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.
“Classroom technology should be a seamless integration into current workflow.”
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 →
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.
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.
The previous article identified some of the challenges to maintaining a large number of high-tech classrooms constructed with traditional presentation technology, namely that the exorbitant cost of upkeep transforms great classrooms into “fiscal alligators” that ravage funding pools. Let’s take a closer look at one big-ticket item: the display system.
A few assumptions
Until digital wallpaper is perfected, there is no getting around the need for a projected image in a classroom or conference room with more than twenty seats or so.
Integral to learning (and dominating every aspect of our lives), the big-picture genie cannot be put back into the bottle. In the near future, expect to find large digital displays everywhere.
For text to be readable, the height of a projected image must be at least one-sixth the distance to the farthest viewer (one-fifth is even better). No one takes binoculars to class unless they’re on a bird watching field trip.
For any image to be easily readable, it must offer sufficient contrast (black text on white background) and color clarity. A bright projector (greater than 3500 ANSI lumens) is needed. No one ever complains that the projected image is too bright. No one should have to dim the lights while teaching unless they’re teaching 20th-Century photo processing.
It is unclear whether flat panels offer greater practical longevity than projectors, despite manufacturers’ claims to the contrary. Let’s play it safe and assume they also have a useful life of about four or five years.
DVI is not going to solve all our problems. 99.9% of the classroom systems currently in place utilize analog video processing. Most laptops in service still have VGA (analog) video outputs. Hoping to solve a plumbing compatibility problem withyet more plumbing seems counter-intuitive and costly.