Within minutes of talking to the Schools Director of IT, Mr Zdarzil, you can’t help but notice the striking contrast of how this leading independent school housing 850 pupils now boasts some of the most modern day Audio Visual projection technology available today.
Piotr rolls back three years to the start of the replacement programme that now propels the pupils to the front of the class with crystal clear imagery and lesson delivery: “Some technology moves are classified as an ‘essential necessity’ and this falls into this category because of the overwhelming disruption that failing projectors were causing each lesson. A few years prior, we had standardised on one large projection company who, at the time, carried an enviable reputation for providing quality DLP projectors, which were placed throughout the school’s infrastructure. But whatever suggestions the manufacturer made; or however many lamp replacements we facilitated at R5000 each; or whatever maintenance regimes were performed, it seemed that nothing could stem the ongoing and significant degradation of light quality from the projectors.”
“Given our experience, we concluded that after just two years of use, the units were completely unfit for purpose as they were severely impeding the classroom learning experience.” Armed with the knowledge that there could be no long-term performance improvement, Piotr and his team began the search for viable, sustainable alternatives.
Lamp Free Projectors
Enter Casio’s lamp-free light source XJ-M Signature range – at the time a totally new kid on the projection block, using Laser & LED hybrid technology in a sealed unit with no lamps and zero degradation of light source – even after 10,000 hours usage.
Piotr elaborates. “Three years ago, this technology was nothing short of revolutionary. There was simply nothing like it on the market. We researched it extensively including consultation with Casio; and we then spoke to a nearby school using a prototype to ascertain their experience.” But it wasn’t until we experienced first-hand the XJ-M clarity, that we realised the impact of the Laser & LED light source was set to make as it unfolded within the classroom.
“We were literally taken aback to see the purity and brightness of the emitting light source from the Casio XJ lamp-free projectors working at the School. The resultant clarity and crisp imagery was something we had only seen in extremely high end, big budget projection units in the past, and even then, we had already established that the light source would degrade continually.”
The rollout commenced and gradually, year by year, the school has transitioned all projectors towards Casio’s lamp-free technology, with over 80 units seamlessly operating today. Feedback from the teachers has been equally impressive, reporting positive classroom environmental factors.
In the past, teachers had been in-cumbered by long ‘power up’ and ‘power down’ times as the light source effectively warmed up and cooled down. This resulted in a lapse of five minutes at the start and at the finish of every lesson - with teachers electing to consciously leave the unit switched on to ease transition times for the next lesson, but in so doing, reducing the shelf life of the lamps further still.
Within the College’s busy IT Department following deployment of the XJ-M range, the maintenance regime for technicians radically reduced. Historically, every half term and holiday, each projection unit was stripped back, cleaned and the filter changed in an effort to increase the illumination and decrease contamination. But as Piotr noted, it was an onerous manual task that produced little or no effect. “You can imagine that in a school as large as ours with such high teaching standards, that it was nothing short of soul destroying to be facing this maintenance battle that was close to fruitless.” With the Casio XJ-M range, zero filter changes are required as it is a sealed unit, requires zero maintenance and has no filters, leaving the Team to focus on more productive IT enhancements for the College. It is noticeable even with over 80 Casio XJ units deployed, that Piotr has not yet had occasion to use the 5 year onsite warranty, but it provides assurance and surety should maintenance ever be required. The final word reverts back to Piotr. “Our primary goal was to increase the positive teaching and learning experience. But there have been other knock-on positive effects not least, a dramatic comparative reduction in power consumption of around 75% which in turn reduces our carbon footprint and produces less waste for landfills, as these Casio projectors seem to go on and on.”