Text to speech usage has spiked from the move to remote learning due to COVID-19. Does this mean costs will too?

The fall out from COVID-19 in the education space is, and will continue to be enormous. That is a given. However the ways in which educational organizations and institutions will be affected are sometimes unexpected. While increased pressure on accessibility and the material costs of getting all students online are to be expected, the cost of maintaining them and their usage has been less obvious.

Traffic has grown for all providers of online learning platforms and tools. For example, Khan academy is predicting a 7-fold increase in traffic over the coming months. A report from LearnPlatform shows that some web services have had as much as a 500 % traffic increase. This resonates with ReadSpeaker’s own unprecedented increase in traffic usage with a spike of 65% over last year’s usage.

These spikes in usage are a sign of growing adoption, and a shift in the education landscape to more online and blended learning, eventually a positive thing for the Education Technology industry. However the resulting costs can be initially detrimental to both services and institutions alike. In an online world, when usage goes up, so does traffic and all the costs associated with that. Usage entails not only more people logging on, but also more sessions and longer usage times, as well as increased support and maintenance costs. All of these costs add up, and everyone from platforms and apps to the organizations that are using them will feel the effects.

In this environment, any business model with volume based pricing is a bane to the customers providing those services. While hindsight is twenty-twenty vision, institutions and organizations, as well as service providers should take these learnings into account when considering the pricing models of services moving forward. 

This is true for text to speech pricing as well.

Savvy educational administrators will privilege fixed text to speech pricing models

Savvy educational administrators need to understand that while some text to speech pricing, such as Amazon or Google text to speech pricing may seem cheaper upfront, these are false economies. A text to speech pricing model based on usage will quickly be a false friend as usage spikes and users begin to use the service regularly. Conversely as a solution is more successful it becomes more expensive.

Organizations that are forward thinking in their adoption of the services that the current circumstances are seeing rise to the surface should also be looking for those suppliers that provide a sustainable business model. Services that offer fixed annual pricing to allow for in-year cost control and proper budgeting. For example, ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech SaaS pricing for education content customers is priced based on activations over a 12 month period. Similar to an insurance policy, budgets are protected from any spikes in usage.

Not only the services that best meet users’ evolving needs will arise from the COVID-19 fallout, but those with business models that make the most sense for sustained and growing usage.

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