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Structured Wiring for the Classroom

Classroom Infrastructure: Understanding Contemporary Installations

By Joseph Cornwall, Technology Evangelist

This article really opens up room for thought and opportunity. Clearly this is a huge market, and a market which is growing almost exponentially both in the United States and worldwide. Presentation technology has placed unprecedented demands on what is behind the walls. The right choices today will allow seamless integration of tomorrow's media into the classroom environment.

This article focuses on opportunity and the education sector. Why and how is this market growing? What is driving this almost unprecedented adoption of technology into the education sector? We will define what this education sector is because a lot of times when we look at our business opportunities, we make these decisions: Well, my company is not in education because we do not do K-12 bid programs. But in fact, education also exists in a lot of other areas outside of K-12 classrooms.

Everything we will cover here is as germane to a classroom that would be in your company's training facility, to train new employees on your staff, as it is would be in a grade school or collegiate environment. This includes a discussion of classroom technology and how that creates a unique presentation system. In fact, classroom technology is a lot like talking about home theater or boardroom presentation technology. It has many of the same elements. In the course of discussing that we discuss what an interactive white board is and how it is used. We will understand the concept of the “teaching triangle” which gives us a go od way to look at a classroom an d understand how we should plan for wiring inside of that classroom. We will cover a little about video formats and connectivity and the evolution of video formats into the TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signaling) - which in short is HDMI DVID and DisplayPort. We will describe how USB and control systems are leveraged in the education environment.

Finally, I will absolutely make the point about the importance of simplicity. The fact that in these kinds of installations, sometimes under-engineered is better than over-engineered. There is the idea that we have to keep this simple because sometimes the people are not necessarily great techies, but they are great educators and teachers. So we want to talk about how to create a very effective system — one that is a simple system and a profitable system for your organization to be able to be in business

Under the right conditions, technology does the following:

  • Accelerates, Enriches, and deepens basic skills
  • Motivates and engages students in learning
  • Helps relate academics to the practice of today's workforce
  • Increases the economic viability of tomorrow's workers
  • Strengthens the efforts of teaching
  • Contributes to change in schools
  • Connects schools to the world
“The Technology-Infused English Classroom”
Phil Coogan, UNITEC School of Education

Technology has become a very important part of the education process. In fact, one of the things we have seen over the last decade, is oftentimes, students, (5th grade, high school, college) are showing up with more technology in their hip pocket or backpack than teachers have available to teach the lessons. I think it is time that that technology caught up with the reality of the education environment.

Let us take a look at the opportunity that exists in this education environment - where it is coming from, where it is going to, and what it actually means to us. K-12 (US policy, but does extend worldwide) is a central focus of the government's stimulus activities. As you recall, a couple years ago we had a major impact on our economic systems and as part of that recovery act, there was a lot of money allocated towards investing in schools, specifically and completely earmarked towards technology in schools. In fact, the NY Times reported in 2008 that “$150 Billion in new federal spending, a vast two-year investment that [will] more than double the department of education's current budget” had been allocated to that specific application. Most of the programs that were using that $150B levera ged state and local investment, making the total market much larger. What this ending up doing was frontloading a tremendous amount of change.

When you added $150B to a budget that was already there, what we ended up doing was taking technological advancements, changes, and adaptations that we expected over the next 5-10 years and frontloading them at that point in time over the next 3-5 years. We are right now in the middle of that hump. There is still a tremendous amount of this business that is being done. A lot of these projects that are using this money - although the allocated money has been exhausted, it is still working its way through the system - these are systems that were designed in 2008 or 2009, the money was allocated, and they are only now going out to bid and now being installed. So there is still a tremendous amount of this investment.

And even though we have seen some lessening of local capabilities to leverage these investments because of changes in taxes and employment status that has changed some of the funding of schools, there is still tremendous focus on bringing this technology into the educational environment. The market for vocational education is exploding as a result of profound changes in the economy. In fact, it runs counter to unemployment. When we see higher unemployment we see an increase of investment in vocational technology as we have unemployed workers who need to be re-trained and re-purposed into the market.

So we have seen a tremendous investment now in the hands of some of the vocational schools out there. And let us not forget th at private ed ucational enterprises a re expanding at the fastest rate ever, wit h attendant i ncreases in infrastructure - this is an enormous opportunity. But it is important to understand that education do es not start and stop at K-12 public education. Adult education, including house of worship (by the way, virtually evchurch that yo u drive by has a classroom or multiple classrooms in it) and they are leveraging exactly the same technology that we are putting into these public works projects. “Green” technology development and manufacturing at various facilities are all placing em phasis o n trai ning thei r work staff in a re al-time environment. So we are again putting the same o f educational topolo gies i nto busi nesses/manufacturing plant s/non-governmental facilities; these a re all f ocusing o n training. So we begin t o see that the si ze of this ma rket is sig nificantly larger tha n the 100,0 00's of scho ol districts/buildings that we have in the United States, but encompasses all walks of life.

The North American market alone has some very interesting things to consider. “Interactive whiteboards have been en vogue for some time in the U.K, with that market pretty much saturated.” In fact, they are at about 85% of their classrooms having intera ctive whiteboards installed. “The U.S. has lagged behind in this respect, with their being introduced in this country just three or four years ago.” - Quoted from “Overwhelmed by High Tech?” by Thomas G. Dolan.

This was actually written several years ago so we are now at the point where in the U.S. interactive whiteboards are in less than 20 % of all public education classrooms, and probably not much higher than that in non-public classrooms. So we have a tremendous gap and a lot of opportunity where this technology is really being swept up and being demanded by the decision makers.

“Across the globe, the Interactive whiteboard phenomenon is really taking hold,” says Colin Messenger, Senior Consultant, Future source. “Driven by contin ued technological developments, our projections show that one in six classrooms will be hooked up with an Interactive whiteboard by 2012.” — Quoted from FutureSource Consulting Press Release, March 2009. It appears that that number might actually even be higher; it might be closer to 1 in 5 by the end of next year. That is 20%. 80% of these classrooms have yet to begin this changeover into a new level of technology. So we really begin to see that this is a market that not only has been a tiger over the 5 years - driving money, opportunity, and change in the classroom- but it will continue to be a growth sector for at least that long or twice that long into the future.

So what is this new technology in the classroom that we have to look at? How does today's classroom differ from the classrooms of the past? Well, chalkboards and overhead projectors, that perhaps some of us who are in the workforce saw when we were in school, have given way to computers, document cameras and PowerPoint presentations. So we now have an automated classroom where we are leveraging the kind of communication technology that we take for granted at our desktop, our home theater systems, or anywhere that we may travel. Classroom infrastructure also incorporates sound reinforcement.

When I was in school, it was unusual to see a class with more than 25-30 students in it. Today, it is unusual to see a class with less than 25-30 students in it. In order to be able to communicate with that many students simultaneously, we need to have a voice lift. Additionally, when we look at collegiate, corporate, or house of worship environments, we may have significantly more people in that room and we may end up with true sound reinforcement. All of these are new moves towards the classroom. And today our source com ponents not only include the traditional overhead projector, which has been replaced by our document camera, but computer content, broadcast media, as well as digital video components that are part of this.

So we have really taken a multimedia perspective on bringing the elements of education together to become effective in the classroom, and this places very unique demands on the infrastructure of the classroom. I like to say that like a home A/V system, the classroom's technology utility is directly proportional to its reach. Let's take a minute and discuss this. What we really mean is if you were to put a home theater system in your house today, but that home theater system had no way for you to connect a computer to it, you would probably not enjoy that home theater system very much. In a very short time you would pro bably think you made a bad inv estment. The same is true inside of a classroom.

A classroom system must be able to display information from multiple sources. Some of those sources are still emerging so we are not entirely sure how they are going to relate to the students. Here is an example. If I ask you to go find some information on some particular topic from the internet, chances are you would go onto Google.com and type in your search term and find that information. If you ask a student in middle school or high school the same question today, they will most likely turn to a completely different search engine: YouTube. Google is the number one search engine; YouTube is the number two search engine. The new generation looks at multimedia as naturally as those who have been in the workforce for a while look at print media. So any new system must be able to bridge the legacy systems that the teachers are currently using with this new technology. A good installation provides long-term compatibility and broad based flexibility where performance is absolutely dictated by the ability of all of the various components to be connected.

The simple fact is that there is a concept that we have become proponents of called the Technology Utility Horizon. The Technology Utility Horizon is that point in which the structured wiring in the walls is no longer capable of interfacing with more than half of the items that you want to be able to use. For instance if we had a classroom today that was completely wired by S-Video, we are already past the Technology Utility Horizon. There are no devices that you can buy today that have S-Video connectors, and the re aren't going to be, so it's come and gone. The same thing is currently happening with VGA and component video. We look at VGA as a staple, but in fact its Technology Utility Horizon is probably no more than five or ten years as we move into digital video and the need for TMDS (HDMI DVID and DisplayPort) becomes overwhelming, even within the public classroom environment. Further, this Technology Utility Horizon is compressed as we look at private sectors, such as vocational schools, co rporate training facilities, corporate presentation systems, and houses of worship.

Good classroom infrastructure in any of those locations demands that we make good infrastructure choices. And we have to ask ourselves some questions on, for instance, computer connectivity. Many times when I am working with school systems, I see systems that are designed for VGA or XGA level connectivity. They are looking at 1024x768 to an interactive whiteboard, and that's great- it looks great, especially when you only have a 4 foot screen that is 4 x 3 aspect ratio. But at home when you are watching 1080P and every screen you see is 16 x 9, may be there is a disconnect there. Perhaps the wiring behind the wall, in order to support the Technology Utility Horizon, really should be designed to support WUXGA so that we can have a 16 x 9 high resolution analog format.

What is the difference and do you need to choose now? The answer is absolutely we should choose now. This is based on the wiring choices that go into the wall. If we do not have the right wiring choices, then we cannot easily upgrade to the technology without getting into an entirely new investment in structured wiring. That is where there could be a breakdown. Classrooms are ready to upgrade their technology on a regular basis, but only if it does not require them to re-enter into a gigantic construction/bid phase to get things behind the walls. We need to make sure that the infrastructure supports the gear we use today, in addition to the equipment that is emerging and will be used tomorrow.

When we look at A/V connectivity- some schools are still using VHS and most of them have DVD-VHS combo players. When those were designed, they were designed around S-Video connectivity. Even component video technologies can only support 480I, the very lowest level of resolution. But what about that day when Blu-ray technologies and high definition technologies become a regular part of the classroom? And if you're asking when that will happen, just look at the DVD of Planet Earth and you will see what a valuable teaching tool that is and how immersive that is in an HD environment. What about wireless? How do we accommodate it in these classrooms? All of these things we have to think about when we look at infrastructure choices for the classroom.

In order to make these decisions, we must understand the various components. Let's start with one that is perhaps the least understood but the most common: the Interactive whiteboard. The Interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device, such as a stylus. It consolidate s the functionality of a video projector, data projector, mark-up utility, multi-user response terminal, scanner, input terminal - all of these things. In reality, an Interactive white board is more of a con cept. It can have a separate projector; it can have a board that has zero technology — meaning it is completely passive - but has USB tech nology in a stylus or interface device, or it could be a to uch-sensitive device that requires USB connectivity. It is the replacement for the chalkboard, for the projection screen, the TV, or the projector. In short it is the focal point of the information that is being delivered inside the classroom.

As such, the Interactive whiteboard has several components we need to think about. We may need to get video directly to the Interactive whiteboard; we certainly need to get video to the point where the projector is. We need to get connectivity for control systems into that classroom. Once again, depending on the whiteboard selected, it could be USB going directly to the whiteboard, USB going elsewhere in the classroom, or it could be a wireless control system. We have to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each of those so we can make good wiring decisions. In many ways an Interactive whiteboard is very similar to an Audio/Video Preamp/Processor in that everything connects up to it, and it is where you make your switching decisions and your decisions on how you're going to interface with your technology. So imagine if you had your Blu-ray at home, your satellite and cable box, your Nintendo Wii, all connected to your TV and it does all the switching. The Interactive whiteboard will do the same thing. It is that one control that allows you to access the content of all of these devices. As so, it is also the big-ticket item in classrooms.

But just because you put in an interactive whiteboard, does not mean you are going to get from it the results you want if you don't think in terms of how the wiring infrastructure is going to evolve over time. The best way to think of the wiring infrastructure in any educational environment, whether that's K-1 2, NGO, public works, in a business environment, is to think of it in terms of the teaching triangle.

In the teaching triangle there is a teacher's station - whether that is a teacher's desk, or a podium, or an area where the teacher will normally be while giving those lessons - that has to be integrated into the whiteboard. The teacher's station must also have integration into support technology. For instance, somewhere else in that classroom there may be a rack that has an amplifier or a pre-amplifier for the microphones. That might also be where there is a DVD player or satellite receiver. We need to have the technology connected to that. And finally we need to have support technology to the integrated white board. So when we think about it, inside of a classroom, we have there points of interest. We have the 1) interactive white board, which is the focal point of the classroom 2) we have the teacher's station which is where all of the content on the whiteboard will be controlled and will originate 3) we have supporting devices. Oh, and we must have cabling going between all three pieces that allows us to very easily decide what needs to go where without locking ourselves into something that is close ended or of a single variety that does not allow future growth. Video connectivity right now is primarily via D-sub 15 (we call that a VGA connector) - that is capable of supporting very high resolutions up to UXGA or even WUXGA (1920x1200). However, typically in a classroom we see traditional computer connectivity with a resolution of 1024 x768. If that is the installation being put in, that could be limiting the entire project.

It is okay to have a white board that is designed for 1024 x768, but let us not forget that the whiteboard has a finite lifetime and in several years this device may have reached the end of its natural life cycle and is being replaced by something bigger, flashier and more capable. But if the wiring in the wall does not support that new technology, we may end up tripling the price of that upgrade because we may have to go in and change wire infrastructure. Our infrastructure will have exceeded its Technology Utility Horizon and will have exhausted its utility. Peripheral video devices may require composite or component video connections, more commonly D-sub-15, and even more commonly they are requiring HDMI, DVID, and DisplayPort technology. Migration to that TMDS technology is inevitable.

Think about this. Not so long ago, Intel and AMD, the two largest chipmakers in the world, made an announcement saying that by the end of 2013 they would no longer be making chipsets that supported analog interface. Soon after, Samsung and LG made announcements that by the end of 2014 they would not be making panels or projectors that had analog inputs. This is all in anticipation of “Analog Sunset”- an outflow of the AACS (Advance d Access Control System) which is mandating our change to digital video technology. It is imperative to incorporate this digital video technology into any classroom design for future compatibility. That means you should be thinking about putting an HDMI cable from the teacher's station to the interactive whiteboard, even if it is not g oing to be used today. The challenge is that once it goes behind those walls, it becomes much more expensive to go in two or three years later and change that out. A good infrastructure design takes into account the size of all these conductors and makes sure we have appropriate wiring channels.

So understand that a DVI or an HDMI cable is not only additional wiring that has to be put into place, but it has some bulk to it as well. This can be especially important if we are using something like surface-mount technology such as wire-mold and we have to get a large amount of conductors into a small space. In those instances, a good design may leverage TMDS today, and up-sample analog to digital to become immediately compatible with future technology.

Let's take a look at those teacher's stations. A teacher's station connection plate typically consists of VGA with 3.5 mm audio, composite video + left and right, S-Video - which is constantly being put into these projects. I think this is wholly inappropriate and is entirely obsolete at this point in time. At the very least we should be using it as a removable connection, perhaps running it over a UTP (such as a Cat6 ) so we have the ability to upgrade it throug h the use of active devices to HDMI, DisplayPort, or DVID.

On the right of this plate is the USB. I will discuss this at length later, but I think it is important in classrooms that we take a look at USBs and that we have USB connectors that are on the wall instead of an RJ45 system network connector coming out to a Dongle USB. This is for a very simple reason: when it gets unplugged, it is very confusing as to where to plug in a USB when everything looks like an RJ45. So, on a connection plate like this we should be able to accommodate computer graphics and those should be accommodated over a cable capable of DDC and up to UXGA level resolution, as well as video from ancillary sources, while keeping some eye on the inevitable change to digital video. And we must provide capability for control through inserts that will give us USB, typically over a single UTP Cat5 or Cat6 unshielded twisted pair wire.

When we look at an interactive white board, a lot of times we don't have to think a bout the projector because the projector is part of the interactive whiteboard. We are going to get a screen and a projector ideally designed for each other to provide that size of an image with optimal brightness, typically in a short throw environment, so we do not have shadows between the projector and the screen. Sometimes, however, it is just not enough to say we get what comes in the box and that is how we have to live. Sometimes we have to look at a classroom and say hey, there is a better way to do this. And that means we have to make that decision: should a projector be integrated into an interactive whiteboard or should it be ceiling mounted? Clearly, if I have a very large classroom with 70 or 80 students, then a small 4x3 screen that has perhaps 60-70 inches of working space might be too small.

You would not go into a sports bar and watch a ball game on a 60-inch plasma TV from 50 feet away. Certainly, you would not be able to learn complex mathematics from that same distance; a larger screen would be needed in both cases. So in those in stances, perhaps we make the suggestion that an interactive whiteboard is a great idea, but we need a larger screen size and, therefore, we should go with a ceiling-mounted projector and a bigger screen. When we start talking about those things, we have to also be thinking about ambient light issues. We have to make sure our projector will work with our screen material to give us enough light output.

Keep in mind light output is very important to understand it changes over the course of the day. A classroom might look completely fine at 9 AM as it faces we stward windows. Then at 2 PM it might be completely useless as the sun starts streaming in if we do not put in some kind of light control on those windows. So we must be thinking about something as simple as this: if we put blinds on this window, we are going to get a better learning experience because we are going to get a much better level of resolution and a much better way to see that screen. Restaurants do the same thing for your level of comfort. We need to make sure we are putting that same kind of thought into any kind of education environment (K-12, corporate, house-of-worship, etc.) in which we are working.

Audio is very important. If we think in terms of how we interact with video in our everyday lives, we realize that television and movies are not very interesting without audio. The same is true, to some degree, in the classroom. In a classroom we should be thinking in terms of the audio from the source devices as well as the audio from the microphones. One of the things I like to point out is that it is always better to have more speakers playing at a lower volume than it is to have one or two speakers playing at a very high volume.

Let's relate it to a home theater setup. If you had a living room, dining room, family room and great room on one floor of your house, would you rather have one set of speakers in one of those rooms at a very high volume to play throughout the house or have a set of speakers in each room? Of course you would rather have it at a lower volume in each room because it will give you more comfort. So even in a classroom, it is better to put in two pairs of speakers instead of just one.

“One of the things that will continue to evolve through time is the continuing increase of the resolution of digital projectors [used in the classroom]. “

The higher the resolution, the easier it is to begin to have multiple work spaces that multiple students can participate in using a single computer.” Quoted from “Projecting the Future” by Ellen Kollie. This once again brings us back to that concept of going digital - l- DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort. The TMDS digital format will absolutely be coming to a classroom near you. It is a delicate signal, and it does require specialized connectivity products. So you cannot take your VGA connector and get an adaptor and make it digital. In fact, there is no way to move from the analog to the digital world without utilizing active devices that will fundamentally change the nature of a signal. It is very easy for us to take a device, and take VGA and up-sample it to HDMI and project it at a very high resolution.

It is impossible to buy a device that will allow you to take the HDMI output (DVD, satellite, cell phone etc.) from a player and down-convert it to VGA; that product is not made. So, in given a choice, we always want to aim for the higher level of connectivity, knowing that we can accommodate everything that came before it. When we talk about going digital, going to a TMDS infrastructure can be a very good choice if we can find a way to make it into the budget today. This is doubly important for things like computer labs, media labs, and presentation systems. Look at it this way , even for a middle school if we have a computer lab how hard is it going to be to run the right cables later?

There are two ways we can put in an “insurance policy” today. We can put in an HDMI wire, and I recommend HDMI over all others. HDMI is capable of supporting DVI-D and DisplayPort; these can all be asked to output an HDMI signal. If we need to put in an HDMI cable, then great; we have tons of ways to accommodate that. But, if there is no room in the budget for HDMI or you can not do it for some other reason, at the very least you sho uld be able to run an Unshielded Twisted Pair (either a Cat5 or a Cat6). Then at some point in the future you can use an active modem, such as an HDBase-T or one of the devices that we manufacture that runs on dual Cat5's to be able to provide that connectivity. If the wiring is there then it is just something that needs to be plugged in and hooked up. If the wiring is not there, then we have to go back to square one and look at a much more extensive installation with much higher costs. So for this higher resolution, digital video is very important, and the simple insurance policy is putting in that UTP wiring so that we can use it in the future. It will be more expensive to buy that active device to go over UTP in the future, but it will only cost you a few cents per foot now. If the budget only has that much left over, then putting in that insurance policy would certainly be an excellent way to go.

Every one of these systems also has the need for USB. USB (Universal Serial Bus) is the defacto control system for the classroom. USB is a way of setting up communication between a computer and its peripheral devices, up to 127 of them. We see this at home as we are connecting game pads, joysticks, scanners, digital cameras, printers, flash drives, etc. Interestingly enough, all of these things have place in an educational environment as well. Today we see a lot of systems that are being spent at USB 2.0 high speed which has a data rate of 480 M bit/S. In some instances certain designs are trying to use this USB 2.0 high speed to provide audio connectivity. At 480 mbit/s it might work on a small desktop system, but we really are at the limit and should keep audio separate from USB for most top-rate classroom installations. Devices are capable of falling back to full-speed operation if necessary; in other words, they are backward compatible. USB 3.0 is backward compatible, but none of the USB 1.1 or 2.0 devices is compatible with 3.0 cabling. So we really do not see USB 3.0 making its debut into the education environment for another few years. But right now, USB 2.0 is the standard to aim at even though most classrooms could be well served well through USB 1.1. The question is do you want to do this over Cat5 or through a basic US B connective cable. That is a decision based on operational distance, as USB connectivity lengths are limited to up to 15 feet. Beyond that you need to go to a USB super-booster or an active type cable. We have both of those up to 2.0 speeds that will take you up to 150 feet.

Wall plates or dongles can certainly be used and can be mixed and matched as needed. But never be limited by a single-port. You can easily upgrade to dual or quad bridge. You can even use USB and convert it to RS232 to control things like lighting and shades easily. And of course over that Cat5 you can go up to 150 feet and through plenty of environments without a problem.

I want to go back and talk a bit about USB. I mentioned the fact that with USB you can get a dongle, a Decora®-style wall plate, or keystone wall plates. I highly recommend that in the educational environment you look at either a Decora®-style wall plate or a keystone wall plate so that there is a USB connector in the wall. Not long ago I was asked to consult with a school system that was observing a 30% failure rate with their interactive whiteboards. Upon examination, I found out that the reason about 1/3 of the whiteboards were not working was because the USB controller was unplugged. Those controllers were properly installed using an RJ45 jack and Cat5 wiring behind the walls, a Cat5 jumper cable to a dongle to a USB cable plugged into a cable. And of course the first opportunity a student had to unplug all these cables, they did so. When looking around the classroom there were a donetwork connectors and no one quite knew whe re that one cable that came out should go back in. By replacing that in-wall RJ45 connector with an in-wall USB connector, you have really given the instructor an opportunity to look around and see there is only one place where that cable can possibly plug back in. In fact, when we did that in this school system, we found that 100% of the systems that we deployed became operational. As a result we actually ended up with 17 buildings worth of these in-wall installations.

The case for simplicity is because over-engineering makes systems difficult to use. One of the things I am not a proponent of is unnecessary Cat5 or Cat6 runs labeled Com1 or Com2 and going here, there and everywhere. We occasionally see things like cable television wiring going to a projector in the middle of the ceiling. Projectors do not have tuning so that wiring is going unused. The tuner is typically in the rack or the computer itself. A/V wiring going to the four corners of the classroom with the hope that someday someone will want to put something in there. We really have to look at these classrooms and think for the case of simplicity. How many places is it possible for the teacher to instruct the class? What are the different locations the whiteboard could go? We then decide on the orientation of the classroom and make simple installations that have the greatest amount of flexibility with the device s they can connect to rather than putting in a ton of runs in the hope that one day they might become useful.

I love this quote:

“You don't need to outdo the competition. It's expensive and defensive. Underdo your competition. We need more simplicity and clarity.”
Jason Fried, South by Southwest.

Efficiency is all about what is nice to have versus what you absolutely must have. Before someone asks, no you cannot just run Cat5 on every installation because that is going to limit resolution and opportunities. When we think in terms of Cat5, we have to think of 16 punch-down points every time we make a run. It is so easy to make a mistake with that, and how much do mistakes cost?

A simple error in making a solder or crimp connection can be a catalyst for lost profit or lost confidence from a client. There is an opportunity cost as well as the materials and the National Electric Code. So when we look at these systems, design them to be simple and robust and to reflect the teaching triangle. Design them so that they can accommodate high definition systems going forward, and you will really have an installation that will make a lot more sense.

Education facilities are part of nearly every new private and public sector project and interactive whiteboards are a core component of the education technology product palette. The “teacher's triangle” describes how classrooms are connected and the Technology Utility Horizon describes how long the wiring in the walls will be able to support the devices you intend to connect in that classroom. So we must always be thinking in terms of the teaching triangle and the Technology Utility Horizon of that installed structured wiring because a good structured wiring plan for an education-focused facility includes accommodations for emerging technologies and is a bridge between the legacy technology of yesterday, the product that we are using today, and the emerging technologies that our students, our future workers, will be using in the future.

This white paper is for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. C2G makes no guarantees, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information found in this document.