Arizona State University


Arizona State University

Arizona state university utilizes Panasonic projectors for minimal maintenance and high return on investment.


The Arizona State University Technology Offices suffered from major maintenance requirements and poor lamp life among their projectors across four campuses. This resulted in a major resource drain, increased downtime and a low ROI.


Panasonic's reseller partners equipped Arizona State University with approximately 150 projectors of different models, all providing minimal maintenance and up to 5,000 hours of lamp life.


Arizona State University immediately noticed a change in performance and a drastic drop in maintenance needs. This resulted in a greater ROI, less downtime and significantly less strain put upon the ASU Technology Offices.

Originally named the Tempe Normal School, Arizona State University (ASU) was founded in 1885, in Tempe, Arizona. ASU’s colleges, schools and departments are spread across four campuses: the Tempe campus in Tempe, Arizona, the West campus in northwest Phoenix, the Polytechnic campus in eastern Mesa, and the Downtown Phoenix campus in downtown Phoenix. Each campus hosts a unique set of colleges and schools, offering both undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition to the physical campuses, ASU includes a fifth “virtual campus” for online and extended education.

Sean Snitzer, Tech Support Analyst Coordinator in ASU’s Technology Office, recommends audiovisual equipment on campus. Over the past 10 years, Sean has deployed over 350 projectors from various manufacturers across classrooms and meeting rooms, as well as large venues at the University. Even the most successful audiovisual projects and products require maintenance. Over the years, it became a goal for Sean and his team to find product opportunities or service agreements on products to reduce the maintenance requirements for a large campus.

A major issue revolved around manually cleaning projectors’ filters. For example, just to perform one maintenance job, ASU staff would spend at least 15 minutes on the task. The procedure involved checking a busy classroom schedule, carrying a ladder to a given classroom—often through groups of students—and providing filter service. This was a standard process for each projector across all four campuses, occurring approximately once per semester, resulting in a major resource drain. It also increased the solutions’ downtime. In a school year, ASU staff spent approximately 10,500 minutes on the task, which translates into seven days per year spent on filter maintenance alone.

In addition to filter maintenance, better lamp performance was crucial due to the poor lamp life of many projectors. ASU staff needed to keep an inventory of different lamps for a variety of projectors at all times. This was also a cost-incurring obstacle for ASU. Ultimately, the projectors Sean’s team used delivered a high TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and low ROI (Return on Investment), simply due to ongoing maintenance requirements. For example, the average cost of a lamp is $350 apiece, and this quickly adds up when lamps need to be replaced more frequently than manufacturers’ claims. In fact, some lamps needed to be replaced at 50% of life expectancy due to loss of brightness. On average, Sean’s team would replace 30-40% of lamps in ASU’s projector inventory in a year.

Sean and his team looked at a number of options and turned to Panasonic Solutions Company’s reseller partners Technology Providers Incorporated (TPI) and Audio Video Resources (AVR), and deployed approximately 150 projectors, including PT-FW300NTU, PT-F200U and PT-FW100NTU models. The department also purchased Panasonic’s PT-DZ6700U projector for large venues.

Immediately, Sean saw a noticeable change in performance of Panasonic’s solutions and a drastic drop in maintenance needs.


"In 2007, I installed the Panasonic PT-FW100NTU projector in the school’s CIO’s office," said Sean Snitzer, Support Analyst Coordinator at ASU University Technology Office. "Since then, my team hasn’t had to perform any maintenance on it at all. Panasonic made a number of engineering changes that dramatically improved products versus the competition. The projector simply works."

With Panasonic lamps lasting up to 5,000 hours versus competitive solutions that last 1,500-2,000 hours, and the ability of the Panasonic lamp design to maintain upwards of 85% of its brightness over its life span, it is clear that Panasonic’s technology offers the greatest ROI for ASU. Sean notes that Panasonic’s lamp standardization is a valuable and welcomed change. The unique fact that one lamp can be used on a number of projectors in the same size range, according to Sean, has been a noticeable cost-saving feature for the University, minimizing potential excess funding on lamps as projection units become end-of-life. The PT-DZ6700U and PT-FW300NTU projectors have the ACF (Auto-Cleaning Filter) feature, which eliminates the tedious task of manual filter cleaning that Sean and his team have to perform on competitors’ solutions. For example, with chalkboards in older classrooms, there is a significant amount of dust generated. With the ACF, Sean’s team doesn’t need to perform any maintenance on the products, which translates into a big time-saver. A sample life span of Panasonic’s filter is around 10,000 hours (over a full year of 24/7 use), which further alleviates maintenance tasks across the campus. Sean found that competitors’ solutions required up to 10–20 filter cleanings and/or replacements over the same time frame.

With Panasonic’s 2x zoom lens and the horizontal/vertical lens shift feature, Sean and his team can move a projector to a new room with a different setup and place it in an existing mount. This enables the ASU team to make the most of its projector use without having to buy a new projector at a much greater cost. Before making a purchasing decision, Sean’s team now takes into consideration maintenance issues and replacement parts’ costs as well as the effect classroom downtime has on the class curriculum and impact on students’ learning. The main goal for Sean’s department is to provide a consistent end-user experience for ASU faculty and students with the best ROI possible, minimizing classroom downtime and maintenance hours, while providing solutions that offer optimum performance. As its other projectors reach end-of-life, the team plans to standardize on Panasonic projectors across 517 classrooms, whenever possible.

"Our team needs to check ladders in and out, walk to different classrooms, carry compressed air canisters, manually clean filters and replace lamps and lenses on a number of projectors," said Sean Snitzer, Support Analyst Coordinator at ASU Technology Office.

"It is very hard to maintain large deployments, especially across a variety of classrooms and campuses. When performing maintenance on technology solutions, there are a number of considerations for us to make, including tight classroom schedules. Panasonic’s projectors just do their job; they almost don’t require any of us to touch them— which is key for us. These projectors are as close to perfect as possible."