ISU Technology Standards Committee Releases Comprehensive Recommendations

Aug 28, 2020

The ISU Technology Standards committee, led by Darrin Fischer, Information Technology Services (ITS) endpoint technologies, released comprehensive hardware and software recommendations for devices owned and managed by the university. The committee convened in October 2019 to define and document inclusive technology standards that drive towards a consistent user experience for all Cyclone users.

Composed of ITS team members and unit IT professionals, the committee’s phase one efforts focused primarily on hardware. Smaller working groups within the committee undertook specific categories of hardware including desktops and laptops, printers, smartphones, audiovisual equipment, and more – to define high-level standards related to vendor, product line and security or accessibility considerations.

“The work to identify general device standards benefits both the end-user and the IT staff supporting them,” said Fischer. “As more and more devices adhere to the standards, IT administrators can more quickly and easily manage device updates and communications, which ultimately improves the customer experience.” 

Resulting, the ISU Technology Standards committee recommends use of Dell and Apple desktop devices, specifically the Optiplex and Precision lines as well as the iMac / iMac Pro and Mac / Mac Mini, respectively. For laptop use, Dell, Apple and Microsoft devices are preferred, including the Dell Latitude, Apple MacBook Pro and Microsoft Surface Book. If intending to use a tablet, the committee has additionally identified the Dell Latitude 2-in-1, Apple iPad, Apple iPod touch and Microsoft Surface Pro as ideal options. It is important to note that the standards identified apply to ISU-owned devices, not those owned personally by a student, faculty or staff member.

While laptops and desktops account for a large portion of ISU-owned devices, the group also explored the most functional and supported hardware options for printers, monitors and more. Technologies used in shared spaces, conference rooms and classrooms were likewise considered, and committee members with audiovisual expertise crafted a comprehensive report that includes standards for an array of AV equipment like projectors, interactive flat panel displays and microphones used across campus.

With hardware standards fully detailed, the group turned their attention to phase two for pinpointing the best software standards. Bearing in mind the need for flexibility with diverse user requirements, the software standards address operating system (OS) – Windows or Mac – and version, which is expressed algebraically as “n – 2” to encompass the three most recent versions that will be supported.

Besides the benefits of a more consistent user experience, the technology standards for both hardware and software will ultimately allow IT professionals to provide more uniform support to campus customers and customers to spend less time and effort researching products. Most importantly, if a hardware or software standard does not meet a user’s needs, then that user is encouraged to reach out to their local IT and discuss alternative options.

The recently-expanded Laptop Loaner Program provided an opportunity for units across campus to proactively use the standards, and in fact, University Library staff worked with members of the Technology Standards committee to order 150 additional laptops that fall under the recommendations being released. Colleges have also contributed to the program by purchasing new equipment following the technology standards and offering equipment normally slated for lab use.   

For a brief summary of the desktop, laptop and tablet standards that apply to ISU-owned devices, please see the table below. A document presenting the comprehensive Iowa State University Technology Standards for ISU-owned Devices, complete with information about recommended operating system and application manager, is available as a desktop computing knowledge article in the IT Portal. After navigating to the article, the document itself appears in the form of an attachment seen on the right side of the screen.

 

Overview of Desktop, Laptop and Tablet Technology Standards

Applicable for ISU-owned devices, not personal devices

Desktop

Dell 

Optiplex 

 

Dell 

Precision 

 

Apple 

iMac 

 

Apple 

iMac Pro 

 

Apple 

Mac Pro 

 

Apple 

Mac Mini 

Laptop 

Dell 

Latitude 

 

Dell 

Precision 

 

Apple 

MacBook Pro 

 

Apple 

MacBook Air 

 

Microsoft 

Surface Laptop 

 

Microsoft 

Surface Book 

Tablet 

Dell 

Latitude 2-in-1 

 

Apple 

iPad 

 

Microsoft 

Surface Pro 

 

Apple 

iPod touch