Global edtech enterprise solutions company Anthology might invent use-cases of metaverse within a teaching and learning delivery process, Jim Milton, Chairman & CEO of Anthology told BusinessLine.
“If metaverse use-cases can help drive comprehension and improve accessibility and affordability, especially when 5G is deployed in a bigger way in India, then we should take advantage of that technology. We are not gonna be inventing AR and VR, but we will partner with metaverse companies and leveraging this technology in the higher education context,” said Milton.
Anthology offers edtech enterprise solutions to universities across 80 countries and has more than 150 million users. The company offers over 60 SaaS products and services designed to advance learning. The company was estimated to be valued around $3 billion after its merger with Blackboard (maker of learning management system, Blackboard Learn) in 2021.
In India, Anthology has partnered with several institutes including IIT, central and state universities and other leading private institutes. Anthology has 1,300 employees in India and is looking to add 200 more employees. The company expects to soon have more employees in India than its headquarters US.
Later in May, Anthology sold its video conferencing platform Blackboard Collaborate to US-based Class Technologies. Milton believes this divesture has has freed Anthology to tightly integrate with products like Microsoft teams and Zoom as opposed to being limited to its own product. This step also opens up the potential for Anthology to experiment with futuristic technologies like metaverse, augmented reality and virtual reality.
Many edtech companies have struggled in the after effect of pandemic boom waning off and costumers preferring offline learning options. To this, Milton said, “the impact on Anthology has actually been opposite because it has a broad portfolio of solutions. In usage terms, video conferencing solutions have seen a bit of decline now but that’s part of our business that we have divested (Blackboard Collaborate) a while ago.”
Further, Milton said that learning management systems (LMS) also saw a spike in usage during the pandemic as they are a pre-requisite for institutions to shift to online. Milton noted that LMS is an enabler for delivering learning not only in online education, but also on-campus education. A big part of the discussion has moved towards hybrid education and universities are realising the need for LMS to offer hybrid learning experiences.
“On the flip side of the coin, purchase for student management systems have stopped during the pandemic because the institutions were focused on having to pivot to online. Now post-pandemic, some of that demand is picking up again,” he added.