The printing and imaging environment for academic staff at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) has undergone a radical refresh, delivering exceptional multifunctionality and greater control to the institute’s IT department.
Deployed by MJ Flood and based on a variety of market-leading Konica Minolta devices, the refresh has enabled IT staff at the institute to standardise the print environment, provide exceptional printing and imaging capability and offer staff more reliability with greater device uptime – all without capital expenditure.
With more than 6,000 students and 630 academic staff, the institute’s printing and imaging environment is a critical piece of IT infrastructure in terms of programme delivery. Maresa Kelly, senior technical officer, explains the driver behind the project: “We had a situation where a variety of printing and imaging devices from various vendors were slowly creeping onto the network. Machines were quickly going end of life and we were concerned with stock wastage and on-going support. From an IT perspective, we felt we had to standardise on one manufacturer and avail of a pay-per-click deal which would encompass consumables, spare parts and post-sales support,” she adds.
Following a competitive tender process which considered up to 10 individual submissions, MJ Flood and Konica Minolta were selected to fulfil the project.
Higher quality print – flexible accessibility
MJ Flood deployed 33 colour and mono Konica Minolta multifunction devices throughout the campus, meeting the requirement that no member of staff be more than a 20-seconds walk from a printing/imaging device. Each device provides the ultimate in multifunctionality, with printing, copying and scanning on demand. Konica’s Simitri HD polymerised toner achieves an image quality second to none with razor-sharp text and lines, colours that don’t fade, and a smooth and highly durable print finish, ensuring longer-lasting prints.
“Follow Me” print ensures academic staff can call off any print job from any device on campus, boosting flexibility and productivity. “When staff want to access a device, they simply swipe their card or enter their network username and password,” explains Kelly. “Authentication back to our Active Directory grants universal access to all staff without tying them to particular machines.”
All of the Konica Minolta devices have been fitted with lockable paper trays which are aesthetically pleasing and which integrate neatly with the design of the units.
Greater management control
Powerful reporting software based on the YSoft technology platform was integrated onto the Konica Minolta device panel using open API (application programming interface).
“YSoft gives the institute full visibility on print volumes and device usage,” according to Feilim O’Heinigh, senior technical consultant at MJ Flood. “Staff can now see who is printing, what, when and where. Monthly reports are made available to finance, which are then distributed to each individual department. While the institute doesn’t currently use a departmental cross-charge model, it does have the capability to introduce it in the future,” he adds.
Similarly, YSoft creates alerts as paper or toner levels are running low. Two institute staff, charged with monitoring the print environment, can re-stock machines, avoiding downtime and pre-empting problems before they occur.
Alignment with overall IT strategy
“Our printing and imaging environment aligns itself extremely well with our overall IT strategy at the institute,” explains Peter McAleer, IT manager. “It delivers control and predictability for future IT planning. It has also dramatically reduced the workload on the IT department, cutting the number of help-desk calls by approximately 20pc. Like most organisations, IT budgets are under pressure and this allows us to deliver more with less and concentrate valuable resources on projects which are more strategic in nature,” he adds.
Assessing the success of the project
Scanning functionality is one of the most successful elements of the project, offering speed and versatility. “Scanning integrates really well with the institute’s e-learning environment,” explains McAleer. “We actively encourage staff to upload assignments, course notes or other documentation to our ‘Moodle’ system, where students can download at will. This cuts down on printing volumes and helps the environment,” he adds.
“We have had an extremely positive reaction to the new environment,” explains Kelly. “One academic commented to me recently that this was the single best piece of technology introduced to the institute since she joined the staff. I think that’s a real testament to the success of the project,” she adds.
Why MJ Flood?
“MJ Flood is easy to do business with,” comments Kelly. “Their approach to our project is to share their knowledge and help us to become self-sufficient, which in itself was very refreshing. In addition, I would encourage any educational institution to look at a leasing option rather than purchase. Pay per click is a compelling proposition and allows us to enjoy the benefits now without the on-going overheads of toner purchase, spare parts replacement or technical support.”
At a Glance
Organisation: Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT)
Industry: Third-level education
Organisation profile: AIT is home to more than 6,000 students from around Ireland and the globe. A wide range of undergraduate and post-graduate programmes are available in business, humanities, engineering and science. Some €100m has been invested in its campus since 2000, ensuring that students experience a world-class education with cutting-edge facilities.
Business challenge: To provide a high quality, flexible and reliable printing and imaging infrastructure for the academic staff of AIT, ensuring that no staff member is further than a 20-seconds walk from a printing/imaging device.
- Campus-wide device refresh consisting of 4 x bizhub 751s, 18 x bizhub 363s, 9 x bizhub C552s and 2 x bizhub 950.
- Configuration of all devices to the academic network with authentication to Active Directory for user accounts.
- Installation of aesthetically-pleasing, lockable paper trays.
- Integration of YSoft management software with full reporting on volumes and usage.
- Four-year lease deal with competitive click-per-copy rates, including consumables and support.
- Standardised printing and imaging environment with no capital expenditure required.
- Full reporting with detailed volume analysis.
- Equal user access for all staff members.
- Staff can print jobs from any device on campus with “Follow Me” print capability.
- Increased uptime on all devices with improved reliability and pre-emptive restocking of paper and toner.
The Konica Minolta C552 is ideal for large work groups and busy departments, combining advanced technology, amazing versatility and absolute reliability with an attractive, futuristic InfoLine design. The unit’s comprehensive communication capabilities are matched by above-their-class colour and b/w quality and are entirely ecofriendly.
- Copy and Print A4 Up to 55/45 cpm (mono/colour) with scan speed up to 78/78 opm mono/colour and resolution of 600 x 600 dpi.
- Standard 100-sheet stapling, covers of up to 209 gsm and 3,100 sheet output capacity. Upgradable with z-fold unit, post inserter, job separator, 2/4-hole auto switching punch kit and saddle kit for ”unlimited” booklet and letter fold production.
Convenience and operability. The large, full-colour touchscreen display offers the ultimate in convenience and user operability.
Economical to run. Simitri HD polymerised toner achieves exceptional image quality with lower toner consumption.
Impressive eco-performance. The C552 has the lowest energy consumption values in its class. Low power and sleep mode add to its eco-friendly design.
Photo: Left to right, Peter McAleer, IT manager, Athlone Institute ofTechnology; Maresa Kelly, senior technical officer, AIT; and Feilim O’Heinigh, senior technical consultant, MJ Flood
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