• DCU lasers in on new AV future

DCU lasers in on new AV future

Dublin City University embarks on an AV transformation including the rollout of Panasonic laser projection technology 

Dublin City University (DCU) is investing just over €200m in a new campus development plan. Part of the plan is the transformation of the IT infrastructure, including the audiovisual technology in its teaching spaces.

The University is set to install the latest Panasonic laser projection technology, alongside the Crestron Digital Media Platform within each suitable teaching space, across three campuses.

The combination met a brief that had two main elements, reliable and low maintenance equipment, which would be easy to use for the presenter.

By the end of December 2017, it's expected that over 150 laser projectors will have been installed at DCU.

The Panasonic PT-RW330 laser projector was chosen for seminar rooms, whilst the PT-RW630 was chosen for the larger lecture theatres.

Part of the SOLID SHINE range, the 3,500 ANSI lumens PTRW330, delivers high levels of reliability and long-lasting brightness thanks to an LED/laser-combined light source. 

"We arranged a shootout involving Panasonic laser projectors against some lamped rivals and they just blew them away" 

The projector provides approximately 20,000 hours of operation, with no lamp or filter replacement needed.

Declan Raftery, Chief Operations Officer at DCU, said, "We have over 140 lecture and teaching spaces across three campuses. To date, we have been using old halogen technology. So we want to move from that old technology to new technology that is consistent across all three campuses and all teaching spaces. 

"The laser technology offered by Panasonic was attractive because of the quality it offers, the extremely long life and the low maintenance costs. From the University's perspective it represents a substantial reduction in the total cost of ownership.

"The feedback from the lecturers in particular has been very positive. The quality of the audiovisual technology was always a gripe. On occasions, they would go in to a lecture room first thing in the morning and a lamp had blown, causing delays in getting the teaching underway. We're now moving towards a situation where there is confidence in the technology, that it will be working and it will be high quality across all of the learning spaces." 

Dr Martin Maloney, Lecturer at the School of Communications, said, "It was great last semester when we were introduced to the new equipment and for the first few minutes we were wowed by the picture quality and everything else. Then we promptly forgot about it, and it wasn't until this semester when I went back to a room that was still using the old equipment that I realised the difference.

"The AV technology has improved the student experience and engaged their learning. Students are delighted to have the new technology in place because there was the frustration last year when the projectors didn't work, the clubs and societies are really pleased because in the evenings there isn't always someone to help resolve any problems."

McKeon Group has been contracted to upgrade the AV technologies for Dublin City University, gradually upgrading all teaching spaces across the University to the new digital platform.

Tomás Mac Eoin, Managing Director at McKeon Group, said, "With the economy in Ireland, it has been very difficult to persuade customers that the switch to laser will ultimately be more cost effective. We arranged a shootout for DCU involving Panasonic laser projectors against some lamped rivals and they just blew them away.

"We have agreed a three year framework agreement to bring all of their teaching spaces up to the same standard, which we must fit in around their teaching timetable. Once complete, it will certainly mean the facilities here are comparable with the best in education anywhere in Ireland.

Kim Sweeney, President of the Students' Union at DCU, said, "It was so frustrating for students to turn up to classrooms and find that the lecturer couldn't get the technology to work. The new AV technology improves the student experience and engages students more with their learning."

That's a view endorsed by William Kelly, Dean of Teaching & Learning at DCU. "It was very important in the context of our ambitions for a 21st century digital campus that the AV equipment was brought up to date and be state of the art. Student expectations are based on their own personal experience of almost instant access to technology.

"The new AV technology improves the student experience"

"You have a changed teaching experience, we are getting closer to the idea of a flipped classroom, where students do a lot of their learning outside of formal lessons, and the classroom becomes much more of a collaborative space. It's very important in that context that both lecturers and students can bring digital materials in to that space and the technology helps ensure it works. "