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Streamlining and Simplifying Education Technology

Published: 2023-07-27

In Hall Technologies, we find the nexus of two major industry trends: the continued ascendance of the education vertical and the drive for AV businesses to reposition themselves as solution providers. Hall Technologies, ever since rebranding in January 2021, has heavily leaned into being a solutions-focused organization. “We want to be the embodiment of providing solutions,” Hal Truax, VP of sales and marketing, declares. And, in the education vertical, that means being responsive to independent school districts and consultants’ requests to partner with a single brand. “Their hope — their wish — is to get as much technology in a room as possible provided by one manufacturer,” Truax explains. 

Accountability is Key 

It boils down to accountability. According to Truax, in multi-vendor education environments, it’s entirely too common for manufacturers to point at each other when something goes wrong. “By the time they figure it out, the school may have gone two, three, four [or] five days with the room not being up to snuff, and nobody’s taking ownership,” he laments. In a Hall Technologies-centered classroom, accountability is unquestioned. “We own the issue,” Truax states plainly. 

Happily, Hall Technologies-centered rooms rarely have issues, as the company prides itself on pre-engineering its solutions. An end-to-end Hall Technologies classroom system is, of course, guaranteed to flawlessly interoperate, thus minimizing failure points, integrator service calls and unhappy educators. Demonstrating the risks of the alternative, Truax recalls an incident last year when a display manufacturer — a longtime partner — updated its USB transport technology. Naturally, Hall Technologies had no visibility into that update, but it caused an interoperability problem. That’s why the company encourages consultants, clients and integrators alike to consider the end-to-end approach. “We’re going to come to the market prepared,” Truax promises. “Nothing’s going to blindside us.” 

Hall Technologies’ method of delivering that single-source solution is the Nexus Connect product ecosystem, which brings together a range of fully interoperable products to deliver customer-focused, holistic solutions. The ecosystem enables seamless integration of system control, signal management and distribution, cables, peripherals and interactive flat panels (IFPs). “We wanted everything to be pre-engineered and pre-tested, down to the cables,” Truax explains. Naturally, the education vertical — already a real strength for Hall Technologies — was the perfect choice for the Nexus Connect rollout. Indeed, right now, Truax and his team are creating simplified, bundled solutions that will enable education clients to order a system based simply on number of students and room size. 

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Nexus Connect Ecosystem Compatibility 

Although Hall Technologies is an end-to-end solutions provider, Truax and the team recognize that, when it comes to particular components, some clients have brand loyalty or existing partnerships. That’s why, on August 1, the company launched a program inviting manufacturers to submit products for Nexus Connect ecosystem certification. The company plans to list certified manufacturers/models on the Hall Technologies website for integrators, consultants and clients’ benefit. “We want a better work environment,” Truax declares. “The more interoperability there is — the more plug-and-play that really happens — everybody’s going to be happier.” With Nexus Connect ecosystem certification, Hall Technologies retains complete accountability as outcome guarantor. “[Stakeholders will] have our assurance that they’ll work together,” he says of certified products. 

A particular product getting a lot of attention since InfoComm 2023 has been Hall Vision, a family of 75-inch and 86-inch IFPs perfect for education settings. They boast 40 points of touch, front and back I/Os, and, as of this month, Android 13. What’s more, Hall Vision ships with an attached, UL-approved mount; thus, hanging the IFP merely requires integrators to put up the wallplate. In light of these impressive specs and this efficiency-boosting simplicity, it’s unsurprising that integrators and clients have greeted Hall Technologies’ entrance into the category warmly. According to Truax, the company hopes to “open up” the market, allowing more integrators and school districts to seize on the increasing demand for IFPs. 

Helping Integrators, Achieving Simplicity 

Hall Technologies’ remarkable success is creditable both to its tight alignment with integrator needs — after all, both Truax and VP of technology Ken Eagle worked for integration businesses — and to its commitment to simplicity. “We’ve walked a mile in those shoes,” Truax says with a smile, adding that Hall Technologies recognizes the value of increasing integrator productivity and obviating service calls. “If they can get into a room, plug everything in, light it up and it turns on, they can go to the next room and the next room and the next room,” he adds. Meanwhile, facility managers, IT administrators and educators also get what they want: automated, intuitive, stress-free technology deployments. 

“We want to maximize the end-user satisfaction level,” Truax concludes. “That’s what really needs to happen.” With Hall Technologies building out its end-to-end Nexus Connect ecosystem, while also certifying products from other vendors, the Texas-based company is doing its part to foster accountability, sell solutions and ensure excellent education outcomes. 

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