When the City of Anderson, South Carolina needed a technology revamp, it turned to Sharp for its document, IT and professional A/V needs.
Business Environment Challenges
Located in the northwest corner of South Carolina, the City of Anderson (the City) encompasses approximately 14 square miles and is located in the geographical center of Anderson County. Situated on the I-85 corridor from Atlanta to Charlotte, the city is in an area known as one of the nation’s hottest growth areas, and has been ranked as one of the best American cities for a business location.
When the City first contacted Sharp, its multifunction printers (MFPs) were unable to perform simple tasks, such as scanning and printing, without breaking down repeatedly. Additionally, the public works department had approximately 20 filing cabinets full of paper engineering plans and drawings that were at risk of being destroyed if there was ever a fire, flood or other disaster. The City recognized that it needed a digital document management solution that would offer back up and disaster recovery in order to keep its critical documents safe from being hacked.
In the City Council Chamber, outdated, analog audio visual equipment needed to be digitized. In order to keep its constituents informed, the City regularly broadcasted its council proceedings via the local cable channel. The City Council Chamber, which resembles a small auditorium, sports seating for the members of the City Council as well as theater seating for any City residents wishing to watch or participate in the proceedings.
The outdated equipment was difficult to use and took up a lot of space. Additionally, it didn’t work very well. When a document camera zoomed in on documents the images were often unclear. Council members also worked with a bulky projector and screen when displaying new business information, and analog cameras and outdated audio equipment.
The City enlisted the help of Sharp Business Systems in South Carolina to assess and provide solutions to their technology challenges. It installed 23 Sharp MFPs and 15 laser printers in multiple departments, such as in the City’s fire department, lawyers office, community development department, court house, data entry, mailroom, utilities, finance, police department, recreation department, water department and wastewater treatment departments.
In order to digitally back up critical documents, the City’s Public Works department worked with Sharp to install and implement a document management system with a wide format scanner that could handle the digitization of large 24x36 engineering documents. To further protect these documents, Sharp implemented Backup and Disaster Recovery services as well as Server Remote Monitoring and Management services.
To revamp the City’s outdated analog council chambers, Sharp designed an entire digital refresh of the system. Sharp replaced the projector and screen with an 80” Class (80” diagonal) commercial display. Sharp also provided a 70” Class (69.5” diagonal) AQUOS BOARD® interactive display system, which could be rolled in on a cart that was connected to the system and used to present a new proposal or CAD drawing while marking it up in real time with the overlay mode. A pair of 42” Class (41.9” diagonal) Sharp digital displays were used primarily by the production crew to monitor the proceedings back stage.
All of the analog cameras, an analog control system, microphones and monitors were replaced with digital versions, so that what once took up eight feet of shelf space along the wall, now only took up three feet.
By replacing the City’s printers and MFPs with Sharp devices, printing, scanning and copying has become more reliable. Additionally, service and support has increased so that there is less downtime when that service is needed.
Soon after the historic documents had been scanned into the document management system (a process which took several weeks), the City noticed that the system began prompting for additional passwords to access the files and was not accepting any passwords known by its users. Sharp was contacted, and it was determined that the system had been infected with ransomware. Due to the implementation of Sharp’s Backup and Disaster Recovery System, the documents were recovered and the source of the ransomware was identified and eliminated within hours.
“Without Sharp’s services, we would have had to spend weeks rescanning the data in order to get it back into the system,” says Adam Cromer, Stormwater Manager, City of Anderson Public Works Division.
The new digital A/V system in the city auditorium has not only made it much easier to broadcast City Council proceedings to the public, it has proved to be a valuable communications tool among the city council members.
Sharp A/V Specialist Brandon Baily provides the following example that illustrates how the new equipment has enhanced communications so that the council is better able to make educated decisions:
“If a City developer is showing drawings for a building, they can now put it up on the 70” AQUOS BOARD interactive display and not only show it to everyone in the room comfortably, but annotate on the screen to show where proposed changes are going to be made. This functionality goes a long way towards helping to increase the understanding of the decision makers, and as a result, they are able to make better judgments on behalf of their constituents.”
Another example of how the new digital A/V system is superior to the analog system is evident from the quality that is now shown to constituents watching the proceedings on TV.
“Before the digital system was put in place, an analog camera was used to show documents on the screen,” says Brandon. “Now, all of the participants in the room use wePresent® software, which allows them to bring their digital tablets or smartphones and show documents directly from those devices. The clarity and resolution is much better than a document camera.”
“Without Sharp’s services, we would have had to spend weeks rescanning the data in order to get it back into the system."