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Here’s to view: Speakman 200 features video wall, cutting-edge projection system

December 1st, 2010 //

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115, blausch@temple.edu

Talk about a room with a view.

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The Fox School’s Management Information Systems (MIS) department recently transformed Speakman Hall Room 200 from a traditional classroom into a high-tech meeting and events space that features wireless projectors, innovative lighting, large whiteboards and easily movable furniture.

The room’s most stunning feature: A full wall that’s capable of displaying one large projection or up to a dozen smaller laptop-driven images simultaneously.

That means 12 people can use their laptops from anywhere in the room to connect wirelessly to a projection system that allows them to display all of their images at once on a wall that’s more than 21 feet long and 5 feet wide.

And there’s no need for specialized laptops. Just take a few minutes to download a software program and go.

“That kind of flexibility, there is no lab like this anywhere in the world,” MIS Chairman Munir Mandviwalla said. “And we did it for less than half the cost of a normal tech-enabled classroom.”

In addition to the video wall and three wireless projectors – made by Optoma – the room also features innovative tables and chairs from the HON Company that can easily nest with one another and be wheeled into storage or around the room to create a breakout space. David Spiegel, of Audio General, Inc., served as the systems integrator for Optoma and other related projection equipment.

“The concept of flexible spaces has been around for a long time, but it is only now that technologies such as wireless projection and furniture such as the HON tables have converged to make these spaces feasible and convenient,” Mandviwalla said.

Speakman 200, within minutes, can transform from a wide-open event space into a meeting room or a breakout group model. The room’s power outlets are embedded into the floor and encourage flexibility by keeping wires close to workstations instead of snaking to walls and creating barriers for movement.

The lighting uses simple baffles to direct light downward and reduce glare rather than relying on complex and expensive custom fixtures.

The room, a year-and-a-half in the making, was finished earlier this year and benefited from partnerships with Temple’s purchasing and computer services groups. Within a month, MIS Coordinator of Technology Manoj Chacko had already identified a video upgrade to further improve performance at a lower cost. And for MIS, that’s the point: technology that’s easy to use and low in cost.

“Everything becomes faster, smaller, more integrated and more flexible. That’s been the history of computing,” Mandviwalla said. “And in the creation of smart spaces, we are the prime example of leveraging it.”

– Chelsea Calhoun