We asked Michael Peveler of AMX.
DA: With the need for school districts to economize as much as possible, energy efficiency has become key. How compatible are energy efficiency and an integrated AV system?
Peveler: Most school districts have energy policies designed to minimize the use of devices. I’ve heard everything from pulling cappuccino and coffee machines out of teachers’ classrooms to rainwater collection.
Four of the areas that cost a lot of money in schools are lighting, HVAC, projectors and computers. With an integrated system, if you go in and combine multiple systems, there isn’t one that will do all of these by itself without significant investment. But with a system that allows centralized management, we are able to communicate over the network using a centralized controller with present code and interfaces .
For instance, if I’ve got three people in the district responsible for all of the AV in 36 schools—which seems like an unrealistic ratio, but it’s not unheard of—it can be very hard. Having a system that’s truly taking advantage of the network infrastructure not only gets information to teachers but allows us to manage and monitor the activity so we can see if teachers are using the technology that’s in place, if they know how to use it effectively, and if it’s being turned on and off like it’s supposed to be.
Digital signage is another example. If you can just go online and see the statuses of all the devices and remotely turn on the ones that need to be turned on, that’s a much more cost-effective and time-effective method when most school districts are struggling to find ways to communicate to their students and parents.