Campus A/V officials are striving to justify needed upgrades to campus auditoriums, stadiums, classrooms, and theaters.

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Campus technologists say that college and university finances have largely recovered from the thin times after the 2008 economic collapse, though the purchasing of A/V equipment remains an expenditure that many campus decision makers are loathe to discuss.

Budgets for A/V equipment aren’t falling, campus officials say, but they’re not rising either. It’s that budgetary stagnation that leaves many in higher education at a loss for how to approach A/V upgrades that modernize school facilities and make the college or university more appealing to prospective students.

Up-to-date — or even cutting edge — A/V systems can be a powerful recruitment tool as prospective students tour campuses before making their final decisions. In other words, good audio and video can be an effective money maker for colleges and universities of every size.

Making wise A/V investments that will save money in the long run is something that came up time and again in interviews with campus A/V experts who had recently switched to Sony’s 3LCD laser projector.

“Anyone with a good grasp of finance can wrap their head around this,” said Robb Mann, manager of classroom operations and special events at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Wilmington since 2003. “It’s simple math, really, especially when you trust the technology so much.”

Beyond the dollars and cents of upgrading campus A/V infrastructure, there’s the impact on teaching and learning that sometimes goes unmentioned in discussions about budgeting for new audio and video products.

“This is something that directly affects students, and that made it relatively easy to make a really compelling argument,” Mann said. “You don’t want the newest and greatest just because it’s the newest and greatest. … You want it because it will make a difference in the way educators teach and students learn that material. That’s what we have here. This model really is a generational leap in educational technology.”

(Next page: The most innovative new A/V/ products for higher ed)


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