The size of Mobile County school district meant that pricing would be a chief concern. To mitigate costs, they referred to the Alabama Joint Purchasing State Contract (ALJP) for equipment and services required and an approved vendor. Any vendor they chose would need to be capable of handling the many different aspects typical of a project of this size, including installation, storage, supply chain logistics, transport and disposal of old equipment. Additionally, district decision makers were interested in cultivating a 2-way, relationship-based partnership, one with open communication and, of course, references of completed projects that were similar in scope.
Howard Technology Solutions was chosen for this project. Mobile County had expressed interest in finding a vendor that would work alongside their IT staff rather than trying to take the lead, and the opportunity was presented to them at a statewide educational technology conference.
Howard representative, Tanner Stewart, explained. “From the very beginning, we communicated with the manufacturer (Viewsonic) and the installation team to make sure all the customer’s questions and concerns were answered and handled in the most efficient way possible. In fact, there was consistent communication with the customer from vendors, manufacturers, and installers on a weekly and sometimes daily basis to ensure we were meeting all their needs and expectations.”
The plan included Viewsonic Interactive Flat Panels for each classroom on all 90 campuses—3600—within the Mobile County public school system, allowing teachers to utilize some of the newest forms of educational technology on a day-to-day basis. In turn, the expectation is that it will increase student engagement and performance, leading to greater achievement.
According to Howard representative, Mike Mizer, “This is a really big project. We’ve been working with the district on it since September of 2021. The order was placed in December of 2021, and the IFPs started shipping toward the end of March of 2022. From start to finish, we anticipated the project would take up to 4-6 months depending on supply chain.”
According to Robert Gray, Telecommunications manager for Mobile County, “Working with Howard and Viewsonic, months of preparation were required long before the first pallet of panels hit our loading docks. Project lead, Gary McGilberry, handled numerous critical details such as coordinating deliveries and installation schedules, all the way down to specifics that would seem mundane, but really aren’t, such as dumpster locations and recycling. Our executive director of technology even created an app to allow us to centrally store and document information ahead of time about every panel installation, including features such as pictures, wall materials and classroom conditions during our project development site visits. Howard Technology Solutions and their installation team made a project of this scale as seamless as it possibly could be, working closely with us every step of the way. Our entire department was involved in the deployment, and the impact it has had is gratifying and obvious in every classroom you walk into now, where the panel is the focus of instruction.”
Teachers, students, and IT staff are all benefiting from the new Viewsonic Interactive Displays. The Viewsonic flat panel displays provide an all-in-one education solution for each class that is easy to implement and easy to use; everything is there; just connect to your computer and get going.
The displays require far less setup and maintenance than projector-based systems. They are easily upgradeable, as needed, to best support the learning requirements of each class, grade-level, and specialized curriculum. And not least of all, they last far longer than other interactive display types, which increases ROI.
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About Howard Technology Solutions:
Howard Technology Solutions is a division of Howard Industries, a billion-dollar, privately held company headquartered in Ellisville, Mississippi. Known for its cost-effective approach to providing and producing reliable, high-quality technology, Howard designs and manufactures custom desktops, notebooks, servers, and kiosks, as well as a variety of enterprise mobility solutions that continue to secure market recognition. By incorporating energy-efficient production technologies, Howard is also doing its part to preserve the environment. Howard’s offerings include network security and storage solutions, interactive classroom products, and a host of other professional services. In addition, strategic partnerships with other industry leaders enable Howard to offer a rich portfolio of over 300,000 name-brand products. The Howard workforce is 100% US-based, with technical support specialists available 24/7 and dedicated to providing customers with superior service.