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University Business, Jun 2008

It's a win-win situation for trees and printing budgets. <b>Hewlett-Packard</b>'s <em>HP Forms and Document Automation Solution</em> is a software application aimed at moving organizations away from preprinted forms and making them capable of electronically creating and delivering professional forms and documents as needed. Data sent by an end user is analyzed by the application and automatically assigned to an appropriate template and method of delivery. A security component protects sensitive information during printing and delivery processes. There are two versions-one that's server-based, and another that's printer-based. A printer-based solution starts around $600. A server-based solution can begin at $3,000 and run up to $10,000. Learn more at

<b>Sharp</b>'s <em>Digital Signage Software Package</em> consists of two PC-compatible applications that efficiently manage the workflow in creating, assembling, and distributing information displays. The <em>PN-SS01 digital signage software</em> ($1,700) allows for programming, delivery, and display of content on a single screen. Compatible with many multimedia sources, it can program digital posters, billboards, full-motion video information, animation, and real-time news and weather reports. The optional <em>PN-SV01 viewer software</em> ($340) accepts programming from the PN-SS01 on a USB flash drive for remote playback on additional PCs and LCD monitors. It enhances its counterpart by displaying different content at various times and to different audiences and allowing multiple frames to be displayed on one screen. The package comes with up to four adjustable layout frames and up to two adjustable message tickers for displaying either horizontally or vertically. Visit

<em>Wimba Pronto</em> by <b>Wimba</b>, an instant messaging platform for academia, creates an online informal learning setting to foster more student communication and collaboration. Designed specifically to connect students with peers and their professors, the customizable system automatically populates the names of classmates and faculty by their courses. Users can interact away from the classroom by creating their profiles, collaborating with classmates, and participating in online office hours through queued chats. Instructors can control the manner of IMs and even use it to conduct tutoring. The platform is sold as an annual license on an FTE basis and starts at $10,000. Learn more at

<em>OnAlert</em> from <b>Inova Solutions</b> is a digital mass notification display for text, time, and date that is visible at distances of over 100 feet. It provides messages in an emergency and meets common fire and emergency codes and standards. It can use either an IM style-software program or an Emergency E-mail Interface application for managing emergency and informational messaging. OnAlert is powered by standard Power over Ethernet network components, using the same technology that powers standard IP components. No AC power is required; a centralized network manages the displays. Depending on size, the price per display is from $1,500 to $2,000. Discounts for higher volumes are available. Visit

Students flock to Facebook as a social outlet, so why not combine it with their academic lives. <b>Blackboard</b> has launched <em>Blackboard Sync</em>, a student-centered application that enables users to obtain class-related information while logged on to their Facebook accounts. Students can find and connect with fellow classmates and use their accounts to create and join online and offline networks and groups to collaborate and study together. Users receive information from only the courses they are registered in; that information cannot be shared. The application is free to Facebook users attending IHEs that are Blackboard clients. Visit

<b>Toshiba</b> has added to its Satellite Pro family of laptops, geared for mobile professionals. Laptops in one series, the <em>Satellite Pro M300</em>, start at $999. Designed to aid in working smart and traveling light, the laptops in this series have a portable design with a 14.1-inch TruBrite display for strong picture quality and plenty of room for working with spreadsheets or other business applications. Certain models include 802.11 a/g/n wireless and a 1.3 megapixel webcam with built-in microphone. Also new, the <em>Satellite Pro U400</em> series offers a 13.3-inch diagonal widescreen TruBrite display. Along with Intel 802.11 a/b/g wireless, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam with built-in microphone, this series contains Bluetooth v2.1. For added security, the series includes a fingerprint reader and a 3D accelerometer hard drive protection system. The notebooks start at $1,049. Check them out at

<b>H2O Applied Technologies</b> is now offering its <em>Utility Expense Reduction Program</em> to IHEs. Through the program, institutions can reduce energy usage by installing new, more energy efficient equipment. Requiring no capital or use of debt capacity from the IHE, the program is structured as an off-balance sheet transaction. First, a detailed audit of utilities such as electricity is conducted. Following the audit, H2O uses its own money to replace or improve equipment to achieve energy savings. In return, the company will receive a percentage of the actual measured energy savings over the course of six years, plus continue to keep track of the IHE's energy usage. Visit

<b>SMART Technologies</b> and <b>John Wiley Sons Canada Ltd.</b> have co-authored <em>SMART Board Interactive Whiteboards for Dummies</em>, a reference manual designed to enhance one's personal knowledge of SMART Board interactive whiteboards. It guides newcomers through interactive whiteboarding and furthers experienced pros in their usage. This book also explores Notebook collaborative learning software, the application used with all of these specific whiteboards. The guide costs $4.99, and bulk discounts are available. Visit

<b>3M</b>'s <em>Vikuiti Super Close Projection System SCP712</em> has a modular approach to allow users to build what they need for individual applications. The system can be installed as a wall mount projector, with a full connectivity input/output module and a digital annotation module to turn any dry-erase board into an interactive whiteboard or multimedia system. It provides short-throw capability, with a 60-inch to 80-inch diagonal screen image from an adjustable, telescoping mount arm. When the projector is mounted, its angle eliminates presenter shadows and moves heat and fan noise out of the way. A folding arm can move into a closed, optionally lockable position when not in use. The system can be ordered in various other modular combinations. The complete system lists for around $3,456; distributor prices may vary. Visit

<b>Sony</b> has four new entry-level LCD front projectors in its VPL-E series. They range from the <em>VPL-EX50</em>, which offers 2500 lumens, to the <em>VPL-EW5</em> (a widescreen version), the <em>VPL-EX5</em>, and the <em>VPL-ES5</em>, all with 2000 lumens each. The VPL-EX50 and VPL-EX5 offer native XGA 1024x768 resolutions. The VPL-ES5 features SVGA 800x600 resolution, and the VPL-EW5, a WXGA 1280x800 resolution. Each projector requires very little tilt adjustment and comes with a short focal-length lens for large-screen projection from a very short distance. All have a control panel key lock, a password authentication system, and a built-in security bar and Kensington lock and offer a variety of interfaces. Three contain BrightEra technology, which makes panels more resistant to UV ray damage and increases light resistance. The VPL-EW5 contains a high-definition multimedia interface. Prices are as follows: VPL-EX50, $1,270; VPLEX5, $1,050; VPL-ES5, $910; and VPL-EW5, $1,410. Visit

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