Hitachi Helps Iowa State University Upgrade Its Campus Classrooms
As one of Iowa's largest universities, Iowa State University (ISU) is home to more than 27,000 students who come to the campus each year to improve their level of education. In order to provide students with a stateof- the-art learning environment, ISU leveraged the Instructional Technology Center (ITC) to help provide centralized support for the use of instructional technologies. The organization provides large screen video projection systems, slide projectors, video recorders and players, overhead projectors and other media equipment to faculty and staff for instructional purposes, and to students during school sessions. Its ultimate goal: To facilitate excellence in the teaching, research and service functions of the university.
However, choosing and maintaining projection equipment to serve more than 27,000 students and 1,700 faculty in 240 classrooms can get complicated, costly and time consuming. It was important for ITC to select equipment that was durable, reliable and compatible with the demands and requirements of a large campus, while still being cost effective. "My biggest challenge is working within the purchasing rules," said Matt Darbyshire, manager, ITC Classroom Technology Services. "I have a certain standard of quality and a list of technical requirements that I use as a guideline for selecting equipment. Then, I submit a recommendation to the purchasing department and they rule out anything that does not meet our cost requirements. Hitachi was the clear leader in terms of both cost and quality."
After evaluating the cost, quality and features of at least four major brands, ITC purchased 60 of Hitachi's CP-X880W projectors for installation across the ISU campus. "We were looking to significantly upgrade campus technology," said Darbyshire, who believes that universities should upgrade every year and maintain a four-year cycle for projector replacement. "Faculty and students started bringing in laptops with HDTV screens and our old equipment was not measuring up. Our specifications were that the projector had to display 1600 x 1200 UXGA resolution and at least 3,000 lumens. We have a lot of different lighting situations and faculty, who prefer not to teach in the dark, require a good projection image no matter how bright the room."
During its evaluation of various models and brands, ITC found very few affordable machines with the required level of resolution. In addition, the University required a projector that would be compatible with its RS232 system - a touch-panel control system that gives presenters a simple remote interface and allows the ITC to monitor the unit's functions and shut them off remotely. As it turns out, the Hitachi projectors not only met all of ITC's requirements, but greatly exceeded expectations.
"An unexpected advantage of the Hitachi model is its wider zoom capability in the standard lens. When we upgraded to the Hitachi projectors we were able to get a wider picture without changing the mounting bracket location," said Darbyshire. "Because of the exceptional zoom range, we were also able to use the projector in scenarios where it was either very close to the screen, or very far away. We always anticipate problems with a major installation or upgrade, but we have had our Hitachi units in use for six months or more without incident. Everyone from the purchasing agent to our faculty is pleased with our selection of Hitachi projectors."
Courtesy of Hitachi America, Ltd.