In our integration industry, we often talk about how Millennials in the workplace elevate demand for interactive meeting room and omnipresent technology. That same argument can be applied (and amplified) to the higher education market.
Collaboration is nothing new for college students. Walk into any university’s student union, cafeteria or even a nice area outdoors and you’ll find the same thing — students gathered together while looking at a device. It could be a phone, a laptop or a tablet. They could be talking about a project, an exam they’re preparing for or they could be looking at Snapchat. The point is that they’re constantly collaborating on-screen. It’s what comes naturally.
Interactive solutions are nothing new. The kids that 10 years ago we joked were all-too-familiar with touchscreens are coming of age in college. They learn differently. They communicate differently. Their expectations when it comes to completely intuitive, always available technology, are far different.
The opportunity for integrators and consultants is to provide continually evolving solutions for these forward-thinking customers. It’s a good problem to have.
Out with Lamps, In with Lasers
“It has been our experience that lamp technology has been the single most common point of failure in a projector. With the rapid evolution of solid state illuminations systems, most higher-ed customers are demanding laser illuminated displays. The projector cost is a little higher up front, but the cost of ownership savings is huge considering in most applications the solid state illumination will last several years. That means in a clean environment, the projectors can be considered essentially maintenance free. As LED wall technology evolves, we expect higher-ed customers with larger budgets to begin to migrate toward that technology.” —Chuck Collins, Digital Projection
“We’re seeing an increase in universities creating self-serve environments for their students. Students are now able to watch lectures on-demand, book conference/study rooms from their phones and take over digital signage displays for impromptu collaboration sessions. It’s all about providing convenience to the students.”
—Bill McIntosh, Synergy Media Group
Challenge to Evolve with Students
“Higher education has a growing need to engage students who were born into the world of digital devices. Higher-education institutions look to engage students through a multiplatform digital approach: These technology deployments are evolving to more ubiquitous digital experiences. It’s all about messaging and communicating to the student population through technology modes they choose. A big movement toward large format direct view LED displays in common areas [with] high traffic is underway. We are seeing institutions bring student groups together for an on-campus experience driven by technology; I believe the genesis is the ongoing war against online education. The campus experience must be unique and memorable — and unique technology deployments offer something to the student they can’t receive online.” —Nathan Remmes, NanoLumens
“The higher-education market continues to be one of the most dynamic markets we [Advanced] participate in. We see many institutions attempting to transform their classrooms into dynamic learning environments that are interactive, collaborative, and easy to use. We are also seeing a major trend in integrating disparate systems across campus on one platform. The idea of networking all multimedia, environmental, and room-scheduling technology using existing IT infrastructure, and letting schools monitor and control these systems together from anywhere, is very attractive. These types of solutions save IT administrators’ time and money with easier and more efficient management of resources.” —Mark McPherson, Advanced
Demand for Flexibility
“We continue to see the demand for flexible spaces that can accommodate many different learning environments. We work with colleges and universities to provide unique solutions to an ever changing vertical. Due to the nature of this vertical, higher-education institutions will likely continue to treat technology as a necessity for curriculum that has been developed around it.”—Mike Morgan, Advanced AV