Temple University: Streamlining tech support

Honoree: 
Temple University

Consider the scene: an esteemed faculty member stands at a podium, about to lecture to a room full of eager students, and can’t locate the document camera that’s key to her presentation. Or a student who has worked for weeks to perfect his class presentation doesn’t know how to hook up his laptop to the projector.

Thanks to AMX Resource Management Software, help is just a button away. Users—such as faculty, guest lecturers, or students—simply press “Help” on the touch panel located on the smart classroom podium. When the user confirms the help request, an alert is posted to a monitored web page and automatically sends email and text alerts to the appropriate technical support staff. “Sometimes users are not familiar with the equipment, or a projector lamp burns out, or the system goes offline and they don’t know what to do,” says Michael Field, senior technical support specialist in Computer Services, Classroom Technology Support at Temple University. “They press ‘Help’ and we’ll respond in person or by opening a remote connection to the touch panel. We can then send them a text alert with what to do, or that we are on the way.”

Many touch panels can also accept phone calls through the VoIP gateway, Field says. “They can hear me through the touch panel,” he says. “They explain the problem, and by then I’ve got the webpage open so I can see their touch panel, and I might be able to fix the problem without even going to the room. “The nice thing is if I’m fixing it remotely, the class never has to know the details,” Field adds. “The faculty member gets the support with less disruption to their class.” The Computer Services department has further enhanced the educational experience by connecting all smart classroom equipment to an AMX controller located in the room. The in-room controllers are connected to the RMS server to monitor and support the instructional technology. “At the podium there is a touch panel that communicates with the AMX controller to tell the document camera to go to the video projector, for example,” Field says. “These enhancements are all part of our commitment to providing quality support.”

The efforts from the leadership of Temple University to improve operational efficiencies through quick and easy technical support requests earned them the 2013 AMX Innovation Award in the Automation and Control Initiative category.