With three campuses to manage, the Information Technology Services team at Gulf Coast State College has their hands full. “We are responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of 174 classrooms over three campus locations,” says James Baxley, Media Service Coordinator. “Another of my duties is to take care of the broadcasting of media through our campus TV station.” Video conferencing and teleconferencing have also become key components to the team’s responsibilities and learning spaces.
As technology at the College became more advanced, classroom AV became more complicated and difficult for instructors to manage. “We had many remote controls in each classroom, and that alone can be difficult to keep track of, let alone utilization of those remotes for the instructors,” says James. To solve the AV management issue for instructors, the IT Services team did a technology search several years ago and discovered SP Controls. “The SP Controls product met our needs beyond the 5 or so other devices we tested over the course of a semester,” says James. “We had the easiest time learning these products.” A combination of the PixiePro wall‐mounted control panel and Networked Room Controller (NRC) was placed in each of 150 classrooms. These two small devices provide interfaces to the room equipment, and more importantly for the instructors, replaces every remote control in the room with a single device that never gets lost. Using a single PixiePro panel, instructors are able to easily manage the projector, audio systems, flat screen displays, video conferencing equipment, switchers and other devices in the classroom. The NRC, which provides the connections and control for the room equipment, is small enough to mount out of sight, at the projector, under a table or inside a cabinet. It is managed by SmartView Web, SP Controls’ browser‐based setup and management software. Any Web‐enabled browser can access any room using this utility.
The NRC was critical to simple management for the IT Services group. “Since we have three campuses, we needed a robust system that allowed us to monitor remote sites,” says James. “SmartView Web gives us the ability to monitor both local and remote sites. It also maintains data on the usage of those spaces; with the reports generated by SmartView Web we are able to track our technology and keep replacement costs down.” Instructors at Gulf Coast State College love the SP Controls systems. “They don’t feel the need to call us,” says James. “They have control of their space and it frees us up to do other things.” The IT Services department also enjoys their relationship with SP Controls. “The people at SP are so responsive and reliable, just like their product,” James says. “You have to be a team with your product manufacturers; they need to be in it with you… and SP Controls is.”
The Networked Room Controller (NRC) is used for connection of AV equipment and management of a room system. It is accessed via SP Controls’ SmartView Web, a browser‐ based management utility.