Encouraging collaboration in one of its meeting rooms, the prestigious meteorology department at the University of Reading now benefits from a sophisticated, but easy-to-use display solution to be used by students and faculty staff. Mark Taylor, Senior AV Technician at the University of Reading required a cost-effective and low maintenance projector which would stand the test of time and meet the demands of the multi-purpose space. Choosing the XJ-F211WN-UJ, a model from the new ES Series, Mark looks forward to the ways in which users will engage with the new features.
Mark explains: “The number one factor staff want from AV is simplicity. We were interested in the one-click connect feature already and it’s great because the first thing the user sees when they switch on the projector is the instructions on how to pair it with their device, making it easy for anyone to use without training. Being able to connect with up to 40 devices is great when there’s a number of people who want to present.”
The broad cross-compatibility of the one-click connect software means users can connect quickly and easily, sharing content with the rest of the class regardless of what sort of device they’re using whether it’s a Mac, PC or a tablet. This supports the bring-your-own-device format which is rapidly becoming the norm in higher education contexts and elsewhere.
“The university consulted on room types and is looking to diversify the types of spaces on site, and one thing they’re looking to expand on in particular is collaboration spaces. In those areas, bring-your-own-device equipment is really what they need. They will specify oval-shaped tables to encourage group discussions but they forget about the AV side of things. Collaboration today is about sharing content and working on screens together, which require supporting AV equipment.”
Mark and the rest of the team specify and install almost all the AV equipment across the site, unless it’s for a big project in which case, they’ll recruit an integrator. Operating on a five-year cycle, they specify the best equipment they can find for the budget provided by the department. This means taking into account the performance of the equipment across the five years to keep contingency and service costs to a minimum. Twice per year, technicians service the equipment which often meant replacing projector filters and lamps, but lampfree projectors significantly reduce the maintenance demands and associated cost.
Mark adds, “We won’t be installing any more lamp projectors”. Not only do lampfree projectors save money by eliminating the need to buy replacement lamps, but before, brightness drop-off over time was frustrating for staff who would need to raise a ticket with the IT staff when the projector was too dim to use. Now, the university aims to replace all its lamp projectors with lampfree models.
To ensure that staff and students can use the equipment regardless of which room they’re in, every projector can be operated from a Crestron controller. Connected to a network, the projectors can also be monitored and controlled centrally. This means that as well as switching them on and off, the university can broadcast a message across every projector on site in the event of an emergency.
Mark also emphasises the importance of procuring quality equipment: “Casio is one of the only manufacturers that make projectors of this level of brightness at this compact unit size. As well as presentation tools such as PowerPoint, users of the meteorology department also need to display data and spreadsheets, which require a crisp, vivid image even when the lights are on, so brightness and resolution are key”.