6 Essentials of Managing Higher Ed Projectors - AvNetwork.com

6 Essentials of Managing Higher Ed Projectors

Publish date:

Most higher ed tech managers find themselves frequently dealing with or maintaining classroom projectors. I am no exception; with our main campus and satellite campus, we have around 240 projectors in various conditions. To stay on top of projector management, and minimize the migraines and expletives that often accompany a large enterprise deployment, here are a few tips.

1. Standardize on a manufacturer. There are always going to be debates on what manufacturer is the best, but to save yourself a world of headaches in coding, troubleshooting, and most commonly, lamps, standardize on one manufacturer. Sure, there can be sale on a particular projector, and it works great for a couple of rooms. Now you’ve got an odd group of projectors in a series of classrooms that, for the most part, have to be treated as a separate case each and every time. Stick to a particular manufacturer when it comes to your campus; manufacturers will notice if they have become the particular brand of choice at a campus. They will be more willing to expedite things. Examples of this can range from troubleshooting issues, advance replacement, and warranty repairs.

2. End of year spending is good for lamps. Yes, new laser and phosphorous projectors are coming out, and they are predicting a long lifetime before they need replacing. However, lamps are not like milk; you can buy a large number in a bulk purchase and they can sit on the shelf for quite a while.

3. (Network) Communication is key. If you are using a third-party controller instead of the handheld remote, most times the projector is being controlled via RS-232 or IP. In our science labs on campus, we use a small control processor and a touchpanel. Both are powered via the network or PoE, and they report any feedback from the projector back to a viewer server. Most third-party control systems allow for remote monitoring and have some form of free software to use.

4. Menu lockdown. When dealing with a large campus, not all instructors and professors always understand the systems in their classrooms. Sometimes they will try to set the projector how they like it. If you have an art history department, you’ve had more conversations about the move from slide projectors vs digital projection than you care to admit. Everyone has their color, hue, tint and brightness preference. And it’s fine, but the classrooms are not scheduled by the art department. In most cases, the Registrar schedules the rooms and there needs to be a standard setup so that other instructors or faculty can go in without having to reset the room.

5. Universal access. A big hassle used to be getting the correct interface for the projector mount. If the projector was swapped to the newer model, chances were the placement of the screw points were never in the same place. Luckily, most mount manufacturers have made a universal or spider mount, as well as variant locking mount. Some have even gone to the point of installing quick release latches for easy swap out. On our campus we have a spare projector with the speed-mount lock already in place. A swap-out takes just a few minutes instead of an hour or two. The lock being at the mount also saves you from dealing with the cage enclosures that were always a pain to deal with.

6. Manage the lights. A room with high-ambient light is bad, but using a high-lumen projector is not always the answer. Having shades installed, or replacing vertical blinds with proper shading material, will definitely help a lot.

With multiple classrooms reliant on projectors, any of these tips will save you headaches as well as time on the units. In addition, the faculty will thank you for the quick response and be able to continue on with their teaching, allowing for the students to return to their joys of statistical analysis on PowerPoint.

Bill O’Donnell, CTS, EAVA, DMC-D, is an AV/Network Design Engineer at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.


Image placeholder title

6 Mega Trends Tech Managers Can't Ignore in 2014

I love portentous articles as much as the next reader, but I'm going to leave the predictive dart throwing to the experts. My 2014 trend forecast is actually quite simple: tech managers should expect more emphasis on soft skills, software, and creativity. 

Road to InfoComm: Q&A with Ed Cook

SCN sat down with integrators and consultants to learn a bit about their InfoComm show priorities: what they want to see, what they hope to achieve, what they think will steal the show, and so on. This round comes from Ed Cook, CEO of AVMI.

6 Ways to Enhance Corporate Video ROI

It doesn’t make sense for organizations to continue investing in videos that are never seen by their target audience. For videographers, getting people to watch videos is akin to building job security. On the one hand you have a unique skill set. On the other hand, no one will care about you unique skills if they are not perceived as central to your employer’s mission.

Don’t Overlook TCO for Ed Tech

When shopping for projectors, savvy education technology managers know to ferret out the total cost of ownership (TCO) rather than fixating on the lowest price. That’s why vendors are increasingly offering projectors with hybrid designs, self-cleaning filters, and light sources that last 20,000 hours or longer. The time spent calculating genuine TCO can really pay off.

Flat Panel vs. Projector: Which Works Best for Your Client?

Our job as AV integrators is to know when a client should use a flat panel or when they should use a projector. Clients come to us for our expertise. We listen to their needs and create the most effective integrated AV solution specific to their business. When it comes to the decision of flat panel or projector, there are many factors to consider.