Antwerp University chooses Epson projectors for new auditoriums

Epson projectors improve ease of use and reduce maintenance

Antwerp University chooses Epson projectors for new auditoriums

Education is becoming digital very rapidly. The days in which a professor read out the course content and made notes on a blackboard are over. In order to meet the digital needs of the current generation of students and to standardise lecture theatres, the University of Antwerp has invested in the latest generation of Epson digital projec

The University of Antwerp is the result of merging three existing university institutions in Antwerp. In total, more than 20,000 students attend classes spread across four campuses in and around the city. In order to properly support students, the university recently built two new buildings, each with a large number of auditoriums and a dozen smaller rooms. These were opened at the beginning of the academic year.

Challenge: standardisation and quick installation

Ultimately the University of Antwerp is working towards standardisation of the entire AV infrastructure in all lecture theatres across the entire university. This standardisation covers both brands and types of equipment. Furthermore, the AV-system needs to be multifunctional and meet high quality standards. To this end, the university welcomed bids for a framework contract, where construction of the new auditoriums also needed to be taken into account. 

An additional challenge was the time available for installation and maintenance. As student numbers grow, most lecture theatres and labs are occupied almost a hundred percent of the time. For small maintenance operations, those responsible for maintenance try to do this before or after lessons, but for major maintenance or new installations there are few opportunities during the year; mainly out of term time, during the holidays. This was the case for the installation in the new-build "Building O", where no less than eight large auditoriums and another ten or so lecture theatres needed to be equipped from scratch before the start of the academic year. 

Solution: reliable, durable projectors from Epson

AV specialist Aviniti won the contract and, following discussions with the university during the design phase, pushed for Epson projectors. "The advantages include the good price-quality ratio and the extent of the range with a different type of model for each classroom. As an installer, we appreciate the flexible setup capability through the large lens range and the large lens shift that are built-in as standard," says manager Tim Van Gasse.

The university's new media service, responsible for AV infrastructure, wanted to ensure that as standard, every classroom was equipped with a projector, audio enhancement, controls, a document camera, VGA/HDMI connector and a board. The large auditoriums were fitted with dual projection with powerful projectors from the EB-G7900-range. "This allows us to show a presentation and images from the document camera at the same time. From the beginning, we also factored in that rooms could be linked together and equipment controlled using management software," explains Sven Van der Stappen, head of new media service at the University of Antwerp. The smaller classrooms were equipped with EB-4950 projectors and EB-1980WU devices. "Everything is now digital and prepared for a wireless world. However, we are not yet ready to control the projector directly via Wi-Fi, this would give students too much freedom to disrupt lessons," laughs Sven. 

The university's relationship with Epson has grown organically, explains Sven, "There is a large base of installed Epson projectors at the university. When you standardise with a particular product, you gain an internal high level of knowledge about the product. A study was performed at the time during which brands fulfilled certain conditions. Epson stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Laser projectors were also considered; however, from a price-technical point of view, it was not really an option."

Ease of use and fewer interventions

The AV installation in the new buildings has been in full swing since the start of the new academic year. As far as projection itself is concerned, observes Sven van der Stappen, there have been very few problems, "We have utilised the expertise of our AV-partner Aviniti for our choice of projectors, so we are not worried about dimensioning and light intensity." 

The main advantage is for the users. Sven says, "They are quite complex installations, yet we see the projectors being used correctly straight away thanks to their simple operating methods. Having standardised interface and logic for large and small classrooms facilitates this."

The new projectors are also less time intensive in terms of maintenance, so fewer interventions are required by both the new media service and the ICT helpdesk. "Interventions now are more related to the connection of a laptop or with microphones, not the projection. If problems occur they often relate to the user themselves," says Sven.

Another advantage is as a direct result of the standardisation. "In the past, there was a mishmash of equipment. In opting for just a few types of projectors in the new build, from experience we can identify more quickly what can go wrong and when a device may require maintenance. In this way, we can take preventative action and minimise disruption of lectures. Through standardisation, we will be able to limit the use of replacement lamps. We currently have a large number of projectors with other lamps throughout the university. In an ideal world, all of the projectors in more than 350 rooms would be standardised in one go. However, this will require additional financing and a lot of time," concludes Sven van der Stappen.