Control and Automation Tips from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

An interview with Marko Jarymovych, IT Director for Public Technology.

Control and Automation Tips from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Marko Jarymovych, IT Director of Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses his school’s approach technology upgrades:

What are some best practices you can recommend?

  • Standardize as much as possible. Wharton has 15 different architectural types encompassing classrooms, auditoriums of different sizes, and other spaces. To simplify management and maintenance, Wharton works to standardize the AV environment for each of those 15 types. Wharton also standardized on a single controller vendor.
  • When Wharton is planning new spaces and upgrades, it works closely with vendors. They may have new or updated solutions coming that would be a better fit than what is currently available. They don’t want to install and find out that they have to retrofit or upgrade six months later.
  • All events, venues, controllers, and edge devices are tied into Active Directory. Wharton tracks which buttons are pressed, how often a bulb is changed, and develops room checks that generate e-mail messages for the ticketing system. APIs in the AV management systems provide access for third-party developers to craft custom control code.
  • Until you bring a controller supervision solution into your own network environment, interface it with your own code, and test it completely, there is no guarantee it will work.

What are the tough issues you encounter?

  • Access to the spaces are a big issue. Things break, and we can’t predict that.
  • Version control of the software we use, whether from the AV vendor or third-party developer is a challenge. We want all spaces to be on the same version of software to simplify management and problem resolution.

What’s a top trend that you see?

  • The biggest trend and challenge is the convergence of AV and IT. Whoever is developing your AV system better know .NET, SQL, and the APIs and database calls necessary to tie into event scheduling, asset management, accounting, and other software, including Microsoft Active Directory and e-mail servers.

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