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AV Asset Control on a University Campus, Part 2

Sep 28, 2010 12:00 PM, With Bennett Liles

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So after you've designed one of these systems and you pretty much have it the way you think it's going to work, do you ever have to go back in there and maybe tweak something after you've got some feedback from the users?
Well sure; sometimes there can be quite a bit of delay between the time we actually design something and it's actually funded and procured, and even more of a delay by the time we actually get around to installing it. But it's with a small crew; there is some delay in that process. And oftentimes in that delay people change their minds or you may have somebody else that's brought in to make those decisions. So yeah, we do make some changes from time to time but our designs are meant to be flexible so usually it's not that big of a deal to make those changes. [Timestamp: 6:39]

Yeah, most of the changes I make they never even notice. It's mainly changes for me for my own peace of mind or to keep them out of trouble.

So what are the features that you use most in monitoring central control? Do you use the Extron central monitoring for that?
We're looking at getting the GlobalViewer Enterprise. We were working with them on getting that brought to campus. Right now we are using—we do use a Free GlobalViewer now. We really want to get the GlobalViewer Enterprise on campus. We do have all of our devices on the network, and I have monitors set up on all the 226s and 104s and TouchLink panels, so we're alerted in case anything gets disconnected or a projector overheats or anything of that nature. So we do have all of those monitors set up. So yeah, if it can be monitored we're monitoring it. [Timestamp: 7:22]

Yeah, I have some Crestron and some Extron. For a while I had RoomView on one monitor and right beside it I had Extron's GlobalViewer Enterprise and Extron sent out one of the actual GVE code writers to see me and we sat there and compared features. So I think they're coming out with a new version of GVE real soon and it's going to have some new features in it. I was thinking about the budget situation and how it's affecting people on other campuses—obviously that's just going down most of the time lately with education. So how are you dealing with that? Have you had to tighten up on anything, or have you been pretty free to go so far?
You know that's something we laugh about often in this department. Enrollment keeps going up and budgets keep shrinking, but we're busier now than we ever have been before. I think the administration on campus have done a really good job managing our money and applying it to technology and things that we need on campus, so we're busier now than ever. [Timestamp: 8:16]

So are we down here on the other end of town; we see increasing class size too. I think one of the technologies that has some promise in trying to offset the effect of increasing class size is classroom capture. Are you doing anything with that out there or plan to?
We're looking at some different things right now, Bennett. There are so many different solutions on the market right now, and all of them have certain things they bring to the table and all of them have certain downsides to them, honestly. So we're looking at different things and evaluating it and even looking at possibly doing something inhouse on our own. So we haven't really made a decision yet about which solution we want but there certainly is a very increasing demand for that technology on this campus. [Timestamp: 8:56]

There's a huge market for it right now and you can just about find every shape and form of the capture idea going around.

We had an economics professor several years back and she was using one of those simple little eBeam whiteboards. You just stick it up anywhere and it used ultrasonic sensing on the marking pens and recorded her voice on a mic. So the students really loved that thing because they could go home and download the lecture and watch the whole thing from any point. It's not as good as one on one with the instructor but for effectiveness it can really provide a lot of bang for the buck.
This is starting as a big—we have a department on campus that are making a big push to look at all the solutions on campus. So I think—hopefully within the next six months or so, we'll have some standards and we'll be deploying much more of that type of system. [Timestamp: 9:44]

So what do you see coming along in the future with this? We've talked about classroom capture, but is there anything else big coming along, or is it mainly just volume and expansion right now?
Mainly volume and expansion right now. We always try to stick with the latest and greatest technology; unfortunately, we don't know what that's going to be yet. We do have several classroom buildings that are approved and will be coming online in the next few years. So we're just looking ahead and trying to stay on top of that kind of stuff as far as infrastructure planning and we just plan for everything and keep on building the classrooms. [Timestamp: 10:2]

Well, I know where you're coming from on that and I wish you a lot of luck with it and I really envy you, the new staff editions; that's great news. It's Chris Walston and Chris Lewis from Kennesaw State University, the multimedia development group there and thanks so much for being here and taking the time to let us know what's going on at Kennesaw State with all the new Extron touchpanel installations.
Thank you.
Walston: Thank you Bennett.

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