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The Role of AV in Higher Education

AV solutions have proven their worth in K-12 environments, where they can serve in multiple roles. This same approach can also work in higher education as AV technology can play the multitool part for college campuses. Collaboration, better lectures, security - AV solutions can solve a variety of needs. Some of these systems are scaled up for campus-wide AV coverage, with hundreds of components involved in a single integration project. Here, we'll address what AV equipment can do for universities and how the technology can help campuses deliver a better experience for students, faculty, and visitors.

1) An Expert Connector: Video Conferencing Brings Thought Leaders into the Classroom

College opens students up to a world of experts, giving them access to the best minds in every field. Universities trade on their ability to connect great teachers with ambitious students, which is why many colleges are investing in video conferencing systems for their lecture halls. Video conferencing technology works best in smaller lecture halls - the size of a typical K-12 classroom or a bit larger. In these learning spaces, educators can organize a memorable learning experience by bringing in an accomplished expert. Every university has a number of professor emerita that can remain connected to the campus through video conferencing. These professors are the people that students pay to learn from, so the technology can be used as an effective selling point to prospective students. AV technology is designed with usability as a focus, so even tech-resistant educators can use it with ease. Poly's line of Studio all-in-one video conferencing bars are a favorite for their ease of installation and accessibility. The system is controlled from a touchscreen, and can be used to launch a conference call with only a few taps. Once the call is launched, it can be controlled from the same touchscreen, so starting a call, managing volume, and facilitating content sharing is all done through the same user interface. In larger lecture rooms, one of Poly's large room kits can provide the same user-friendly experience, only scaled up.

2) A Collaboration Facilitator: Interactive Display Technology Encourages Students to Work Together

Once released into the professional workforce, today's students will become tomorrow's collaborators. Teamwork is expected from modern professionals, and in a university setting, AV technology can introduce the collaboration tools and methods that those modern professionals are expected to utilize. Interactive displays, for example, are a collaborative mainstay in professional settings, as they can be used to drive in-person, hybrid, or remote meetings. Given their importance in supporting professional projects, interactive displays are a valuable technology to introduce to university students. The Clevertouch is uniquely well-suited for this role, as it's been proven in both professional and education environments. In schools and universities, the Clevertouch can be used like a traditional whiteboard, allowing student teams to brainstorm ideas and visualize them. What the Clevertouch offers that a traditional whiteboard doesn't, though, is a built-in browser that can be used to find media assets online and bring them into the whiteboarding session. Remote students can also connect to the whiteboard and make their own edits, as if they were in the room. The Clevertouch is particularly effective for STEM-focused lessons, where a common objective is visualizing solutions and then acting on them.

3) An Always-There Guide and Greeter: Wayfinding and Video Concierge Make a Strong Impression on Campus Visitors

Major university campuses receive hundreds of visitors every day, and many of them are bound to get lost without a little help. Here again, AV solutions can provide support. Specifically, wayfinding and video concierge technology are purpose-built for the job. Wayfinding is delivered using a digital display (often interactive), and it's typically built into an interactive, kiosk-like visitor station. With wayfinding solutions, visitors can review a map of the campus, search for points of interest, buildings, or classrooms, and generate custom directions depending on where they want to go. There are many wayfinding solutions available, and most of them can be easily paired with display technology. Wayfinding is great for directions, but what if visitors have questions that only a human can answer? That's where video concierge solutions come in. Video concierge solutions like Teleportivity provide on-demand support from a live, remote technician. Users request support by scanning a QR code, and within seconds, a video call is established between the support staff member and visitor. This video call can be conveyed through a display installed for video concierge purposes, or it can be delivered directly to the user's device. This second option means people can take support wherever they go on campus. This is helpful for dealing with the beginning-of-semester mass confusion that affects thousands of new students.

4) A Valuable Layer of Security: Advanced Alarm Systems and Digital Signage Improve Emergency Response Efforts

AV technology is increasingly becoming the eye-in-the-sky for campus security, as video surveillance can be used to identify and track threats as soon as they emerge. Modern alert and alarm systems can detect attempts to tamper with or force locked doors, and alert security personnel in response. AV systems are also used in tandem with airlock style entryways, where building visitors are required to stop and communicate with campus personnel before entry is admitted. Communication can include video, so security can see everyone before they are allowed in. And if an emergency does occur, AV solutions can instantly alert the entire campus. One effective way to do this is through the campus's digital signage network. Digital signage is already in place in many higher educational facilities, owing to their versatility. With digital signage, universities can provide information on classes, events or exam schedules, reinforce the university's brand, and knit the student fabric closer together. It can also be used to instantly send emergency alerts to every display on the network, so students and faculty can respond faster and better.

AV Plays a Vital Role for Universities and Colleges

AV integrators are the experts behind major AV projects. They bring the skill, expertise, and hardware knowledge that every AV initiative requires to succeed out of the box. And in recent years, reputable AV integrators have spent much of their time integrating video conferencing, interactive displays, and other AV solutions in educational environments. While the focus has largely been on K-12, the same tools and hardware that work in a K-12 setting are also effective for higher education. If your educators could use additional teaching tools, if your students could use more engaging learning experiences, and if your campus could use better security, AV technology has a solution for every need.