Table of Contents Technology ShowcaseBuilding an Engaging Online Student UnionTechnology Showcase: Implications of the Internet of Things (IoT)Technology Showcase: The Natural Limitations of Technology: 4K TVsTechnology Showcase: Students Organize HackathonsTechnology Showcase: LEDs EvolveTechnology Showcase: Beyond Facebook: Social Media 2.0Technology Showcase: The Potential of Virtual Reality GamesTechnology Showcase: What Event Planners Need to Know About WiFiTechnology Showcase: 10 Pro Tips for Using Microsoft WordTechnology Showcase: It's Just a Video in PowerPoint–What Could Go Wrong?Technology Showcase: Competitive Presenting with PowerPoint RouletteTechnology Showcase: Adjusting Procedures to Provide Better A/V SupportTechnology Showcase: Tracking A/V Inventory in DEA EMSTechnology Showcase: Applying Innovative, Inexpensive Technology in a Theatre SpaceTechnology Showcase: Raspberry Jammin'Technology Showcase: Road Test: Apps for NotetakingTechnology Showcase: Road Test: Student Employee Scheduling ProgramsTechnology Showcase: Road Test: Project Management Software10 of the Top Commons Posts of 20152015 Education and Research Fund DonorsNeeds Assessment Identifies Strengths, Room for GrowthCAS Provides Better Tools for Relevant Functional AreasNew Team Provides Educational Tools, Discussion Opportunities Related to Campus ViolenceVolunteerism In the AssociationFrom the President: Who was Your First?From the Chief Executive Officer: Promoting Dialogue About Campus ShootingsMarch/April 2016 KioskOn the JobUnion Spotlight: Linda E. McMahon Commons at Sacred Heart UniversityUnion Spotlight: Andorfer Commons at the Indiana Institute of Technology
Volume 84 | Issue 2
March/April 2016

Technology Showcase: Tracking A/V Inventory in DEA EMS

James Van Roekel, director of student services technology, Sam Houston State University
Many of us currently use DEA EMS to run the business side of our operations, which makes it a familiar tool that can also easily be used to track audio-visual inventory and usage—fixed or portable—for no additional cost.

To begin, you will need to determine which items you want to track and what you are hoping to glean from the data. You might use it simply as tracking the hours used on the projector in your theater space to indicate when you should replace the lamp—double checking the lamp usage on the projector itself, of course. You might use it to justify additional purchases of equipment; for example, perhaps you have used your standalone ballroom DMX uplighting 120 times for 900 hours last semester and you have another space that this would be a great effect, but need to convince your purchaser that these are being used.

In our building, we have been fortunate enough to be able to house individual systems within each of our spaces. This makes tracking, not to mention setups, a lot easier. Though my staff still labels items, this allows for ease of identification and ensures that system pieces do not get intermingled—nothing like fighting a wireless mic in the wrong frequency range. Where we do use portable or mobile technology, I like to build multipurpose kits. For example, I have a “gig-rig” that is built around a road case that houses two wireless mic kits, a power conditioner, an effect unit, and a drawer. The case has stencil paint that reads “gig-rig.” This is to differentiate it from the “vid-prod” case. Both wireless mics and receivers are color coded differently than other color-coded wireless mics in my building—colored electrical tape works great for this. The drawer houses additional mic transmitters, direct boxes, and other tools, labeled “gig-rig.” There is also a laminated inventory list which is kept in the drawer and checked at setup and teardown—we want to see that pieces to the kit are not lost. This could work similarly if you needed to rotate multiple projector kits, for example.

The use of these labels not only differentiates the actual hardware, these give you keywords or terms to use in your inventory system, whether it be paper-based, managed in a spreadsheet, or in a software package such as DEA EMS—this is what I use.

To set up your system, if you do not already have a category to track your technology, you may add one under the “Configuration” menu item, “Administration, Categories.” Click the “New” button and complete the form, which asks for category name, type, which buildings this falls under, and others; in this case, you might type “Equipment,” “A/V,” and the like. Click “Configuration” on the menu again, then “Resources.” Here you will see your new category listed. Click on your new category. A new window will pop up where you can now add your individual technology pieces. Click the “New” button and complete the form, which will ask for grouping and account information, among others; ensure that you check the box labelled “Maintain Inventory.” You will also see a box to add your “Quantity Available”—this will also keep you from overbooking an inventory item when entering a reservation utilizing the item. In this form you are able to add pricing as well. There is also a tab on this form where you may upload images of the resource; some may find this useful, particularly if these are listed on the web using Virtual EMS. Now you are able to add these to your reservations. Finally, to pull the data, click on “Reports” on the menu, choose “Resource Statistics,” enter the dates of usage that you wish to view, complete the query form, then press “Print” or “Print Preview,” just like any other report, and see your resources listed with quantity used and hours used.

We use this to track our fixed and mobile technologies and certain furniture items available for checkout. I do not think this approach is robust enough to track items such as cords, couplers, adapters, and generic parts—certainly not consumables—however, it will work with any larger item you wish to enter.