Portland State University

Panasonic Technology Solutions for Higher Education
Challenge
High lamp and filter maintenance demands and LCD panel alignment issues with PSU's classroom projectors were causing classroom downtime.

Solution
Standardize general access classrooms with projectors that require minimal maintenance and offer high Roi.

Result
Panasonic projectors with longer lamp and filter replacement cycles have drastically minimized maintenance and classroom downtime, saving the university time and money.


Portland State University (PSU) is located in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon. Home to nearly 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students, PSU prides itself on enhancing, “...the intellectual, social, cultural and economic qualities of urban life by providing access throughout the life span to a quality liberal education for undergraduates and an appropriate array of professional and graduate programs...”

PSU views technology as a key to enriching the lives of both students and faculty. The university is always looking to update its classrooms and lecture halls with reliable projectors to enhance the learning experience. After realizing the existing devices were not performing to their desired standards, the Instructional Technology Services department decided to move forward with a projector-refresh initiative. The team noticed an increase in the number of projectors that required replacement lamps after only 1,700 hours of use, needed clean filters after only 100 hours of use and had constant problems with image quality because the LCD panels were not aligned properly. In addition, there was a noticeable increase in classroom downtime as instructors were often troubleshooting projector issues with time that would have more effectively been spent teaching. This ongoing maintenance work forced the PSU Instructional Technology Services team to interrupt class time to replace projector lamps and clean or replace projector filters. When the PSU team would call the projector manufacturer's customer service department for assistance with panel alignment issues, rather than helping solve the problems, the manufacturer just sent new devices. These replacements would later suffer from similar problems. The team grew increasingly frustrated with the manufacturer and its poor customer service.

With more than 20 years of experience, Doug McCartney used his knowledge to lead the institution's Instructional Technology Services department and help determine the appropriate technology for a variety of campus environments. McCartney immediately decided to launch a three-year technology refresh program to remove the old general access classroom projectors and replace them with devices better suited to the university. Specifically, he aimed to decrease maintenance time by installing projectors with lens shift functions for freedom of installation on campus, longer lamp life and reliable filters. Along with these performance features, McCartney wanted to standardize the projectors in the general access classrooms in order to reduce the instructors' technology learning curve. McCartney also looked for a projector manufacturer that was willing to go the extra mile with a responsive and effective customer service operation. Ultimately, McCartney was looking to deploy projectors that would lower maintenance time, increase the university's return on investment (ROI) and reduce its total cost of ownership (TCO).

After a thorough evaluation, McCartney and his team chose Panasonic for the university's projector refresh.

"The sales team at Panasonic did a great job explaining the products and collaborating with us to determine which projectors would work for PSU's venues—from small conference rooms to large auditoriums and lecture halls," said McCartney. "As the first stages of the rollout began, we immediately felt confident in our decision to work with Panasonic."

In the past four years, McCartney and his team have installed 136 Panasonic projectors in PSU general access classrooms, including PT-FW300s, PT-DW5100s, PT-D5700s and one PT-DW10000 model.

After deploying Panasonic projectors, McCartney and his team realized immediate performance improvements. The new devices provide the flexibility of layout that they were looking for. The projectors have zoom lens/lens shift capabilities, allowing projected images to be moved without having to physically remount the unit. Rather than needing to purchase new lamps after 12 months of use, McCartney and the IT team now replace them after approximately 18 months. With an average lamp-replacement cost of $450, the university is saving more than $60,000, which amounts to 50% in savings over a three-year period.

Prior to installing Panasonic's devices, McCartney and his team cleaned projector filters on a monthly basis in each of the 136 general access classrooms. Since this took 10 minutes per projector, this resulted in 272 hours per year spent on projector filter maintenance alone. Because all of the Panasonic projectors deployed have Auto Cleaning Filters or Eco Filters, McCartney and his team have now completely eliminated projector filter maintenance.

"We constantly found ourselves being taken away from our pressing projects to clean projector filters," said McCartney. "The Panasonic projectors have filters that do not need a lot of attention. On average, we only check the Panasonic projectors twice per year, and the hours spent working on the projectors have dropped significantly. This is a welcomed change, not only for our team, but also for the professors and students who now focus solely on education and learning—without the distraction of projector malfunctions."

Finally, in working with Panasonic, the Instructional Technology Services team at Portland State University immediately experienced improved customer service. "The Panasonic representatives we work with now are very knowledgeable and answer questions thoroughly, which helps our team tremendously," said McCartney. "We rarely need them, but when we do, we receive excellent service."

The Panasonic projectors have been a welcome addition to Portland State University. The university currently deploys Panasonic projectors in 30 departmental rooms and more than 99 percent of the general access classrooms (136 of 137 classrooms). As the rollout continues, the team is excited to make Panasonic projectors the standard at PSU. "We believe our move to Panasonic was the right one for this university," said McCartney. "The projectors we now use are reliable and have saved us time and money. Being able to reduce maintenance hours has been crucial. Now, my team can focus on technology innovation without having to constantly worry about checking on lecture-room projectors."

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