AV Technology: How is AV/IT convergence
playing out in your facility?
Scott Deetz: The AV/IT convergence has been
playing out at Cedarville University for several
years, even before AV/IT convergence was a
buzzword. It all started with us requesting to
put our Crestron processors on the network
to remotely manage rooms with Crestron’s
RoomView software. From there, it has slowly
evolved into a great relationship with the IT
Four years ago, AV moved from library
services to IT. There were a lot of questions
about the move that ranged from physical
location of staff, storage of spare equipment
if we move from the library space, and how
the IT department procedures worked. When
you are used to handling procedures a specific
way for 12 years, it’s difficult to make
adjustments. Even after four years, I’m still
having difficulties remembering some of the
Things have improved over the years from
being in the library to now being a part of the
IT department. When we were in the library,
I would ask one of the directors what plans
they had regarding computer purchases and,
more specifically, the video cards. This would
have helped with the AV designs for the classrooms.
I was always told, “we will work with
whatever you design.” That didn’t help me
at all. Now that we are part of the team, we
communicate all the time so the computer
purchases, AV design, and installations go
Overall, the AV/IT convergence has been
going very well at Cedarville University.
What AV/IT problems have you solved
Scott Deetz: Videoconferencing is not so much a problem, but what is the better solution
for our campus? Cedarville University
is a small Christ-centered community with
resident dorms, so there are not a lot of commuters
from the area or a secondary location
that would benefit the use of a larger system
like Cisco or Polycom.
As we all know, videoconferencing can be
accomplished with a smartphone or tablet.
We conducted meetings with those people
that would utilize a videoconference system
and decided that we could use Skype,
Google Hangouts, or Adobe Connect when
content needs to be shared. This would help
save on personnel time and support because
more people understand Skype and Google
Hangouts more than a propriety system like
Cisco or Polycom.
What types of new tech or products do you
want to learn more about?
Scott Deetz: While other universities and
businesses are already trying wireless presentations
with the latest and greatest piece
of equipment or software that comes out,
Cedarville has waited until some standards
are met before we really dive forward with
offering this in classrooms. I’m looking
forward to a cost-efficient and all-inclusive
device or software that can support BYOD.
We could have purchased a manufacturer’s
device that works with most sources, but
not all. Either it would support iOS, but not
Android and vice versa. Now there are more
and more companies that can support both
iOS and Android.
What AV/IT do you hope to buy in the near
Scott Deetz: Currently, it would be to continue
moving forward with upgrading our
analog systems to include digital media. That
means the purchase of new control systems
that transport all the audio, video, control,
EDID, and other information through
a single CATx cable. We hope continuing
with this technology of transporting signal
through a single CATx will help us keep the
infrastructure for future technology changes
on the horizon.
Where are tech manufacturers getting it
wrong or missing opportunities?
Scott Deetz: Although it is getting a little better,
manufacturers need to stop having proprietary
systems and play well with others.
The bigger picture is one system can display
an iOS device wirelessly, but not an Android
device, and vice versa.
If a manufacturer is developing equipment
that can take a device and present it
wirelessly to a display, then they need to
be sure it can work with all phones, tablets,
notebooks, Chromebooks, and so forth,
without loading software or apps.
What is the biggest obstacle to collaboration?
Scott Deetz: The biggest obstacle is finding the right equipment and/or software to work
with the current infrastructure, work with all possible devices, and be cost-effective. Sure,
there are devices now that can handle the “BYOD” craze, but they are expensive. When
one is trying to stay within a budget and not redesign a system, it’s difficult. Also, one
needs to keep in mind the end-user and their understanding of technology. The younger
generation can understand the technology, but we have to keep in mind those that don’t
understand technology very well.
What are your collaboration strategies?
Scott Deetz: Our collaboration strategy is pretty simple. We don’t have the latest technology
that can connect every device. Our collaboration spaces have a large display with a
desktop computer and connectivity for a VGA or HDMI laptop.
We have Google Apps on campus, which uses Google Docs. Therefore, the group of
students can create one document that everyone can edit together and see what the other
person is changing. If for some reason one or more of the students are off campus, they
could connect via Google Hangouts for that “face-to-face” meeting and still edit documents.
Right now, it’s about meeting the needs of the students without spending a lot of
money that may not be necessary to spend.