With a full-time staff of five AV specialists in its IT department, Western Carolina University designs, installs, and maintains an AV equipment pool spanning almost 400 learning spaces. To support such a large equipment pool with such a small cohort of technicians, WCU instituted a plan starting in 2006 to standardise its AV system designs on Extron products whenever possible. With standardisation, they’ve achieved tangible money-saving benefits, including seamless designs, better interoperability, more efficient maintenance, easier upgrades, and a consistent AV experience for users in every room.
“We use the gear; we’ve tested the gear; we’ve seen the persistence of Extron in providing solutions for our unique AV needs. If something works and I can afford it, then I’m obviously going to go that route,” says William Frady, WCU’s Director of Instructional Technology/Desktop Services. “I consider Extron a partner, not a vendor. Sure, Extron products work well – as they must. But most important to me is the respect and mutual trust built over many years.”
The AV system in most of WCU’s 110 standard classrooms is centred around an IN1608 xi Scaling Presentation Switcher. With eight inputs supporting a variety of video and audio signals, an integrated control processor, and an integrated audio amplifier, this switcher provides the flexibility to fulfil most classroom AV needs. AV program audio and the instructor’s voice come through ceiling mounted Flat Field speakers. Users control the classroom AV through an intuitive TouchLink Pro touchpanel interface. Identical AV systems across all classrooms allow professors to confidently use AV in any room. Technicians are so familiar with the systems, they can set them up and troubleshoot them rapidly. And spares inventories are greatly reduced. These advantages are perpetuated in the AV design of the latest addition to the campus, the Apodaca Science Building.