Monitoring Technology in Classrooms
As technology has evolved, the role of the University Technology Manager has evolved with it. Now, technology managers have the ability to remotely monitor technology systems throughout a campus. This not only prepares and informs them when technology needs repair, but it gives them data and insight into how often technology is used, which in turn informs their technology decisions moving forward.
“We’re using a monitoring network. So we preemptively know if a projector is running low on lamp life. We’re an Extron shop, so we’ve tied Global Viewer into our ticket system. So our projector will generate its own ticket to purchase a new lamp. For the few Crestron installations we have we have the GVE API on, so everything is through the one monitoring network. Then it will set up a ticket for us to replace it. So that works for preemptive things. It lets us know if there are other types of errors. But for a device being unplugged or something like that, it comes through a variety of means. People call us directly, they’ll call the help desk, they’ll see us in the hall, they’ll send a student to our shop, etc.” – Jesse Anderson – Audio Visual Services Manager – The College of the Holy Cross
“We use Global Viewer and Room View and tie those into the ticketing system to get alerts. I also use it for room utilization from our perspective. Sometimes it makes sense to pull technology out rooms instead of continuing to replace it year after year. As long as you have the data you can go to somebody and say it doesn’t make sense to spend $30,000 to replace this equipment. We shouldn’t have it in here at all, it was used two times last year.” – Douglas Anderson – Classroom Technology Manager – Lesley College
“We use it for forecasting when rooms are getting done over. What rooms are being used? What are not getting used? If things are still working right we don’t touch it. Lamp hours is a great indicator. It tells you how much that projector is being used a week.” – Ken Stewart – Classroom Technology Manager – Curry College
“The other thing we use it for is the source hours. For example, I’ve had BluRay players for four or five years on campus. I’ve seen zero hours until the last two years, and then I saw a smattering, and now it’s increasing. It tells me, now that I’m seeing more use, that it’s time to deploy them more widely.” – Jesse Anderson – Audio Visual Services Manager – The College of the Holy Cross
University Technology Managers are the first line of defense against broken systems. They are the maintenance crew on top of everything else that they do. So fixing systems is never going to not be a part of the job. However, new opportunities such as the service model are presenting technology managers with new options.
“At best, I’ll have 15 minute between classes to fix anything that’s gone wrong. We may not use the shiniest, newest products. We use things that we know are reliable and that we keep spares of. So if something goes casters up during a class we can get in there quickly and remedy the issue. – Jesse Anderson – Audio Visual Services Manager – The College of the Holy Cross
“The opportunity for the service model is to educate the CFO and leadership. To talk about the product lifecycle of a projector that we typically replace over a four year period, it can really be stretched to six because it’s laser and I have spares of everything on the shelf. So I can do that first tier of support. But in switching to that service model you’re saying we normally have a four or six year deployment cycle, now every two years we’re going to come back and add the new capability. So for that flex money that’s tied into a service contract, it gives you a refresh that allows you to continue to grow. It gives a perceived value add to the faculty.” – Chris Imming – Director of Media Services and Campus Initiatives – Gordon College
“We maintain spares. We’re mostly a Panasonic shop for projectors. But if someone else has a Sony as well, it doubles the amount of skews you need to carry in your shop. If you center on the service model, it takes the onus of what projector we’re going to choose away from me and onto the integrator. It reduces the skew count.” – Jesse Anderson – Audio Visual Services Manager – The College of the Holy Cross