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Featured Product: Sony SuperSmart Has Mind of its Own

What if you could walk into a classroom to make a media-rich presentation, and not have to fumble with cables, wait for the projector to warm up, or search through a set of files on your laptop for the right material? What if you could simply walk in and begin? What would you do with all of that extra time? A new line of networkable projectors aims to take the guesswork—except perhaps what to do with that additional five minutes of teaching time—out of presentations.

Developed by Sony, the SuperSmart projector series is networkable, meaning that the projector can be assigned an IP address and linked to the university LAN. Because it’s networked, the projector can send and receive data, store files, and produce them on demand. Users can upload, store, and access any file they need, including Microsoft Word files, Excel worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, and JPEG, bitmap, or GIF images.

“With this technology, a professor who’s building a presentation can simply send the files through the LAN,” said Robert Meakin, marketing manager for Sony. “When he or she gets to class, the material is already loaded and ready to use.” This greatly simplifies classroom start-up. Says Meakin, “All you have to do is turn on the projector, find the presentation, and go.”

The SuperSmart series projectors include an on-board Windows CE computer so that users can browse the Internet without the use of a PC. In the classroom, participants can also access content from anywhere on the network. No other software is required to get immediately connected to the campus LAN.

What’s more, the SuperSmart projectors offer tremendous savings for administrators. The projector’s functions are all controllable from the LAN. This allows administrators, sitting in one location, to operate, diagnose, and troubleshoot a projector in another building. In fact, they can monitor several projectors at the same time. Being able to diagnose a problem from a remote location saves time and staffing. “A professor can call the tech person from the classroom where he or she is having trouble, and the administrator can identify the problem for the professor,” said Meakin. “Sometimes the administrator can even correct the problem remotely.”

The SuperSmart series includes several models. The 4000 ANSI lumen VPL-FE110 projector is designed to take center stage in auditoriums, while Sony’s VPL-FX51 features 5200 ANSI lumens and is best used in mid-to-large size lecture halls. The VPL-PX35 and VPL-PX40 are mid-sized classroom models featuring 2600 and 3500 lumens, respectively. For smaller classrooms, Sony’s 2000 ANSI lumen model, the VPL-PX15 unit is optimal as it can also be fitted with a short-throw lens. Each of these LCD projectors is XGA or SXGA resolution.

Sony also offers an optional software program, called PJNet! network projector management software, which allows a university to centralize the administration of its AV and IT support services. PJNet! emails or pages the administrator whenever trouble occurs. It notifies administrators about lamp hour usage, filter cleaning needs, and projector warnings and errors. Through the software, administrators can detect projectors, turn them on or off, set projectors to power on and off at particular times, and access projector web pages. PJNet! even has a built-in theft detection device. If someone disconnects the projector from the network, PJNet! will notify the administrator. PJNet can control up to 255 projectors at a time.

According to Meakin, PJNet! can control some seemingly mundane functions, saving universities a great deal of money. “Just by programming PJNet! to turn off the projectors at a particular time, a university increases its return on investment,” he says. Controlling on and off times saves bulbs, reduces energy demand, and lessens the need for air conditioning, since the projectors, which warm rooms, will be off when not in use.

The VPL-PX35 and VPL-PX40 models also include a direct power feature. This protects the unit in case it is unplugged before it has cooled off. The projector will continue to operate its fan until the unit is safely cooled down, even though the power from the outlet has been cut off. This is particularly important in rooms where the projector is powered on and off via a wall switch.

Sony says it is committed to providing the higher education market with a projector it d'esn’t have to fumble with. And you don’t even have to remember to turn it off on your way out.

For more information, contact Sony Electronics, Park Ridge New Jersey,

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