It used to be that a projector would be wheeled in on a cart and you had to have a USB cable to connect your laptop and display your PowerPoint or video. Nowadays, you are far more likely to find an RJ45 networking port allowing, through an Ethernet connection, the ability to control, monitor and send images across the network.
Essentially, today’s projectors and displays have evolved from standalone devices to active participants on the network making them more flexible as well as much easier to maintain and enhance. Personnel can access user interfaces to monitor them as well as add software via user interfaces that are either downloaded from the manufacturer or a third party. Networked digital signage can actually be on the cloud as well, allowing facilities to, in essence, rent server space, rather than housing it themselves.
Time consuming activities can now be performed in minutes, and remotely, so tasks such as troubleshooting or shutting down projectors throughout a large facility can now be done with just a few clicks of a mouse. Updated menus in the cafeteria or schedules in the student union can be quickly uploaded to digital displays from a laptop or computer located across campus or even off-site. Collaboration also benefits with the ability to content share to projectors.
With networks becoming faster and faster, software becoming smarter and projectors and digital signage continuing to make technological advancements, there’s much room for improvement. Education has much to gain from the evolution of previously independent, static equipment and students will continue to reap the benefits.