Durham University

Durham, United Kingdom

Durham University is a world-class institution of higher learning located in Durham, England. Currently more than 15,000 students attend the school, which was named "2005 University of the Year" by The Sunday Times.

"Everyone on my team can access information on all the lecture rooms remotely. If a lecturer calls us with a technical issue, we can often use the remote access provided by AMX to diagnose and resolve the problem on the spot. It helps us to offer our users a high level of customer service – and it saves our technicians a long trek to the room in question."

In keeping with its leading-edge reputation, the University's lecture theatres feature the latest technological equipment; however, the school's smaller teaching rooms had not been updated in quite some time. Clive Bowery, deputy head of customer service, was determined to bring the smaller rooms in line with the others. When he set about searching for an appropriate solution, he had a very clear set of objectives in mind.

"I wanted our lecturers to have access to new technology, but I also wanted to make it easy for them to use. Additionally, the buildings within the University are spread over a large geographic area, with some areas a mile and a half from others. So I had to think carefully about how we would service and maintain the equipment. If a lecturer alerts us to a problem with the equipment, they need that problem solved quickly – not when their lecture is half over," said Bowery.

The AMX equipment makes our job of maintaining the equipment much easier. And the lecturers find the panels easy to use and have seen an upturn in response time when issues arise.

He decided to install AMX® Novara™ 16-Button ControlPads in more than 40 of the University's small rooms, along with networked asset management software from the company.

The Novara ControlPads allow lecturers to access various pieces of equipment at the touch of a button. "The ControlPads in each room are connected to our student computer system," said Bowery. "Additionally, there are inputs for individual laptops, for a DVD/VHS combination unit, and in some rooms, visualisers. To control the PC, video, and audio switching, we used the AMX Solecis™ Presentation Switcher. Plus there is additional capacity within the ControlPads for extra equipment to be added as necessary. This ensures that the investment we make today is protected in the future, as our needs evolve."

Combining room control with asset management software helped to resolve many of the issues surrounding support of the equipment. "Everyone on my team can access information on all the lecture rooms remotely. If a lecturer calls us with a technical issue, we can often use the remote access provided by AMX to diagnose and resolve the problem on the spot. It helps us to offer our users a high level of customer service – and it saves our technicians a long trek to the room in question," said Bowery.

With 15 rooms completed last year, and a rolling programme for the remaining rooms, the key question is whether the investment has been worthwhile. According to Bowery, "Response from both the users and from my own team has been positive.

The units have also proved to be extremely reliable – the only failure so far being when a cup of coffee was inadvertently spilt on one of the ControlPads."



Durham University
PDF | 144 KB | 2008

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