Universal Classroom Design

I’ve seen thousands of automated classrooms. Take away 10 percent of these as super exotic for law schools and medical schools and what’s left are pretty much the same within every room type.  Classrooms I’m referring to here, and we write control code to make them work and I think there is a better way that we can all benefit. No offense to the designers out there that follow the needs of their customers, or to the campus planners in search of Classroom 2.0, but truth is, after years of doing this work, I’m convinced a universal classroom design is long overdue. Contrary to popular belief, it’s practical to the end users for these reasons;

  • The reduction in cost of control code should be half or more when volume picks up.
  • The elimination of lingering bugs greatly increases User Satisfaction and removes early usage delays.
  • Increased User Satisfaction because they use the same room controls in room space after space across many buildings and campuses.
  • Energy usage goes down because of included lighting control and room occupancy reports to HVAC system.
  • Complete Solution packages can be created which will further reduce equipment costs.

I believe its good business for Integrators for these reasons;

  • The cost of installation can be reduced by ¼ and perhaps as much as 1/3  because the install teams become familiar with the system and  there are fewer mistakes.
  • The potential for design errors goes to zero.
  • Service and Support are enhanced since the support desks are more familiar with the product.
  • Customer Satisfaction goes up greatly since they know exactly what they are getting, and know that new features are always coming with next release.
  • Planned upgrade schedules link the customer closer to the integrator.
  • Potential recurring revenue streams from integrated Digital Signage

These are some of the barriers to advancing the Automated Classroom Product;

  • Campus planners are convinced “their” room is unique. Yes this could be true, but there is a 90% chance your space fits into a pre-coded classroom application.
  • Integrators don’t want to pass up the potential software margins. However the bottom line costs off-set the profits by the additional undocumented man hours associated with delays from;
  • poorly qualified developers
  • expected bugs – All software has bugs, especially custom software.
  • hardware interface communications challenges
  • weak work scopes that leave room for misinterpretation
  • … etc.

Designers don’t want to pass up potential design hours. The high end or exotic spaces still need all that design time, but the cookie cutter spaces are cut and pasted every day, so there is little lost and much satisfaction to be gained.

In conclusion a dedicated software application is the right answer in an economy that needs more right answers.

Richard Blackwell
“Remote Control, Remote Mgt, Remote Support.”