Category Archives: Technology

2.1, 2.4, Lightning, 4, Air, Mini…what does it all mean?

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It means that a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square.

First, let me point out we are talking about charging speeds, and in particular, charging Apple products. The question comes up often when reviewing charging systems for a fleet of iPads, “What is the best charging speed for my solution?”

Here are the charging speeds of the various iPad generations at the two amperage rates that today’s iPad charging carts and wall stations support:

iPad Model (connection type) 2.1A 2.4A
iPad 4 (Lightning) 7.0 hrs 5.0 hrs
iPad Air (Lightning) 6.0 hrs 4.0 hrs
iPad Mini (Lightning) 5.5 hrs 3.25 hrs.

If you want to take full advantage of the 2.4A charging speeds of iPad 4, iPad Air or iPad Mini, then go with a charging cart or wall mount that is MFi (Made for iPad) and able to charge at that full rate.

DM10-1001-rem-ipad_smIf the nominal difference in charge times is not as pressing as budget limitations, or if you are using a mixture of older and newer Apple devices, then consider a charging cart or wall station that charges at the 2.1A rate.  The charging time difference could be a moot point based on your usage model and charging patterns.  For instance, are the iPads going to charge overnight anyway?

Ergotron offers both 2.4A and 2.1A iPad charging systems:

  • Ergotron’s MFi (Made for iPad) 2.4A charging carts and wall stations come pre-cabled for Lightning devices, but are also backwards compatible to swap in 30-pin cables for charging older-generation iPads. Lightning-cabled devices will charge at the full 2.4A rate, while iPads connected via a 30-pin cable will still charge at their 2.1A rate.
  • Ergotron also has 2.1A versions of its charging carts and wall stations as well. Whether using 30-pin or Lightning cables, and whether using iPad 2, iPad Air or iPad Mini, all Apple devices connected will charge at the 2.1A rate. This is an economical way to go for mix-and-match iPad generations, and if the devices will be charging all night any way.

One final note, it is also very important to make sure that the charging cart or wall station that you choose is fully safety-certified.  If not, your devices, students and staff are at risk. For more information about this, we’ve put together a brief white paper for you to share with your IT group or other stakeholders in the decision process.

Bob Hill, Global Education Manager @ Ergotron

Bob Hill

Choosing the right device charging station…a few considerations

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More than 90 percent of Americans own a cellphone, 32 percent own an e-reader and 42 percent own a tablet computer. Schools are facing a burgeoning amount of tablet usage in their classrooms, whether that be BYOD, 1:1 or 1: to many. And it is falling on IT/Media to figure out how to best charge, sync, store and secure this investment.

There are a lot of questions to answer, and creating side-by-side comparisons of solutions will help. Use this information to help prioritize your needs so that when you start evaluating solutions, you know where to draw the line. Whether to leverage assets or to meet space challenges, here are a few things to consider:

1.  Choose mobility for larger quantities of devices

With wide casters for easy moving across multiple surfaces, and storage to house multiple devices at a time, a charging cart is your best bet. Plus, it can easily be rolled into a closet to be locked up for the night. Here are some questions to think through cart options:

  • Will the devices be used exclusively in one class or will they be shared across the building?
  • Will they be stored by the teacher in the classroom or should they be housed in the Media Center or IT manager’s office?
  • Is it important to be able to visually check whether a device is plugged in properly and charging?
  • Is it secure? Will the locking mechanisms deter theft?


2.  
Choose fixed or desktop options for small quantities 

If you need to only manage a small number of devices, look for charging stations that can either be mounted on the wall or will sit on a desk or countertop. Take into consideration the following:

  • Does it offer a low profile to help avoid interfering with flow of students or staff around the room?
  • Consider the size of charging slots if the devices have cases; not all charging systems are created equal
  • Can the unit scale if class or device requirements grow?
  • Is security an issue? Do you need to lock up the device or is it safe to leave them in an open environment?
  • Ease of access to device is important, look for units that make device insertion and retrieval a snap

3.  Also important, choose safety!

Whether rolling out 20 devices or 1000, don’t forget the electrical requirements. Look for products that are UL labeled for the whole unit, not just the components. Charging station that have been designed to be a safe product requires redundant safety features, special abuse tests; both component and full system level certifications to all government standards is ideal when used in public places such as schools. Whether adults are the only ones interacting with the unit, or if students engage with it too, look for products that are rugged and suit the environment where they are being placed. Learn more about safe product design.

IMAG0455It’s fascinating to watch where the future of classroom technology is going. 360° classrooms, sit-stand learning environments, no barriers cyber-education…each new adoption faces its challenges. Being prepared means doing your homework ahead of making a purchasing decision. When you do integrate that new solution and it’s a winner for staff and students give yourself a gold star or take an Instagram selfie—some IT geekery is allowed!

Or you can do what most people do, visit Charging.ergotron.com to see side-by-side comparisons of our device charging carts, wall mounts, and desktop units. We have a very broad selection all in one place for you to review.

And of course, I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

By Sheila Veschusio, Ergotron Education Industry Manager

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[1] Pew Internet Mobile Technology Fact Sheet- http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/

 

Why We Need to Sit AND Stand

It isn’t enough to have a standing desk. You need the option to sit and stand throughout your day.

A few days ago I read a post on Hacker News from Mikael Cho the founder of ooomf declaring why he killed his standing desk

From his post I gleaned these reasons Mikael killed his standing desk:

  • Standing for long periods caused him pain
  • This pain distracted him from his work
  • His standing desk forced his body to take breaks when his brain wanted to work
  • He couldn’t stay ‘wired in’ and focused while standing

Mikael also mentioned the following items related to standing, productivity, exercise, health, and lifestyle:

  • His standing desk helped him stay focused during certain tasks like answering email
  • Sitting isn’t bad. It’s sitting for long periods of time without movement that’s the killer
  • When we don’t move, our risk of cardiovascular disease increases and our blood circulation drops
  • A standing desk may be one way to solve the sitting problem but it doesn’t solve the inactivity problem
  • In the book Blue Zones, longevity was linked to regular, low intensity physical activity
  • One community in Okinawa, Japan has one fifth the risk of colon and breast cancer and lives seven years longer than the average American. In their culture, people sit on the floor, causing them to get up and down thirty to forty times per day

Our mission at Ergotron is to offer high quality sit-stand workstations at an affordable price so that you have the option to sit or stand while you work.

The problem with Mikael’s desk is that it was a $22 standing only Ikea hack that didn’t offer the option to sit without re-configuring your technology. In this limited configuration, transition between standing/sitting is a productivity obstacle.

Having the option to easily sit or stand is critical to a great user experience.

Over the years since I first started using a sit-stand workstation I encountered many of the same issues Mikael faced. My legs got tired. I needed to sit to focus or get into flow mode. I found myself more productive standing going through email but needed to sit to get ‘into’ writing. Some days are different than other days. Some days I stand most of the day, other days I sit most of the day. Most days I am up and down, transitioning more than 10 times.

When at a desk for 6-8 hours a day, simply taking a break and standing for an hour to go through some emails relieves my muscle and joint stiffness.

With my WorkFit-D, using a single hand I can transition from sitting/standing while maintaining creative flow without re-configuring my screens, keyboard, or mouse.

But don’t kill your hack yet!

Are you like Mikael Cho, ready to kill your hacked standing desk? I say wait. Consider what a WorkFit configuration experience might do for you. Maybe a WorkFit D with the Dual Side-by-Side LX Arm configuration.  What, you’re a Macbook user? Think about the WorkFit-P for Apple. Whatever your scenario, we’ve got a sit-stand configuration to suit your style.

And if Mikael is reading this, I have an offer for you. You can find me at @solson.

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Olson- Director of Technology – Ergotron a Nortek Company