Administrative flexibility and a seamless user experience were the simple AV system requirements desired by the IT team at London South Bank University. The institution, which serves 18,000 students and is located in the Southwark borough of London, is one of the city’s largest. With 290 classrooms, consistency in AV infrastructure is key for the educators and students who use the rooms, and for the IT staff that manage them.
“Our users are academics,” says Gavin Warnock, ICT infrastructure principle AV engineer at LSBU. “Some are not always comfortable using complex technology.”
So when it came time in spring 2015 to upgrade the presentation technology in the university’s small classrooms, Gavin wanted to find a solution that would appear similar to the old setup. “We wanted something new and shiny but not completely different.”
Familiar setup gets a powerful upgrade
That new and shiny system was the AMX Massio 8-button ControlPad with a Solecis 5×1 multiformat switcher from Harman. This dedicated room control system combines power and functionality in one small unit. It is easily configured on the administrative end with the AMX Rapid Project Maker or NetLinx Studio software. Buttons on the all-in-one unit are large, with large descriptive text. The new control stations at LSBU are contained in one lecture stand where professors can have all controls at their fingertips. Source options are on clearly labeled buttons. The “on” button is large and green and the “off” button is large and red.
“Put simply, Massio was the right choice for LSBU,” says Pete Curtis, Harman’s education relationship manager for the UK. “Outwardly, the ControlPads present a familiar interface, with a single button press to turn on all devices in the room so class can start quickly. Behind the scenes, they offer all the necessary programming flexibility, remote support and reporting capabilities.”
In June 2015, about 65 LSBU classrooms were outfitted with the Massio controller. Another 42 followed during fall 2015 and spring 2016, with plans to retrofit about 50 to 60 classrooms per year. Easy scalability is a key benefit to the Massio system.
“We can expand to more classrooms and make changes as we see fit without having to pay for external integrators to do the work for us,” says Gavin.
The ease of managing Massio helped to improve support processes for the AV help team at LSBU. Previously, calls for help were limitedly handled by service desk workers and passed on to the short-staffed, high-level IT and AV engineers. But now, because Massio is so easy to manage, an expanded first line of support personnel, who require minimal IT and AV backgrounds, can resolve most issues remotely.
“Most of the time, issues are simple and quick to rectify, with limited classroom downtime,” says Gavin. “The small number of complex issues are bumped to a second line of more experienced engineers.”
The ability to troubleshoot and program in-house without specialized training is a key differentiator of Massio. But, when Gavin does have a question, he knows he can count on the Harman team for a quick response.
“Harman’s support team is second to none,” he says. “They are professional, quick to get resolutions and eager to help in any way they can.”
For more information, visit www.amx.com/education