The University of Helsinki enhances education with Kramer AV

The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland. Established in 1640, it now has 31,000 students and nearly 10,000 employees across four campuses and 11 faculties in Helsinki, with an additional 10 locations, including campuses and research stations overseas. Highly competitive, it regularly ranks among the top 100 universities in the world.

The University of Helsinki was looking for a wireless presentation solution to avoid cable clutter, provide more versatile presentation opportunities to students, and facilitate more convenient meeting experiences.

“We had already acquired a wireless presentation solution from a Kramer competitor,” says Jyri Poittinen, Head of AV services, University of Helsinki Property Services. “But the previous vendor was operating on an open network, and there were significant data security issues, with about 200 security attacks reported daily.”

Beyond the serious security and privacy implications, this was causing the IT department immense frustration. The university also wanted to be able to use different meeting platforms with the wireless presentation solution natively, and to enjoy collaboration and remote control – all with an easy user experience.

The solution

The University of Helsinki switched its presentation solution to Kramer wireless technology, installing 150 VIA Connect Plus presentation and collaboration units, together with the VIA Site Management server. The university chose VIA, a wireless solution, primarily because of its strong security functions, the competitive price of the gateways, and the affordability of VIA Site Management, which has no yearly maintenance fees. Today, Kramer VIA is used in the university’s meeting rooms and some auditoriums, with constant expansion taking place. Following years of great success with VIA Connect Plus, the university has begun upgrading all units to VIA Connect2.

The Value

Switching to Kramer meant an upgrade in capabilities, as VIA has many features that were not available with the university’s previous system. Among them, wireless video conferencing and collaboration, and the ability to use Microsoft Teams and Zoom natively from VIA are particularly big advantages for users. The IT department greatly values the remote, centralized deployment, management, and configuration, and the easy user experience due to centralized software package distribution.

“In addition to the clear price-to-quality ratio inherent in the Kramer solution, the university has been able to save on cabling costs and has been able to modify its premises into more transformative spaces for education,” says Jyri. “For example, the main building has been able to be fitted-out fully wirelessly, since microphones are also wireless today. There is no need for fixed tables anymore. And the low latency in video conferencing improves quality.”

Beyond those significant benefits, it’s the convenience and security of the Kramer VIA system that Jyri is most enthusiastic about. “Kramer’s VIA is easy to use, can be managed remotely, and the VIA app for PC users is especially user-friendly,” he says. “Operating on a closed network with frequent firmware updates, the solution has also proven to be data secure,” he elaborates.

Feedback from users has been predominantly positive and the University’s IT department is satisfied with the improved data security and remote management.

Having successfully upgraded its presentation solution with Kramer, the university is continuing to expand and enhance its AV capabilities. “We are expanding all the time,” says Jyri. “We have been focusing on expanding our current facilities to be suitable for hybrid teaching methods, and we want to enhance our teamwork facilities.”

As for recommendations for colleagues and other universities considering their options for a new AV solution, Jyri concludes: “You should investigate different options very carefully and test devices in real-life scenarios. Personally, there are three different things I’m looking for when considering these decisions – remote firmware updating, available product support, and that the lifecycle of the chosen products is long enough.” All areas that, in his assessment, Kramer has successfully met. The current program to upgrade all VIA Connect Plus units with the newer VIA Connect2 is a solid indication of the university’s satisfaction.

No more articles