Oregon State University

Oregon State University Reduces Costs and Increases Reliability with Panasonic Projectors and Display

Challenge
Projectors and displays throughout the Oregon State University campus were underperforming, causing classroom downtime and nearly $50,000 in maintenance per year.

Solution
Oregon State University upgraded 80% of classrooms with 244 Panasonic projectors, and Panasonic plasmas were deployed to other facilities throughout campus.

Result
Students enjoy a better classroom experience, and OSU is saving $20,000 per year in lamp replacements and maintenance. The savings are expected to increase as OSU upgrades its campus to include even more Panasonic Solutions.
As the state’s land-grant university, Oregon State University (OSU) prides itself on being the best in education. The university, located in Corvallis, Oregon, believes in meeting challenges, solving problems and turning ideas into “reality through discovery, innovation and application.” To further showcase its success in education, OSU is the only institution in the state to have earned the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation, awarded to institutions with “very high research activity.”

In order to maintain its status as one of the best public universities on the West Coast, OSU needed to keep its classrooms and lecture halls up to date with the necessary technology to maintain and enhance the learning experience. In 2008, the OSU Classroom Technologies team, under the guidance of Rick Brand, saw the need to reconsider its projector strategy. As the Associate Director for Technical Services for OSU’s media services, Rick’s job consists of working with multiple departments, including athletics and the student union, to ensure classrooms and lecture halls are equipped with the best technology available.


ANALYZING THE SITUATION
An important part of the OSU technology revamp was upgrading the projectors and displays throughout the campus, as select existing devices were no longer performing to OSU’s high standards. Though loyal to one manufacturer for nearly a decade, Rick and his team began noticing significant challenges and issues with the devices in place. Projector-wise, maintenance hours were relatively high, as the IT team spent more than 15 minutes every week cleaning a filter and 15 minutes every three to six months changing a projector lamp in each classroom, due to short lamp life, brightness drop-off and the design of the projectors’ cooling systems. Additionally, the IT team received multiple requests from faculty members regarding remounting or readjusting projectors in order to achieve the optimal viewing experience. All in all, these issues led to classroom downtime, disrupting learning and teaching experiences. From a financial standpoint, there was a substantial amount of money allocated for replacement projector lamps — an unnecessarily high amount the university could potentially cut in half.


Various classroom displays were also in need of an upgrade due, in part, to an increased demand for video conferencing and displays with interactive overlays with touch-screen capabilities for classroom collaboration. As it stood, the displays in place were unable to support the required applications and had poor video capabilities, color depth and power consumption — all of which impacted the classroom experience. It became clear to Rick and the OSU IT team that it was time to look into alternative display solutions. Additionally, OSU was in the process of redesigning the university’s football facility and wanted state-of-the-art displays capable of showing football practices and game footage flawlessly.

FINDING THE RIGHT PARTNER
After evaluating the current technology solutions from both financial and time management perspectives, Rick and the OSU IT team chose to search for a new manufacturer. The team needed a vendor with reliable projector and display solutions that could limit total maintenance time,ultimately saving the school money. It also looked for a company with devices that would not only minimize classroom downtime, which is significant to students and teachers, but also give the university a high return on investment, as well as simplify installations and operations for Rick and his team.

“We thought it would be in our best interest to go into this technology update fresh with a new manufacturer. As part of the search, we needed solutions that would limit maintenance hours, lower our budget and keep OSU at the technology forefront.”
- Rick Brand, Associate Director for Technical Services
After researching and testing multiple devices, Rick chose Panasonic due to its reputation for having reliable projectors and displays. Upon choosing Panasonic as the university’s vendor for projectors, the IT team decided to stick with Panasonic and test out the company’s plasmas for some of OSU’s classrooms. To successfully decide on the best devices for Oregon State University, Rick and his team worked with a local Panasonic representative to select the most suitable Panasonic projectors and displays. They began the deployment in 2008.

Since the initial launch, Oregon State University has deployed 244 Panasonic projectors providing solutions for a wide range of applications, from small classrooms to large auditoriums. Devices deployed consist of PT-TW230, PT-FW300, PT-DZ6700 and PT-DZ12000 Series projectors, as well as 19 displays, including TH-50PF20U and TH-65PF20U plasma displays.

“Over 80 percent of our classrooms on campus have Panasonic projectors installed,” said Rick. “Our ultimate goal is to standardize on Panasonic projectors throughout the campus and make sure our classrooms are equipped with reliable displays to enhance the interactive experience.”

MEASURING RESULTS
Upon deploying Panasonic devices, there have been noticeable changes. The IT team eliminated the number of overheating problems thanks to the new projectors’ auto-cleaning and micro-cut filters, which ultimately improved operation and reliability. Now, rather than cleaning the filters once a month to ensure there is no overheating, the IT team checks and cleans the filters each school semester. Additionally, the new projectors brought an ease of installation to the IT team, as it no longer needed to constantly remount the devices to accurately project images. The new PT-FW430U projectors have a 2x zoom lens and H/V lens shift capability, which enables projected images to be moved without having to physically remount the projector. Also, compared to the old devices with 1,000 to 1,500 hours of lamp life, these Panasonic projectors have lamp lives of up to 5,000 hours.

The launch of Panasonic’s professional displays has also been successful. After the initial deployment of the plasmas, Rick and the OSU IT team noticed an improvement in both video and presentation applications. Due to the success of the plasmas within classrooms, the IT team also chose to put Panasonic plasmas in OSU’s football team’s practice facility. The new devices allowed the players and coaches to view the fast-moving game and practice footage with superb clarity free from motion jitters, a recurring problem with past devices.

“Class time lost due to equipment failure cannot be recovered, so we strive to minimize any downtime in classes for faculty and students,”said Don DeMello, OSU’s Classroom Technologies Coordinator. With the previous solution, the university set aside a budget of $45,000 for lamp replacements alone. Once it brought in Panasonic projectors, the IT team cut the budget for lamps by more than 50%. Overall, the university was able to save $20,000 annually since choosing Panasonic for its projector and display solutions, and it looks to continue saving money as OSU brings in additional Panasonic projectors and displays. The Panasonic deployments ultimately maximized OSU’s return on investment and minimized total cost of ownership.

“We are confident in our decision to use Panasonic as our technology solution for projectors and displays,” said Rick. “Since deploying these devices, we’ve saved money, which is a plus as higher education budgets are restricted and have no room for errors. Plus, we’ve been able to cut classroom inactivity, which our professors and students appreciate. These devices are very low maintenance, with an ease of installation, flawless video playback and minimal parts replacement. We always appreciate solutions that are reliable, and we think Panasonic is a great choice from all angles within Oregon State University.”



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