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The Connected Campus: The Cost Effective Learning Environment

Remote management of A/V tech at Texas Woman’s University saved money, maximized staff.
University Business, June 2012

This second of the three-part Connected Campus webinars features a case study from Texas Woman’s University, which used remote management and monitoring systems to achieve significant savings in equipment and energy costs, more efficiently manage staff time and improve the benefits of technology in classrooms and lecture halls.

Jackie Deluna, Strategic Education Marketing, AMX

Jackie Deluna
Strategic Education Marketing
AMX Corporation

The Global Education Alliance program recently conducted a series of roundtables on campuses from coast to coast. The alliance was created to provide universities with the opportunity to communicate, to collaborate, to share best practices and to reach out to one another for advice and help on installations.

During the Connected Campus tour, we sat with IT and AV staffs to learn their current needs and plans for future-proofing their digital campuses. They shared how they are looking to enhance and support the user experience with cost effective, scalable and stable solutions that centralize current technologies, but also adapt to emerging trends.

A common theme was the cost-effective learning environment that is sustainable and future-proof, but that also provides a return on investment. A connected campus is more than just efficiency and convenience; it also generates significant savings, which is really important.

There are three key ingredients to a cost-effective learning environment:

  1. Centralized management —Using a resource like AMX Resource Management Suite really helps to ensure equipment uptime, reduces energy use and extends device and bulb life. It also helps maximize staff efficiency and provides critical reporting. RMS Enterprise is a scalable client-server-based system. The rich web app offers new widget-based dashboard enhancements and navigation. All of this is to simplify the operations support and security on the campus.
  2. Future proofing investments. We are very proud of the new Enova products that combine all components you need to control any environment all in one box. They are true game changers. One box replaces a large rack of boxes and cables and dramatically simplifies AV distribution and control.
  3. Energy management solutions. AV equipment wastes energy. A typical rack consumes 400 to 500 watts of power. Enova products reduce energy usage both in operation and in standby.

When all is said and done, standardization —as Casey discusses in her presentation —is key. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this. University sees significant cost savings in training and support, adaptation among users, and ease of management.

We are really excited to hear how Texas Woman’s University utilized the RMS and achieved significant savings in projector bulbs, energy costs, and staff time by implementing remote monitoring and management that controls all devices in all classrooms.

Casey Foulds, Instructional Operations Systems Administrator, Texas Woman's University

Casey Foulds
Instructional Operations
Systems Administrator
Texas Woman’s University

In 2003, a typical classroom install would cost up to $30,000 per room. It was typical for us to have a project list of 20 instructional spaces that would need some kind of technology consideration. We were moving from a rolling cart system to permanent installations with control systems. It was difficult to get funding.

While the rest of the world was going green, we were going blue. You could drive through our campus at night and see blue lights glowing through the windows from all the projectors that had been left on. Despite the signs we put on every projector, it was disappointing to realize how much money we were spending on lamps because people didn’t turn the projectors off.

Technology problems in the classroom detract from learning time. Here’s an example: the projector lamp blows. The instructor will send a student down the hall to the secretary and ask to call IT. We get the call and send someone to the classroom. By the time we get there, assess the situation, find the equipment we need and replace the lamp, the instructor may have lost most of the class time.

As we moved forward, we wanted our classrooms to be intelligent, not just smart. We looked at what other campuses were doing and came up with a list of action steps:

  • Standardize
  • Innovate
  • Integrate
  • Support

We assessed how our learning spaces were used. We set a goal for every space to be manageable with the right equipment and with customized touch panels. The space had to be user friendly because you never knew who would be using it.

We took the time to crunch some numbers and be able to show key benefits and cost savings to the administration, including:

  • How much we would save in lamp costs and staff time if we could control the projectors remotely and make sure they were turned off.
  • How much money and time would be saved by providing the same equipment in each classroom.
  • How much innovation would benefit instruction and our overall reputation. There’s a “Wow!” factor.

When we received the OK to move forward, we had several key priorities that included projector control, remote management, a client communication module and deep reporting capabilities.

To meet these priorities, we chose AMX’s RMS solution in 2004. We were confident in the dependability of the products themselves. We also liked the idea that AMX integrates with many third-party providers.

Every day, the RMS Hotlist shows me on a single screen the status of every asset including what is working and what is not. We are only one click away from a detailed description of everything going on with each device. I can see class schedules for a room so scheduling maintenance will not conflict with instructional time.

Support was another major area of saving. We saved more than $20,000 a year by managing lamps in projectors effectively. The RMS’ ability to show utilization also helped us make better decisions about what to replace. And another $12,000 was saved annually by power consumption control.

Today, our team has three full-time staff to manage 150 classrooms on the Denton campus, as well as remote management in Dallas and Houston. Users in remote locations can tap a help desk button on the touch panel to communicate with us. The help desk button is a huge success on our campus. The help desk has five minutes to assist remotely. If they can’t solve the problem in five minutes, they will notify us and we’ll send someone if we have to.

Our core values have been maintained while our capabilities were significantly enhanced: Faculty drive our technology and the administration is on board with innovation.

To view this web seminar in its entirety, visit