Featured Article from Conferencing

Education a Surprising Beneficiary of Video Conferencing

May 14, 2015

Although we hear a lot about how crucial video conferencing has become to businesses, another area is seeing growth in the industry as well: Higher Education.

According to a recent report on EDTech magazine online, reporter Heather B. Hayes cites several examples where video conferencing is playing an expanding role in educating students and exposing them to speakers and insights they might not otherwise be able to access.

“The advances blur the lines between once one-dimensional collaboration tools,” Hayes writes. “Today, institutions can obtain video collaboration and content sharing capabilities from [a number of] solutions at a variety of price points, at varying levels of quality and technical complexity, from Google Hangouts to fully immersive, room-based telepresence solutions.”

She quotes Steve Duplessie, founder of and senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, who noted that in recent years technology such as video conferencing and telepresence took a quantum leap in quality.

“The availability of WAN optimization and compression technologies have allowed for way more data and video to travel through a much smaller pipe,” he said. “As soon as that happened, it literally opened up a world of collaboration.”

Hayes also cites specific examples where adding video conferencing capabilities has made a huge impact.

“Two years ago Wake Forest University gave its entire student community a license for the Cisco Systems WebEx solution suite, a Web conferencing solution,” Hayes says. “As expected, the technology inspired students and faculty to hold spontaneous meetings along with connecting offsite students.”

Elsewhere, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business invested in a high-end, room-based Cisco Telepresence system to enable bicoastal classes for students located at both the main Philadelphia campus and a satellite campus in San Francisco, Hayes noted. Now, students in San Francisco can see and hear East Coast experts, while those in Philadelphia can hear from Silicon Valley leaders.

It’s all done without having to physically go anywhere except a classroom. And it’s just a matter of time before other groups needing to hear differing points of view realize the benefits of video conferencing and get on board.  

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino