interface ports.
Likewise, BenQ products also find their niche at interactive seminars and teacher training seminars, which Boxed organises. Currently Boxed is organising a large school roadshow to make contact with school principals in 18 selected cities. For the time being the target group are predominantly primary schools with 2300 participants having already registered their interest. The objective of these meetings is the demonstration of the step by step procedure for the preparation of quality interactive digital content that students will find interesting. Interactive BenQ projectors are used to demonstrate the benefits offered by this teaching methodology. The management at Boxed believes that cooperation with BenQ will lead to further growth in sales as BenQ's product portfolio has a considerable head start over the competition.
What benefits will the cooperation between Boxed and BenQ bring to the education system?
It has been shown that modern teaching methods and classrooms equipped with modern equipment are not out of the financial reach of schools. Education facilities now have the opportunity to make changes in their teaching philosophy as funds are flowing from the EU precisely for this purpose. Especially thanks to the "Money for Schools" programme every school can finally purchase long sought after technology. This will increase teaching efficiency because most schools are now coming to the realisation that they need to change their teaching methodology. The critical issue faced by teachers is that children are often not willing to simply passively ingest the spoken word, but want to actively seek out and verify information, make their own conclusions and contribute to the teaching process.
Experiences of school principals
"We have been successfully applying BenQ products at our school for quite some time – they offer both quality and affordability. Within the scope of the Money for Schools programme we have purchased five MP780ST projectors with accessories – mounting brackets, boards and pens. It is thanks to these presentation tools that it was possible to make the lessons for primary and secondary level students a lot more interesting and in the end more effective. We have a plan to gradually equip all our classrooms with this technology. Apart from the already mentioned price to performance ratio we were impressed by the short distance between the projector and the projection screen as well as by the comfortable controls. We also participated in two training sessions, which Boxed offered as a part of the BenQ Complete Solution for Interactive Teaching package", said Mgr. Jaroslav Dostál from the J. A. Komenského Primary School in Louny.
The company has been on the market under the name Boxed since 2005 but its business activities date back to 1996. Back then the company started by selling refurbished computers from the USA but sales of new computer technology also formed a sizeable part of its portfolio. At that time internationally sourced computers were repurchased from large companies, presenting an interesting opportunity to offer Czech schools older but still good quality computer hardware at affordable prices. The first and at the same time the largest client was the Strahov Campus, which urgently needed to be equipped with an IT infrastructure. Back then it was the largest school IT network in the Czech Republic.
Gradually Boxed defined itself in the direction of its main client, the education system, because the system continually demanded large amounts of products at budget prices. Today there are a total of 5500 primary and high schools in the Czech Republic of which approximately 1600 are Boxed customers. The company has become one of the largest suppliers of IT products to schools.
The company's strategy is clearly focused on the education system and in the future Boxed intends to continue in this direction. The company provides comprehensive IT product solutions, training and services for schools including the ability to draw money from EU funds, which is offered by only 2 to 3 larger companies in the Czech Republic and locally it is then offered by about 10 smaller companies. Boxed has about a 25% share of the above mentioned market in the Czech Republic, where approximately a half is comprised of local companies and the remaining quarter is divided between two competitors. Currently Boxed has about 30 employees but it also works with external providers – mostly teachers who train their colleagues in the use of modern IT technologies.