When the Indianapolis Public School System (IPS) wanted to standardize the audio/video technology throughout its schools, it had specific requirements: consistent, high−resolution video in every classroom, a uniform system, and simple, intuitive controls. Teachers should be able to seamlessly integrate the technology into their lessons and be confident in the presentation quality – not have to learn a new protocol in every room and wonder whether the video would be crisp and sharp.
Realizing that lowest price does not always equal best performance, IPS took an innovative approach to the traditional bidding process. Their request for proposals included a grading scale based on pricing, the integrator’s ability to install and service the systems, proposed equipment and warranties. Local integrator ESCO Communications and their Kramer Electronics−based solution was selected for the project.
According to ESCO Executive Vice President Gary Dunn, ESCO recommended a Kramer Electronics ProScale® presentation scaler/switcher in each classroom to achieve the required consistent video resolution no matter the source. Every classroom has its own system that connects the teacher’s computer, a student computer, document camera and DVR to the scaler/switcher. An extra input is available for an iPod or MP3 player. Each room features a video projector and sound system. The system can be operated directly from the Kramer scaler/switcher, on which all sources are clearly marked, or from a controller that allows laptop computer operation.
“IPS needed a centralized form of scaling and switching, and the Kramer product was easy and user−friendly,” Dunn said. “As IPS expanded the system to more schools, we developed a partnership with Kramer. They worked closely with us to be sure we had the right product and the right quantities to meet the schools’ needs.”
The project started with a ProScale switcher featuring a DVI connector for the document camera. When IPS requested a high−resolution input, Kramer recommended the step−up VP−730, featuring four VGA inputs and expansion capability with a total of nine inputs.
“Product reliability has been fabulous,” Dunn said. “We’ve installed over 1,000 units of the scaler/switcher in this application and have had little to no glitches.”
Each classroom system has its own IP address so that it can be monitored by the school system’s IT staff. It also can receive local TV channels and those originating from IPS. The systems are installed in all of the district’s middle and high school buildings. Elementary schools are in the process of installation.
“We think the system has met the needs of IPS,” Dunn said. “It provides every classroom with high−resolution, consistent video in a user−friendly package.”