Quantifying the massive annual costs of classroom and lecture hall downtime, Gilfillan said, could encourage campus technology leaders to consider outsourcing at least some of the A/V maintenance to companies tasked with keeping an eye on the school’s A/V systems.

“People should not just think, ‘Well, that’s the way it is,’” he said. “There are real costs to these delays. There are ways to save quite a bit of money.”

Unreliable presentation technology can also come with enormous institutional costs if school officials shun their campus’s A/V equipment for face-to-face meetings – which often include the price of airfare, meals, and lodging.

“If you start to lose confidence in your system, you’re going to get on a plane and do it because you feel like you’re more in control of the whole situation,” Siedell said. “If you don’t feel like your school’s technology is going to get your message across, you’re not going to leave it in those hands.”

Gilfillan said many campus technologists are hesitant to contract with an outside company for A/V help because they fear a partnership would cost IT staffers their jobs. Outsourcing even a part of education-technology upkeep, Gilfillan said, would give campus technologists more time to focus on faculty’s most critical IT needs.

“A lot of colleges and universities put people in charge who feel that if they move toward a managed service, they’re going to put their job in jeopardy,” he said. “They hold off on that because they want to see how it might impact their employment.”


Add your opinion to the discussion.