Bringing Control to the Classroom

The problem facing many K-12 classrooms these days is integrating its AV products effectively. A classroom may have all the AV tools--such as a projector, DVD player, iPod, document camera, interacti 8/06/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

Bringing Control to the Classroom

Aug 6, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

Calypso Control Systems ezRoom classroom bundle

The problem facing many K-12 classrooms these days is integrating its AV products effectively. A classroom may have all the AV tools—such as a projector, DVD player, iPod, document camera, interactive whiteboard, and classroom computer—but lacks an affordable control system that brings a cohesive ease of use. To address the issue, Calypso Control Systems, an AV manufacturer based in Hudson, Wis., has introduced the ezRoom classroom bundle. With prices starting at $1,999, Calypso's ezRoom bundle offers open architecture control, user interface, audio amplification, and connectivity in one solution.

"In 2007, our company had products installed in 7,500 classrooms," says David Parish, president of Calypso Control Systems. "After meeting to discuss the current market, it was clear that the biggest challenge was making sure the classroom AV was integrated smoothly. We left the meeting with the task to help shape AV for an integrated room."

The standard ezRoom package includes the ION-LT2 controller, Calypso's CA-1000 32W four-input amplifier, the CB-1000 wall-mount button panel, Cat-5 AV wall plates, encore! user interface software, Maestro admin monitoring software, and a universal ceiling projector mount. The pre-assembled package does not include input sources or a computer. "The ezRoom bundle is a price benefit for customers. It is shipped as a prewired solution, which also saves on labor costs," says Parish, who points out that most of ezRoom's wiring uses standard RJ-45 Ethernet cables to minimize any installation mistakes.

Dealers can use the encore! user interface software to create a custom user interface for the classroom computer. Parish adds that teachers will often use the classroom's interactive whiteboard as a projection surface and use it like a big control board. In addition, the ION-LT2 is network-capable and, coupled with the Maestro monitoring software, it gives school administrators the ability to monitor the AV equipment for maintenance and theft.

Bringing Control to the Classroom

Aug 6, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

"Calypso manufactures a variety of products for the classroom. We started with device control and how to make control functions easy and intuitive. As we experienced increased success, we developed other types of products like wireless microphones, audio amplifiers, and CATV tuners," Parish says. "For classrooms who already have installed technology, the bundle may not always be appropriate, but Calypso sells each piece separately as well."

Most notably, the ezRoom bundle is based on an open architecture design that can work with any platform and most any devices found in a K-12 classroom. "An important aspect to ezRoom is connectivity, which can be expensive and difficult depending on the project," Parish says. "ezRoom is compatible with all projectors and standard AV gear and has the flexibility to adapt and expand as classroom technology needs change."

Teachers can also use a networked ezRoom system to contact technical support and have a two-way conversation to resolve the issue.

The standard ezRoom includes the CA-1000 amplifier with four inputs. Parish notes that classrooms typically use a DVD player, computer, microphone, and an iPod or other music source.

Calypso introduced the new CA-1000SV amplifier at InfoComm. The new amplifier includes the same four inputs but with the added capability to stream audio from the network in either WMA or MP3 format. The CA-1000SV uses Barix IPAM 200 decoding modules for integrated audio decoding and amplification. The two companies are working in conjunction with software provider SchoolView Technologies to offer their CampusSV system.

The ezRoom bundle can also work with a school's existing paging or bell system when combined with the SchoolView CampusSV software, and the CA-1000SV is in use. "Many classrooms have redundant systems with a 70V paging system and the classroom audio system; that compromises cost and quality," Parish says. "Now you can page with one system, using single or group IP addresses."

Parish also says that ezRoom takes the guesswork out of small-room design and installation with the ability to configure systems more quickly with consistent results. Although they are geared for the K-12 market, Parish says, "Our products can definitely fit into higher education market from a technology perspective. K-12 is at the beginning of a growth cycle and is more of an open market. Usually, there is no incumbent manufacturer that dominates a classroom. Similar to the higher education market, often there is an incumbent in place because they have been using AV products for more than 10 years."

Currently shipping, the ezRoom classroom bundle is sold solely through Calypso Control System's dealer network.

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