Category Archives: Budgets

Class Capture

I have been working with the new Crestron Capture HD. So far, I am very impressed. What I like most about it is that there is not huge backend required to use it. A simple USB thumb drive will suffice. Therefore, the initial cost is much lower than anything else on the market. What I am not nuts about is that it records in .ts. This format is a real pain to work with. So far, all I have really found that plays nice with .ts is VLC.

Survey Analysis: In-house Systems Install

More than 120 technology managers and directors responded to our questions about prevailing issues that affect the choices we make when planning to bring new learning spaces online. All respondents were directly involved in some aspect of learning space development (i.e. planning, design, procurement, project management, quality control, installation). As evidence of AV-1’s commitment to keeping surveys brief, the majority completed the survey in less than ten minutes.

What follows is our analysis of five key elements explored in the survey.
Continue reading Survey Analysis: In-house Systems Install

Tiner’s Take on Customer Service Through Controls

“Our rooms talk to us,” says Scott Tiner, Assistant Director for Classroom Technologies at Bates College. In his recent InfoCOMM webinar titled Leveraging Existing Technologies to Create Exceptional Customer Service Tiner mapped out the importance of tapping the usage-tracking capabilities of the technologies we already have in place in order to maximize not just customer service, but also to contribute valuable data to institutional planning.

This is important stuff. Networked control systems can do much more than just dim the lights and raise the volume, all current systems provide hooks to a database in which every button-push and device-selection is recorded and time-stamped. Furthermore, graphic touch panels offer the added benefit of serving as real-time trouble-shooting tools that can minimize session interruptions and empower users to “fix the glitch” before it turns into everyone’s problem. Continue reading Tiner’s Take on Customer Service Through Controls

Report from InfoCOMM 2011

Orlando, FL. While attending InfoCOMM 2011, we asked key industry insiders to speak directly to the AV-1 community and to share their views of the most critical issues ahead. The following articles include brief video clips from individuals possessing uncommon insight, intuition and experience.

While this is by no means an exhaustive report, we hope that you find these views useful to your due diligence and decision-making.

[Editor’s note: Interviews are provided for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement. Neither AV-1, nor the author have received any form of compensation in exchange for these posts.]

This list is shown in last-in-first-out (LIFO) order. In the coming weeks, additional interviews and articles will be posted to the top of this list.

Table of Contents

Mark Valenti, The Sextant Group, discusses the up-side of a down economy as an inspiration for outside-the-box tech planning.

Ernie Bailey, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, speaks about the importance of cross-training to get the best out of AV and IT support staff.

Jody Forehand, Luidia, on the cost-effective approach of adding components as-needed.

Jackie Deluna, AMX on the importance of social proof for mission-critical technologies.

John Heffelfinger, Crestron, on the value of end-to-end technology solutions. 

Andrew Edwards, President of Extron, on the zen of simplification and support.

Andrew J. Milne, PhD, Tidebreak CEO, on the meaning and impact of collaborative learning environments. 

Mario Maltese, Audio Visual Resources CEO, on the impact of the AV9000 Standard and the future of zero-defect projects.

What’s your view? Are we seeing the big picture? Leave a reply below or discuss it with fellow AV-1 members on the AV-1 List.

Report from InfoCOMM 2011 – Luidia

This interview is part of AV-1’s Report from InfoCOMM 2011, in which we ask key industry insiders to share their views on the critical issues ahead. You can contribute your thoughts on this interview in the Comment Area below. AV-1 members may discuss this important topic in greater detail on the AV-1 List.

The folks at Luidia built their business around the nifty eBeam whiteboard capture device. Seems oh-so-simple now… stick it to any whiteboard and record your board notes straight to the computer… but when they started out, the general consensus was that you needed a big honking piece of dedicated equipment to get the job done. Continue reading Report from InfoCOMM 2011 – Luidia

Report from InfoCOMM 2011 – AMX

This interview is part of AV-1’s Report from InfoCOMM 2011, in which we ask key industry insiders to share their views on the critical issues ahead. You can contribute your thoughts on this interview in the Comment Area below. AV-1 members may discuss this important topic in greater detail on the AV-1 List.

The AMX brand is as much about culture as it is about technology. Their big-as-Texas heart is evident in their customer commitment (think of all the organizations that still operate the old Axcess Controller card cages they installed 15-years ago), their sometimes cheeky-yet-endearing marketing approach (remember the “We were just kidding about that Panja thing” campaign?), and their blazing technology firsts (networked controls, asset management software, media server, and especially their advocacy for open standards-based platforms). It’s no wonder they’ve been named one of the top 25 Best Medium-size Companies to Work for in America four years in a row.

Continue reading Report from InfoCOMM 2011 – AMX

Survey: Analog-to-Digital Transition

Recent discussions regarding the transition from analog to digital video transport suggest that many feel that they have little control over this technological sea-change.

In an ideal world, we might leap at the chance to dig into new technologies that promise breathtaking video resolution with minimal tweaking, however transitioning also brings the potential to disrupt and/or bankrupt services at a time when few operations have capacity to spare for a major overhaul of RGB-based analog video systems.

Please take a moment to respond to the following eight questions so that we may will put a finer point on the “state of digital” — particularly as we approach summer upgrade season.

The Big Picture…

This survey departs from previous anonymous surveys by asking for your email address. We ask this in preparation for AV-1’s upcoming budget survey series in which we hope to gain a better understanding of prevailing budget and lifecycle practices. An undertaking of this magnitude will take more than six or eight questions, so rather than try your patience, we have devised a plan for a series of short-but-sweet surveys on key operational areas. We hope to use your email address as an internal “key field” to re-assemble your responses across multiple surveys so that we can begin to map data to institutional demographics (i.e. Midwest private liberal arts college with 10,000 enrolled). As always, your survey responses will remain anonymous.

Scott Tiner

Bates College

Continue reading Survey: Analog-to-Digital Transition

Of Dance Hall Cuties and Well Endowed Colleges

Clarke County. I am finally home after a long, long evening. The sputtering gasps of Spring’s premature arrival are interrupted by a dreary mist. Everything’s grayscale. Think: London with a twang… in crocs… and canvas grocery bags.

Earlier today, I foolishly answered the phone (what on earth was I thinking!) and received an offer that I could not refuse. I became the unwitting victim of a southern belle’s cajoling, playing on my dreams and fears, low-blows and the promise of a free meal. I agreed to join my sister-in-law, Kammie, for supper followed by a girls-night-out of salsa dancing. Family can be that way sometimes. Continue reading Of Dance Hall Cuties and Well Endowed Colleges

Survey Results: Managed vs. On-Demand Service

Exclusive in-house support is one of the legacies of audiovisual “media services” groups. As technology evolves and becomes much more complex, many organizations find themselves in the position of reconsidering the cost of maintaining an expanding stable of technology specialists.

In-house specialists require regular knowledge upgrades (to preserve efficiency) and salary increases (to ensure retention).

Given these costs, it is little wonder that many organizations have arranged for outboard services in conjunction with large projects that represent workload increases that cannot be absorbed by existing support infrastructure. (According to this survey, more than 62% of the respondents had at least considered managed services.) However, from time to time, most of us have relied upon services on-demand from local integrators, especially when pinched for time or manpower.

What serves the customer best

[easychart type=”pie” title=”What type of outside support do you use?” groupnames=”38% On-Demand (pay by the hour),8% Service Contract,25% Combination of both,25% We never use outside support” group1values=”20″ group2values=”4″ group3values=”13″ group4values=”13″ chartfadecolor=”FFFFFF” hidechartdata=”true”]

Only 25% of the respondents do all their work internally. The majority rely on some level of on-demand service, perhaps expecting that outside support is called in only to off-load the few complex technical issues not easily resolved internally.

Do you think that the availability of on-call technicians who can tackle most any problem is a trend for most institutions?

[easychart type=”pie” title=”What is the biggest disadvantage to having a service contract?” groupnames=”15% Too expensive,64% Not immediate enough,8% Uncertain quality,6% Less staff for major events” group1values=”8″ group2values=”34″ group3values=”4″ group4values=”3″ chartfadecolor=”FFFFFF” hidechartdata=”true”]

For most respondents, customer service trumps budget-savings. 64% indicated that they need to have someone in their rooms within five-minutes of any reported problems.  Simply logging the problems for an outside technician to fix a some later point, would not work.

“After running AV departments in Universities for 20+ years, I have found that having on hand technicians spread out over a campus is crucial, for optimal support and efficiency when  something goes wrong or technical assistance to no technical people is required. If the support staff were contracted from a supplier, they would still need to be there full time, either in busy periods for on hand support or in quiet for maintenance and upgrades, the cost factor is almost balanced out.”

While answers to the question, “What would be the biggest advantage of a service contract?” proved to be quite diverse, we believe they follow a similar customer-service-centric theme. For example, without having to worry about training and time off, we could simply focus on getting things working properly.

[easychart type=”pie” title=”What do you consider the biggest advantage of a service contract?” groupnames=”28% Less staff + lower costs,28% highly qualified techs,13% no staff leave-days,15% someone to blame” group1values=”15″ group2values=”15″ group3values=”7″ group4values=”8″ chartfadecolor=”FFFFFF” hidechartdata=”true”]

As usual, some of the best thoughts and comments came directly from you, when you were not pushed into a multiple choice question.  Here are some of those comments:

“I think there is a break-even point in which the volume of equipment justifies an in-house staff to provide on-demand responses for support, operations and maintenance. At lower levels, it would depend large on competencies of your system integrators.”

“Maybe I am a control freak, but I know the systems and I know what my clients want/need. I can not imagine an outsourced support group provide the “personal” touch and have our innate knowledge of each room.”

“For me to use an outside vendor, I have to play ringleader, where I have to coordinate that service department with the Registrar’s office for access to the classrooms.  It’s less downtime and coordination to provide the support ourselves.”

“We have always used on demand service but with the increase of technology rooms, 280+, no increase in staff, equipment reaching its warranty limit, & availability of technology fee funds we are moving toward service contracts this FY July 2010.”

“When we looked at a service contract for 70+ rooms, the contract cost was more than double what we had actually spent on time & material repairs over the past 3 years.”

“Our department of three has been cut to a department of two, so now we’re increasingly finding ourselves short-handed for larger events and without the expertise of the missing employee. Management doesn’t offer any solutions other than vague references to service contracts for upcoming building renovations.  Our concern is that we’re in a smaller market which means the contract would go to a local provider who we don’t trust (they’ve goofed up several previous installations) or to a non-local crew who flies in, installs, and then leaves. I’m a big supporter of having in house staff, but cross-training them so they can perform other tasks when A/V needs aren’t paramount.”

“My service contacts consists of warranties and replacement schedules within a 24-hour period. The techs install, program and do trouble calls. If the problem is more that they can handle, we call the vendors who honor the warranties and send the defective equipment out for repair.”

If you missed our survey or have additional ideas and experiences you would like to share, please use the comments section below or start a conversation on the

AV-1 Recommended: Activities & Sessions During EduComm 2010

EduComm 2010
This June in Las Vegas, EduComm brings together top thought leaders, innovators, and speakers to present, discuss, and navigate the unprecedented challenges and opportunities shaping the future of higher education.

Here is AV-1’s short-list of recommended activities and sessions while you are there. (If you had been planning to attend only InfoComm while in Vegas, think again!)

Monday, June 7

1:30pm – 4:00pm

click for reservations Classroom Tour of University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Guide: Joe Schuch Senior Associate for New Learning Environments, Thorburn Associates.

EduComm and InfoComm attendees are invited to visit some of UNLV’s most advanced learning space including the J-School’s newly completed Greenspun Hall (at right). Visiting other institutions provides the opportunity for colleagues to generate ideas and discuss challenges to planning and support of learning space at their institutions. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Special thanks to Darrell Lutey, Assistant Director of UNLV Instructional Technology Services for arranging the visit.

Space is limited. The visit is open to attendees of EduComm and InfoComm. Click here to join us!

6:30pm – 7:30pm Ballroom A

Sanjoy MahajanStreet Fighting Higher Education-Get Ready to Rumble

Speaker: Sanjoy Mahajan Associate Director of MIT’s Teaching and Learning Laboratory.

Dr. Mahajan’s insights into intuitive problem solving and the unintended effects of higher education’s accepted methodologies are transforming our understanding of how excellence is achieved, and how too often, academic success is eroded and undermined by precisely those things we thought were improving it. See also

Tuesday, June 8

10:30am – 11:25am Ballroom H

Sarah "Intellagirl" Smith-RobbinsDown the Rabbit Hole: Using Alternate Reality Games for Education and Training

Speakers: Sarah “Intellagirl” Smith-Robbins Director of Emerging Technologies at Indiana University, Kelley School of Business; David Eisert Manager of Emerging Technologies at Purdue University.

Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) present a new form of immersive experiential learning. Regardless of the topic being taught, participants in ARGs engage in an active, creative way with the game’s mechanics while also exploring collaboration mechanics, technology, and the attraction of a compelling story.

11:30am – 12:25pm Ballroom B

Ashley BurtA New Way to Learn

Speakers: Ashley F. Burt Interim Director of Information Technology at Auburn University; Michael J. Chavers Information Technology Specialist IV Auburn University.

How are tablet computers used by students at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine? Items to be covered include how the program developed; vision for how students can use these devices to enhance learning; how the college supported students; feedback on success; and plans for
the future.

12:30pm – 2:00pm Ballroom A

Annual Higher Ed Technology Update with David Pogue

David Pogue is the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times. Each week, he contributes a print column, an online column, an online video and a popular daily blog, “Pogue’s Posts.”

2:15pm – 3:15pm Ballroom C

Apurva MehtaThe New Helpdesk: Resolving Any Issue, Anywhere, at Anytime

Panel: Apurva Mehta Director of IT, UMass; Jonathan Brennan Director of Information Technology Services, Sage Colleges; Richard Crim CIO and Information Technology Strategist, Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC).

Senior IT leaders will detail the success of delivering IT support services 24-hours per day to users in distributed locations, as well as the qualitative benefits of leveraging remote support technology. They’ll share lessons learned and provide anecdotal advice on maintaining an effective campus IT department under tight budgetary constraints.

3:45pm – 4:45pm Ballroom B

In the Hotseat: Connecting with Students Through Backchannel Banter Kyle Bowen

Speaker: Kyle Bowen Director of informatics at Purdue University, where he is responsible for providing Web design and application development support for the university community; Hans Peter Aagard Senior Educational Technologist at the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing at Purdue University.

Hotseat, a new mobile Web application developed at Purdue University, enables students to engage in micro-discussion style collaboration both inside and outside the classroom from an iPhone, mobile device, participate via Twitter, or within a custom Facebook application, thereby transforming the traditional passive student experience through integration with popular Web 2.0 Web sites.

Wednesday, June 9

9:00am – 9:55am Ballroom H

Todd ConawayYour Digital Personality: The Real You in Your Online Class

Speaker: Todd Conaway Instructional Designer at Yavapai College in Arizona.

Participants will receive resources and examples of online instructors integrating their personality into their courses using web 2.0 products. Discuss the driving need for more than text-based learning.

10:30am – 11:25am Ballroom B

Amy Haston Extending Beyond the Classroom with Collaborative Spaces

Speaker: Amy L. Haston Learning Spaces Analyst at Purdue University.

Learn the steps Purdue University has taken to create their current collaborative spaces, which were driven primarily by key faculty and their pedagogy. How did Purdue’s Information Technology staff responded to the students’ needs? How did Purdue use a student centric model to design collaborative spaces to engender collaborative work outside of the classroom, allowing students to better prepare for the world they will enter?

10:30am – 11:25am Ballroom C

Amanda Mast Lessons Learned from Classroom Services AV Training Modules

Speakers: Amanda Mast Assistant AV Systems Engineer at University of Notre Dame; Jason Railton Assistant Manager, Technology Enhanced Learning Spaces University of Notre Dame.

The University of Notre Dame classroom support model was originally based on full time staff responding immediately to faculty calls for assistance from our classrooms. This model worked well in the 1990’s when technology classrooms were few in number. As the number of technology classrooms has expanded it became clear that the original support model would not scale well. This presentation describes how we developed a training program to equip student employees to respond to most calls for assistance.

11:30am – 12:25pm Ballroom C

Ken Woo The DO’s and Don’ts of implementing Smart Classrooms

Speaker: Ken Woo Dir. of IT & Facilities at Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies.

This session will explain how Nortwestern incorporated the best of what others were doing in order to make our smart classrooms better. You will leave with the building blocks to distinguish between a “need” and a “wish” for a Smart Classroom. Some lessons learned will also be discussed and what we saw as what works and what doesn’t.

12:30pm – 2:00pm Ballroom A

Curtis Bonk How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education

Speaker: Curtis Bonk Professor at Indiana University and author of The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education.

Many next-big-things introduced in recent years have failed to live up to that potential. In his recent book The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education, Curtis Bonk argues that what has been missing is convergence. Bonk outlines 10 technology trends that, when combined in whole or in part, can transform learning.

2:15pm – 3:15pm Ballroom D

Tripti SinhaNetwork
Refresh: Elevating Higher Educational Facilities into the 21st Century

Speakers: Tripti Sinha Director of Networking and Telecommunications, Office of Information Technology at University of Maryland, College Park; Tom Vogler Assistant VP of Finance and Administration, Office of Information Technology at the University of Maryland.

This session will highlight the best practices and processes for higher educational facilities to meet state mandates and enhance overall communication, research, and educational resources throughout the university.

2:15pm – 3:15pm Ballroom H

Phil Ice Data Changes Everything

Speaker: Phil Ice Director of Course Design Research and Development at American Public University.

This session will help institutional decision makers understand how to effectively capture and utilize knowledge and data from across the enterprise to drive programmatic growth. Topics covered will include using data to enhance pedagogical effectiveness, implementation of new technologies, reporting to accreditation agencies and maximizing return on investment.

4:00pm – 5:00pm

Joe Schuch Panel Discussion: Disruptive Technology in Education

Panelists: Joe Schuch Senior Associate for New Learning Environments at Thorburn Associates; Sarah Robbins Director of Emerging Technologies at Kelley Executive Partners; Phil Ice Director of Course Design, Research and Development at American Public University.

In education, are there any technologies that are not disruptive, really? With the arrival of each “great new thing” how can one know which to keep and which to toss? As leaders in our communities, how can we move our organizations and cultures from reactive to proactive?

Join us for an engaging discussion of disruptive technologies in the classroom and higher education.