Keeping an eye on things - more on projectors

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The IT Guy says:
If you are the person in charge of installing and maintaining your school's or district's technology, this next criterion I'll discuss in selecting a projector is one that may be very important to you. Many projectors now have the option to be network-able. This isn't for sending video signals over the network, however—it's to manage the projector. The sending of video signals over the network to the projector is coming, but that's for another time!

If your school has one projector mounted in the ceiling of every classroom, that makes for a lot of very expensive equipment to monitor and support. If they're networked, however, much of that work can be done from one central computer. Each manufacturer has its own software package for managing that brand of projector. The projectors may be programmed to turn off at a certain time each day ,in case teachers forget and leave them on, which increases the likelihood of bulb burnout; the brightness can be reduced to prolong bulb life; and so on. The computer may be set to monitor the status of the projector to know when filters need to be replaced or other bits of routine maintenance are coming due. Even more impressively, many of the software packages supporting networkable projectors may be set to send emergency text messages to the tech support person's telephone if the projector is overheating, the bulb has burned out, or if someone has just removed the projector from the network, which is often a very bad thing.

To take advantage of this option requires the projectors to be set up someplace where they don't move, and obviously require a connection to the network. Right now that connection is almost always a wired connection, but it won't be long until the options will include wireless networking. Some high-end projectors already have this feature, and it shouldn't take too long for it to creep down to classroom-end models.

Next Tip: Cutting the cables—the last word for now about projectors

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