Epson 3LCD PowerLite® Projectors:Bright Ideas at the Wharton School

"A business classroom is a lot like show biz. From the moment you power up the projector, you face a roomful of faces, and you have one shot in getting it right."

Alexander Milne, Senior Director of Public Technology, The Wharton School

Look into any classroom, lecture hall or auditorium at the prestigious Wharton School, the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, and you'll find at least one multimedia projector in action. Founded in 1881, the world's first collegiate business school today supports the richest technology setting of any major business education institution. Wharton's technology plays a key role in the education of over 4,700 high-achieving students. It also helps fuel the research of its widely quoted and published faculty of over 250 and the school's ongoing engagement with worldwide businesses and business leaders.

"One of the biggest challenges of a business school like Wharton is to present its wealth of knowledge in a way that will engage students," said Alexander Milne, senior director of Wharton's Public Technology group, which implements the latest in technology and supports more than 80 classrooms, 70 group study rooms and computer labs. His group supports all Wharton classroom technology, including dual video screens with projection equipment, video cameras for conferencing and recording, lecterns with touch-screen interfaces, and wireless microphones. Faculty can lecture, lead interactive discussions or make use of the classrooms' 360-degree swivel seats for impromptu breakout sessions.

Milne credits Epson projectors for helping one of the world's top business schools carry out team-based, interactive learning with better display of multimedia content. "Faculty no longer depend completely on chalk and blackboards to present info," he said. Day after day, Wharton classrooms and lecture halls are hooking up to the Internet, creating in-class simulations, accessing remote files, and videoconferencing with places like Singapore, New York City, or Wharton West, the San Francisco campus.

Quieter, Brighter, Time-Tested Technology

"The great thing about technology is its continual evolution, so we are constantly staying ahead of the curve," said Milne. Before deploying new projectors throughout the school, he had clear objectives about improving upon the shortcomings of the school's older projector models. Whether students were viewing Excel balance sheets or PowerPoint slides, a common complaint was the never-ending drone of the old projectors. "Some professors even asked to have them switched off," he said. Another problem was that the projectors required reducing the room's ambient light. "Even if you're watching streaming video of special events or guest speakers, dimming the lights never contributes to a lively lecture or classroom discussion," he said.

Milne found a quieter, brighter and more reliable projector solution. The new 3LCD Epson PowerLite Multimedia Projectors allow teachers to keep the lights on and the students awake. Wharton put 110 new ceiling-mounted projectors in over 80 classrooms on both campuses, including classrooms with tiered seating of up to 100 students and 125-seat lecture halls. The projectors created a whole new standard in Wharton presentations, delivering up to 5,200 lumens of light output, using 3LCD (3-chip) technology for vibrant color, sharp images, no distortion and high reliability.

Getting It Right Another key issue in purchasing the projectors was the need for high reliability and low maintenance, a fixation of school technology departments everywhere. Wharton Computing's Public Technology group ensures that all learning facility and computer lab technology within Jon M. Huntsman Hall, Wharton's primary academic facility on Penn's Philadelphia campus, is in perfect working order.

"If you're videoconferencing a guest CEO from halfway around the world, technology failures are unacceptable." said Milne. "Even with a course name like Management 101 or the Principles of Retailing, a business classroom is a lot like show biz. From the moment you power up the projector, you face a roomful of faces, and you have one shot in getting it right."

The new projectors earned their racing stripes, up and running for hours each day throughout Wharton facilities. "We have a strong relationship with Epson, which understands what a business school like Wharton needs when it comes to projectors," he said. "They've enabled us to improve the quality and longevity of our projectors, reduce costs and maximize our budget."

With famous alumni like Donald Trump, Ron Perelman and Steve Wynn, Wharton makes a huge impact on its students and the world of business they aspire to, so it's no surprise that 3LCD projectors are a key feature in its classrooms and lecture halls. "By presenting information and images gathered from different sources, projectors allow business students to go beyond the lecture hall," said Milne. "Not only do projectors open doors in the classroom, but they are essential technology tools that Wharton alumni will actively use when they enter the business world."

PowerLite is a registered trademark of Epson America, Inc.

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