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College Smart Room Upgrade Cuts Costs and Adds Functionality with ViewSonic ViewBoard Interactive Displays

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College Smart Room Upgrade Cuts Costs and Adds Functionality with ViewSonic ViewBoard Interactive Displays
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THE CHALLENGE:

  • Upgrade display technology in 140 Smart Room classrooms

  • Deploy a more cost-effective and up-to-date solution

Back when DVDs were still a common media source, Trinity Valley Community College added 140 Smart Rooms to facilitate simplified digital instruction. Around 500 square feet, with rows of desks for seating 25-30 students, these spaces included a mounted projector, built-in projector screen, podium-based PC, and document camera, all connected with Extron switching equipment. Instructors could walk into any room, hook up their laptop, plug in a USB drive, or use the existing PC (with integrated DVD player), press a button at the switch box, and – voila – the projector and laptop turn on, the screen descends, and they’re ready to go.

Fast forward to 2018, when Myles Pennington, TVCC director of media support services, was looking to upgrade these rooms to support current digital standards.

“We needed to go from SD to HD and needed to upgrade the hardware to support the latest software,” he said. “But continuing with the Extron-centered projection system would cost around fifteen thousand dollars per room. We’re a fiscally conservative organization and I wasn’t surprised when that didn’t get approved.”

Pennington needed to find a way to meet instructor needs at a lower cost. For guidance, he reached out to TVCC reseller partner ProComputing.

THE SOLUTION:

  • ViewSonic® IFP8650 ViewBoard® interactive flat panel displays

  • ViewSonic® VPC25-W53-O1 slot-in PCs

  • ViewSonic® VB-EBM-001 e-Box motorized mobile carts

  • ViewSonic® 24-inch ID2455 touch displays

A big fan of ViewSonic products, their ProComputing rep suggested that Pennington look at ViewSonic® ViewBoard® interactive displays. Pennington was impressed, and set up a demo for the college’s vice president of instruction and department chairs. They were quickly blown away, said Pennington.

“The ViewSonic presenter started by saying, ‘the first thing that people usually ask me is how durable is this thing,’” said Pennington. “And he was right, I was concerned about that. In my experience LED TVs can easily break. He dispelled that concern right away by walking up to the ViewBoard and punching it with his knuckle, saying ‘you’re not going to hurt this thing.’”

The audience was wowed by the quality of the 4K images and the responsiveness of the 20 touchpoints, along with how easy it was to navigate between the browser, annotation tools, and other functions.

“I went into it with a high opinion of the ViewSonic brand,” said Pennington. “I cut my teeth in the graphics world, and ViewSonic was known for premium graphic arts products. So I was glad that everyone in the room was sold after seeing the demo.”

Of course, liking the solution wouldn’t be enough to get it approved. Cost was still a critical factor. Pennington and his ProComputing rep ran the numbers. The price tag for each full solution – an 86-inch ViewSonic ViewBoard IFP8652 interactive display; a ViewSonic VPC25-W53-O1 slot-in PC to deliver added processing power and a Windows experience; and a ViewSonic VB-EBM-001 e-Box® motorized height-adjust mobile cart, fully assembled and ready to roll into the rooms added up to around $6K.

“That price difference was huge,” said Pennington. “With our existing system, it was going to cost $15K per room. Considering that we planned to upgrade 140 rooms, the savings for the college would be around $1.26 million.”

For the past five years, TVCC has been purchasing the ViewSonic ViewBoard display solution in batches as funding allowed, for a current total of 91 units. As of this writing, Pennington is awaiting signoff to purchase another 10, and will continue to do so until all rooms are up to date. After that, the plan calls for lifecycle upgrades every 5-7 years.

RESULTS:

  • The college saved $9K per upgrade, for a total savings of $1.2 million across 140 classrooms

  • The mobile carts enable efficient resource sharing, including use in conference rooms

  • Instructors love the ease and added functionality of the interactive displays

  • Student engagement has increased and the up-to-date interactive technology aligns with student expectations

  • Maintenance time and costs have decreased, improving efficiency for the media support services team

From a fiscal perspective, the ViewSonic ViewBoard solution was a huge success for TVCC. From an engagement perspective, said Pennington, it has been equally successful.

“Students were used to seeing this type of technology in their K-12 classrooms, and used to using touchscreen tech. Before we upgraded to the ViewBoard displays we would hear them ask why we didn’t have the latest technology,” said Pennington. “Now we do, and they love it. It’s essentially a giant Microsoft Surface and with it the instructors are engaging students more than ever before.”

Importantly, instructors find the ViewBoard solution just as simple to use as the older system, walking into the room and easily pulling up their content. While some instructors simply use the ViewBoard to present notes and other basic content, said Pennington, power users leverage the many functions offered by the interactive displays.

“For example, they’ll access online software like MathLabs, display content from websites, show videos, or load learning apps related to their subject matter,” said Pennington. “Often, they’ll divide up the screen, with the complementary content on one side, their notes on the other. Plus, they can annotate on top of everything using the whiteboarding tools.”

The mobility of the solution allowed for easy resource sharing, and the college now uses the high-visibility 86-inch ViewSonic ViewBoard displays to facilitate more impactful meetings across several conference rooms.

“Never before have we had such a high level of display support for our conference rooms,” said Pennington. “The quality of our Zoom meetings has increased tremendously. No more washed-out images or needing to connect a separate computer, and presenters can leave the lights on. We provide a wireless keyboard and mouse and presenters can connect to the ViewBoard PC wirelessly or use the integrated ViewSonic vCast to throw their content onto the big screen.”

From his team’s perspective, Pennington couldn’t be happier with the ViewSonic ViewBoard solution. Thrilled that it cost-effectively met their users’ needs, they are likewise pleased with the solution’s limited maintenance demands compared to the projector-based system. Pennington is currently working with TVCC’s network support services team to expand the use of the centralized management provided by the integrated ViewSonic Manager™ software.

“It is really awesome management software, and it will be useful to remotely power up units for pushing out Windows updates,” said Pennington. “If we didn’t have the centralized management, we would have to have Ethernet cables on all devices, which is expensive and less flexible.”

Responding to an ask from instructors that love using the ViewBoard display, but prefer to directly face their students, Pennington is currently piloting the ViewSonic 24-inch ID2455 touch display.