ITASCA, IL-D&M Professional has recently taken a number of steps to reach out to the education market while developing a greater breadth of applications and products that benefit them. Its newly created Education Solutions Division (ESD) will address these issues, in part through a new website, www.education.d-mpro.com, which will act as a hub for up-to-the-minute information and advice regarding trends, techniques, and technology for all types of AV enterprise. Additionally, the new Education Technology Advisory Council (ETAC), as part of ESD, aims to support university AV departments and campus technical managers with product and application information relating to digital AV media.
"The short term goal was to develop a site, creating an environment where AV and IT technical managers for universities could gather and share information amongst themselves with or without us," explained Peter Papageorge, D&M Professional director of sales and marketing. "With the site and the ETAC, we aim to get into the community officially and to work with them on technical issues and new applications, as well as existing ones. The future goals are to understand the evolution of that market and to grow with them to develop products specifically to for the education market."
The members of the ETAC will convene on a quarterly basis, via both telesessions and an annual forum, to exchange information, ideas, and opinions directly with D&M Professional management. This feedback will be used for such applications as new product development, to make future products better aligned with the needs of higher education; and in creating new ways to measure and analyze the entire media technology learning experience. The input from these industry leaders will advance the knowledge base for key applications such as podcasting, visual messaging, archiving, event recording, streaming, digital signage, field recording, and distance learning. D&M Professional senior management team will lead the advisory board in fulfilling its objectives.
Podcasting is one of several new-media activities that D&M Professional has been exploring to become more involved in universities. The Education Solutions Division and the integrated website can help students and teachers use technology to maximize their educational experience with podcasting, which can be useful for the dissemination of classroom lectures and supplementary materials, along with functioning as a school information outlet. "Our portable recorders [such as the Marantz PMD660 portable compact flash recorder] have had a number of applications at universities for years," said Papageorge. "The evolution of those products to digital threw us in, and then the podcasting craze has tipped it over, and we've had a number or requests for it. Plus, we see the IT and the AV worlds are converging, so we knew it was a good time to hit it all at once. Right now we're aiming for the people who are responsible for technology on campus. Higher education is our number one, but we're noticing that K-12 is starting to show a tremendous interest, especially in podcating, so we don't want to ignore it-but we can only do so much at one time and then we'll expand from there."
This focus on education is may not be new, but it is a market that is still widely open to new ideas and is eager to embrace them, something D&M Professional embraces. "It parallels a lot of our other growth opportunities for D&M," said Papageorge, "but it's very clear that education is a great portal to the youth of America, as well as technology. "It's where things really happen, so we want to be part of the university experience for years to come."