At the start of this project, University of Montana Chief Information Officer Zach Rossmiller tasked Director of Infrastructure Scott Holgate and a team of classroom technology experts with finding visual technology solutions for these often-used spaces. Knowing the rooms were used for new student orientations and recruiting events as well as instruction, the team wanted to ensure the technology would provide a degree of ‘wow factor’ along with function. After reviewing different technologies, they settled on seamless LED video walls from Planar. Compared with the projection equipment that previously served the rooms, the Planar TVF Series LED video walls provide abundant and clear visibility from all vantage points in the lecture halls, according to Holgate. “You can easily view them from any angle and the video walls are bright throughout,” he said. “It’s a tremendous improvement over what we had before. And being a seamless technology, the video walls do not have any lines that might interfere with a spreadsheet or other presentation materials.” After installing the video walls, Silver Stream Audio Visual came back on another service contract to help set up control equipment and cameras, which, combined with the Planar TVF Series LED video walls, allows the university to embrace a more hybrid type of learning environment, said Desireh Kissinger, senior AV support consultant with Silver Stream Audio Visual.
“They can now better cater to remote participants and students who can make it to class,” Kissinger said. “The technology upgrades were critical for bringing those rooms into the 21st century. The video walls look impressive in the spaces, and they provide more flexible options for the university and the students.” In addition to presentations, recruiting, class lectures and other academic activities, the university is planning to use the halls and the new LED video walls to host different kinds of events. “We want to have movie nights, sports watching parties and similar uses that we haven’t yet had an opportunity to explore,” Holgate said. “Our events people also have the ability to lease the spaces to outside organizations, which could provide a revenue source to help us maintain the equipment.” In every way, Holgate said the university is very impressed with the Planar video walls. “The durability of the product is fantastic. It’s clear that a lot of great care has been taken into the design and engineering—the displays are simple to use and maintain. From a facility standpoint, when we have 250 classrooms to take care of, not adding complexity and something that’s hard to manage is a huge advantage.”