Amit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo India, says the brand is going for a digital-first campaign that includes a long format web film and end-to-end media plan that leverages social media According to government estimates, India faces a shortage of one million teachers, with a decreasing student-to-teacher ratio. To help bridge this gap, Lenovo recently launched SmarterEd, an education platform in collaboration with eVidyaloka, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on education. This free online platform is designed to encourage Indian youth to participate in digital remodelling of the education system by matching learners with volunteer educators in one-on-one online learning sessions. The Lenovo SmarterEd platform allows students from classes V to XII to choose their teachers, select the subject they would like to learn, and take out time to learn as per their convenience. Amit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo India, tells us more. What was the insight behind Lenovo launching the SmarterEd education platform in collaboration? How did the collaboration with eVidyaloka come about? According to government estimates, India faces a shortage of nearly one million teachers, with a low student-to-teacher ratio. We decided to launch the SmarterEd, an online education platform, to address this societal concern regarding ‘shortage of quality teachers’ in India. We have partnered with the not-for-profit organization ‘eVidyaloka’, primarily because of its leadership and expertise in the online learning and e-learning space. eVidyaloka focuses on transforming the educational landscape of rural India, and helps build digital classrooms for children in remote villages, with the support of benevolent sponsors, local communities and volunteer teachers from across the globe. Lack of qualified and trained professionals is a challenge. How does this platform solve this problem? How will you be training the teachers? The challenges faced by the Indian education system have been further exacerbated by social restrictions and lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when children are forced to stay home and adopt alternative learning methods. Lenovo SmarterEd has been launched with an intention to have people like you and me to volunteer to teach and enable learners to connect with them. Lenovo SmarterEd is built on the premise that there is a teacher in each of us. What are the benefits of this platform for all the stakeholders? Using smarter technology, the platform matches teachers and students using an algorithm that takes into account their respective teaching and learning styles. Our digital agency partner Experience Commerce has done a great job at this. Students also have the flexibility to choose from multiple language options – between English, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu. It has links to NCERT and state syllabus e-books, which can be easily accessed from home and saves parents the hassle of sourcing them. The teachers volunteering to be a part of SmarterEd will see this as an opportunity to contribute and as a productive way to utilize their time during this lockdown. They are also helping spread knowledge and giving back to the society in their own way. Another challenge is that a lot of people are not tech-savvy. In addition, while a lot of schools have started online classes during the lockdown, the rural areas lag behind. What is your strategy to overcome these concern areas? We kept this challenge at the heart of the platform design. The experts in the Experience Commerce team have therefore created the platform to be mobile-first, intuitive to use and available in not just English and Hindi but multiple vernacular agencies. Have you got educational institutes on board? Is SmartEd an alternative to tuitions? No. The idea of SmarterEd is to create a destination where keen learners can meet those who are willing to teach and contribute in their spare time. This is a free online platform. How are you monetizing it and how is this platform going to be sustainable? There is no plan to monetize this platform. It is a free service right now. Over time, Lenovo and eVidyaloka will work together to explore ways to evolve and sustain it basis the response. How are you looking to spread the word about SmarterEd? What is the marketing strategy in play? We have a digital-first campaign that includes a long format web film and end-to-end media plan that leverages social media and influences. Looking ahead, what can we expect next in the evolution of Brand Lenovo? Lenovo envisions a world where every person and business has access to the technology that allows them to achieve their own intelligent transformation. We call this vision ‘Smarter Technology for All’. We want to enable our products, services and solutions with smarter technology that can help solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges and help businesses deliver better. Lenovo SmarterEd is one step in this direction, where we are demonstrating the value of technology to help overcome a structural problem in the education sector.