La Trobe University
Named after Charles Joseph La Trobe, the first Superintendent of the Port Phillip District (1839-1850) and first Lieutenant-Governor of the new colony of Victoria (1851-1854), La Trobe University was officially opened in 1967. The University has its main campus in Melbourne and operates a further six campuses in regional Victoria, all of which are linked to each other and to the main campus by various ICT facilities, including video-conferencing, ensuring that high quality teaching and research are available throughout the University.
Only the best
"A big part of the AETM is that we share information, such as performance reports, on AV systems," Paul says. "And in this are the results of the annual 'shoot-outs' I conduct with projectors from various vendors."
When Paul joined the University in 1996, his brief was to introduce leading-edge AV and multimedia systems that help take La Trobe to the very forefront of high-tech tertiary education. Now, every year, he purchases a number of projectors for the University - but only after first putting them through a series of exhaustive tests designed specifically to push each projector to its absolute limits.
In early 2005, with over 17 projectors from numerous vendors tested, the clear winner was Epson, with its 3LCD technology and wide range of projectors, with the result that Paul brought in 27 new Epson projectors: 7 EMP-7900s, 8 EMP-81s and 15 EMP-830s.
The 3LCD Advantage
Rather than base his 3LCD vs. DLP decision solely on vendor-supplied specifications, Paul utilises testing software developed by the International Communications Industry Association, which is recognised as the premier international trade association for the professional audiovisual communications industry.
"These are extremely comprehensive tests and are designed specifically to push each projector beyond the limits of its colour, pattern and video projection capabilities," Paul explains. "When I did the shoot-out this year, a number of the [DLP] projectors were automatically eliminated because of the noticeable shimmer they exhibited when trying to deal with high scan rates - they simply couldn't hold the configuration.
"At the end, it was the Epson 3LCD projectors that really showed they had what it takes to work in this [tertiary education] type of environment; and I seriously doubt there is one more taxing on projectors."
Wide Range and Networkability
"One of the definite factors that came down in Epson's favour was that the company had a range of projectors to cover every one of our requirements," Paul continues. "We use the EMP-7900s in the large lecture theatres where there are the needs for networkability, fixed mount, and long throw. For our video-conferencing and mobile projectors, the EMP-81s, with their 5-watt speaker and 2,000 ANSI lumens are used; and in the lecture rooms, the EMP-830s essentially cut right through the ambient light problem, delivering big bright images with great colour balance and definition."
Thousands per year saved
"With the Epson projectors, we're looking to get at least twice the life out of every lamp in every projector than we do with other brands. The result is that I'm expecting a saving of around $12,000 per years just in lamps."
Adding further to the cost saving Paul expects to gain from purchasing the Epson projectors is the advanced networking features of the EMP-7900s and EMP-830s. With these features, Paul is able to monitor the performance and status of each of the projectors from any PC connected to the University's network.
"If something was to go wrong with one of the projectors, I would automatically receive an e-mail from the projector notifying me of the projector's location and problem." Paul says. "So, instead of having to try and identify a fault, I would only have to read the e-mail and know precisely which projector needs attention and what's required to resolve the issue."
"When you're dealing with an AV environment as complex as ours, then this level of functionality delivers major savings in money and time."
In commenting on the support he receives from Epson, Paul - who is not backward in criticising technology and vendors - states: "Exceptional! Over the past five years, the support I've had from Epson is the best from any projector vendor in the market - and I've worked with just about all of them. When I pick up the phone with a question or issue for Epson, there's a result within the hour.
"In education, there are an enormous number of factors that are involved in partnering with a projector vendor," Paul continues. "It's imperative that everything from product range, support, service and an understanding of the education market is there - and this is what we get with Epson!"
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