Phil Clark, head of projection at Casio UK, breaks down the growing presence of lamp-free projection in education and reveals the extra considerations that accompany products aimed at the education market.
Is the ongoing move towards laser projection technology accentuated in education, or less apparent than other sectors?
We’ve seen the move to lamp-free projection in education falls into two clear areas; primary/secondary, and higher/further education. The primary and secondary school markets have been a strong hold for Casio projectors thanks to their affordable price point and clear benefits over lamp-based alternatives.
For the teachers we work with in these schools, display technology is key. Lamp-free projection means lessons can be delivered with stunning visuals to add value to their curriculum, while at the same time making significant savings on energy consumption, maintenance and replacement parts.
Higher and further education is leading the charge when it comes to brighter and higher performance lamp-free projector models. Because of the wide and varied mixture of courses taken at university level, teaching spaces tend to be multi-purpose. There are many different uses for projection in the higher education space. Our UST Laser and LED projector is the perfect example of this. The University of Manchester used it to create rooms that can be used as both classroom and meeting spaces, while the Royal College of Art used it to supplement a student’s fashion project.
Due to the frequent usage and sheer number of projectors required in education, the trend towards lamp-free projection is obvious; however we’re seeing that the benefits offered by lamp-free displays can be appreciated across almost all verticals.
Are you now seeing a higher number of projects specifying Casio kit in the education or corporate sector?
In the education sector we regularly see tenders which specify 'lamp-free' technology. The benefits of laser and LED projection have been well established with schools; we’ve been providing a completely lamp-free line up for seven years now, so a lot of schools and frameworks understand the importance. By specifying lamp-free technology from the beginning of the purchasing journey, schools can guarantee fixed costs over a 20,000-hour lifetime without sacrificing performance.
In the corporate marketplace, we see that reduced power consumption, maintenance savings and warranty have really made a case for laser and LED projection and the number of tenders specifying lamp-free projection is increasing.
Do you find education institutions more price conscious than companies in other sectors?
Primary and secondary education is very price conscious. School budgets are often set out to cover a very short time period, and political changes can cause budgets to shrink and flex through that window. Therefore, school ICT and network managers and purchasing teams strive to find the most future-proof products that deliver the best value over the longer-term. The entry level is where schools are pushed the most, and this is where Casio has been strongest.
The benefits of lamp-free technology such as 50% power savings, no replacement parts, and extremely low maintenance have helped to make a case for the use of lamp-free technology in this area, which is a great roadmap to follow for other industries.
How much does the focus on ease of use with education products, affect the functionality/performance of a product?
There is a strong focus on ease of use of products in the classroom, in part because of the variety of teachers and students using the product. Every end user has a different presentation or learning style so the best education technology needs to be a simple blank canvas for the creativity and knowledge base of the people in the room.
Laser and LED projection has been a game changing product in education because it doesn’t just provide this simplicity; it also greatly increases the reliability of the projector. Going lamp-free means that teachers know that their projectors will turn on and off instantly, that they will have consistent and constant brightness, and that maintenance is reduced to an absolute minimum, thus reducing down time in lessons.
Tell us about a recent installation project that highlights Casio’s expertise in the education sector.
A great example of how schools are using laser and LED projection to their advantage is the work we have done with Hounsdown School, a dedicated specialist science and leadership comprehensive school near New Forest. They used laser and LED projection as a way to advance their own sustainability initiatives, providing greater value to the school as a whole. The school’s Eco Club, a well attended extracurricular group, worked to identify ways for the school to upgrade its green credentials. Moving to completely lamp-free projection was an obvious choice for them. This move saves 50% on electricity versus traditional lamp-based projectors plus negating the requirement for lamp replacement meaning Hounsdown school has successfully removed harmful mercury lamps from the environment.
Steve March, IT consultant HCC for Hounsdown School helped to drive the change and noted why it was so significant to the school: “I am a long standing veteran of Casio and laser and LED projection, having had one of the first Green Slim projectors that launched in 2010 in the first container to be shipped to the UK!
“From an operational perspective, making the switch to laser and LED projectors has saved us significant maintenance time, as there are no lamps or filters to change and the projectors can be placed on a timer to automatically power off at the end of the teaching day. The fact that the Casio laser and LED projectors also contain no mercury is a bonus, as removing this harmful and extremely hazardous chemical from the school environment is something that we are striving for.
“Everyone at the school loves the laser and LED hybrid projectors as they retain their brightness over a long period of time, have an excellent contrast ratio and are really easy to use. They also contribute greatly to our sustainability scheme overall."