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Towson University

Towson University is the second largest public university in Maryland. Located outside Baltimore, the four-year school has more than 22,000 students who are enrolled in a range of disciplines.

 

When Towson University opened a new liberal arts building in 2011 – the first new structure in 30 years – the Technology Services team wanted to make sure that their AV investments would pay off for the future. One key priority they identified was the reduction of projector outages. With classes running continuously for about 10 hours a day, there is little time to do repairs. What’s more, outages are immensely disruptive to classes. So when the team learned about Panasonic’s line of lampless projectors, they saw great opportunity to make sure that classes have more continuity through more reliable technology.

Challenges

To reduce classroom disruption due to AV outages and repairs with reliable, low-maintenance technology in a new liberal arts education building.

Solutions

Towson University selected and installed Panasonic PT-RZ370 laser/LED hybrid projector in the classrooms. The no-filter design can run up to 20,000 hours without maintenance, providing increased classroom continuity through more reliable technology and an immense future payoff on their AV investment.

Results

By implementing the Panasonic PT-RZ370 projector, Towson University was able to free up staff for more critical tasks, since preventative maintenance was no longer needed. They also received feedback from the staff and students that the images and videos were much more clear and detailed than previously experienced. After the successful implementation of the liberal arts building, Towson University purchased seven additional RZ Series projectors to implement in additional classrooms.

In 2013, Towson decided to install the laser/LED hybrid light source projector, the PT-RZ370. The 3,500 lumen HD projector has 1080p resolution and is extraordinarily low-maintenance given its no filter design. In fact, the projector can run for 20,000 hours without maintenance. Today, Towson has 103 PT-RZ370 projectors installed in classrooms across campus.

“Aside from not having to change filters and lamps, we were excited by the reduction of startup and shutdown times. This is very important between classes, when teachers and students would be forced to wait quite a long time. With these projectors, we have instant on and off,” said Michael Bachman, Director of Information Technology. “Feedback from teachers has been incredibly positive. Every minute spent waiting on technology is time they could spend teaching students: those minutes really do add up.”

In FY2015, of the school’s total reported technological problems, only 7.6% account for projector-related issues, down further from the low 10.6% for FY2014.

The Technology Services team was also delighted by how much less maintenance the projectors required. “Previously, we needed to do preventative maintenance twice a year. In the rooms where we have the PT-RZ370s, we no longer have to do that, freeing up time that can be used for more critical tasks,” said Brian Raley, Instructional Services Engineer at Towson University.

What’s more, the school tracks issues with technology across the campus: “The number of projector-related issues is negligible.” Raley noted that last year – out of 1,270 total technology problems reported to the Technology Services team – only 2.6 percent were lamp related while 5.0 percent were other projection issues (such as source and sizing).

Cindy Davis, manager of classroom technology, explained that the faculty were excited by the projectors’ output as well: “The 1080p resolution means that images and videos are much more clear and detailed. We’ve gotten feedback that students and teachers alike are impressed by the stellar image quality.”

The projectors serve an average class size of 25-40 students, and stream everything from basic PowerPoint presentations to – more commonly – video streaming and Internet content.

When the next-generation, fully laser PT-RZ670 projector was announced last year, the school purchased seven. With 6,500 lumens and the same a lamp- and filter-free design as the PT-RZ370, these projectors were ideal for rooms with more ambient light.

“Installation of the PT-RZ670 projectors was a seamless experience,” said Davis. “The PT-RZ670 easily fit into existing infrastructure and allowed us to minimize cosmetic and architectural adjustments. In fact, we didn’t even have to change the pipe location for the projector mount.”

Still, adds Raley, “for us it’s not just about a simple, quantifiable number in terms of dollars saved. We wanted a solution to faculty headaches and technology disruptions, and the projectors were able to deliver that in a way that makes our classes more efficient and teaching more effective.”

In fact, Raley estimates that this reduced maintenance will save the school approximately $12,000 per year in service costs.

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