IVCi was asked to contribute to an article on the need for AV integration in schools titled “Doing Business in Higher Education” for the March-April issue of Pro AV magazine. Check out an excerpt from the article by Tim Kridel below:

VIRTUAL EDUCATION

The ability to offer advertising services often depends on whether a school has a single, standardized, campus wide signage platform, rather than a hodgepodge of disparate systems that formed over time as departments deployed their own. And signage isn’t the only AV application where standardization is in demand.

“We’re seeing the need for standardized classroom control, which is the control system that manages the technology in the room: projectors, screens, audio systems, document cameras, and video sources,” says CCS’s Littlefield. “Many professors use multiple rooms, so there’s a need for consistency and ease of use.”

Littlefield says that not only is standardization a benefit to busy professors, it can also be an important part of a university’s expansion plans. Common AV systems throughout old and new buildings make servicing the technology exponentially easier.

Hauppauge, N.Y.–based integrator IVCi recently surveyed higher-education decision-makers and found that overbooked classes, limited faculty, and lost revenue are three of their biggest problems.

“Videoconferencing and distance learning are becoming the methods through which many are addressing these institutional challenges,” says Adam Kaiser, IVCi director of marketing. “We are seeing a growing demand not only for desktop and room-based videoconferencing, but also a surge in demand for fully realized virtual classroom environments powered by immersive telepresence systems.”

But perhaps the most important long-term trend—and one that spells good news for AV pros targeting the higher-education market—is that the people responsible for filling classrooms expect to use more technology, not less.

In the business world, the ability to read others is essential for success. Winning a deal, managing a staff, or negotiating a contract requires insight into how the other parties are thinking. To influence others, we must gain their confidence and cater our message carefully based on verbal and non-verbal cues we receive. Often we are only as effective as the tools that are available to us for communicating. When visual cues are missing, as is the case in an audio conference that lacks interactive video conferencing, we can lose up to 80% of what is communicated to us through body language.

For example, law enforcement interviewers know that when a suspect is asked a question, it is important to watch the movement of his or her eyes when they are answering. One theory states that if a suspect is remembering something, their eyes will move to the right, in an outward manifestation of the brain activating the memory center. This tells the interviewer that the suspect is not making something up, as would be the case by moving the eyes to the left (a demonstration of activating the cognitive part of the brain used for creative story telling). The interviewer may also watch for lack of eye contact, nodding of the head, self-grooming, and fidgeting as signs of guilt or innocence.

Losing the ability to see the suspect puts the interviewer at a distinct disadvantage. It is no different in the business world, where we need to see the complete picture to effectively get our message across and understand the true point of view of the other parties. Companies that invest in video conferencing for remote meetings have this advantage.

A newly implemented video conferencing and managed service solution provided by IVCi has increased the use of video meetings throughout the organization.

By Nina Parker

The Challenge

Known for its efficient heating and cooling products, a leading manufacturer of cooling and heating products wanted to apply the same efficiency principal to collaboration among its many corporate locations. The company decided to implement a video conferencing solution to increase communication among its divisions and reduce travel time and expenses. Video was initially installed in five locations across the U.S, including the company’s corporate headquarters.

At first, the video solution was not widely adopted within the organization. The company’s IT director set out to increase the use of the technology by contacting industry expert IVCi (a leading integrator of telepresence and video conferencing solutions, audio visual equipment, and managed conferencing services). His goal was to implement a video conferencing system and managed service that would make video so easy to use and reliable that employees would not hesitate to utilize it.

“In addition to adding video units, we wanted our executives to be able to walk into a room and have the video component already up and running,” The IT director said. “That way they could just sit down and start the meeting. One of the last things we wanted was to make it difficult to hold a video conference. If people get frustrated because the system is hard to navigate, or if they have to go through too many steps for it to be operational, then the return on investment will be minimal.”

The IT director contacted IVCi because he required an integrator with advanced knowledge and resources to manage the company’s video conferencing systems. By outsourcing the role to professionals, he aimed to make the video conferencing experience seamless for the user and give his IT staff the support it needed. “One of the reasons I chose IVCi was the reference — a Fortune 50 beverage company — that IVCi provided. I was quite impressed that this company has been using IVCi’s managed service for years to operate hundreds of systems across U.S. and international locations, and has had great success with it.”

The Solution

After consulting with the IT director and performing a thorough needs analysis, IVCi designed an integrated solution that would help increase the use of video conferencing throughout the manufacturing company. In addition to Cisco (TANDEBRG) MXP and C-series video conferencing equipment, the company received IVCi’s video endpoint management and unlimited bridging for eight global locations.

The managed service that IVCi provided the company is part of a suite of services that IVCi offers under its Managed Video Experience (MVE), and that can be customized based on the needs of the user. IVCi’s managed services are designed to make video so easy to use, meeting participants can simply report to the conference room, and any audio and video calls are automatically connected. IVCi manages all components of the call, including the room, video end -points, network, and video infrastructure to ensure a superior video conferencing experience.

IVCi’s solution allows the company to facilitate meetings such as executive updates and corporate training sessions across multiple corporate locations simultaneously. “Our new video conferencing solution with the managed service is designed to greatly reduce the time and expenses involved with sending a corporate trainer to numerous sites to teach the same content, or sending an executive on a three-day trip to attend a one hour meeting,” the IT director said.

The Results

The IT director said he is pleased with the results of the IVCi solution, which will enable the manufacturing company to expand its video meetings globally. “IVCi’s managed service has worked very well,” he said. “Our executive assistants who schedule the video meetings have it down to a fine art now. It is very easy to call IVCi and set up video calls using their online system. And if we need help all we have to do is dial their toll-free number and someone is right there.”

The IT director said that top among the new system’s benefits was its efficiency. The cost savings are just incredible,” he said. “An average trip for an executive to our Atlanta headquarters is on average two to three thousand dollars. If we have up to six executives traveling to the same meeting there are extensive costs, let alone the productivity loss that is incurred.”

Furthermore, holding video meetings, including those where data like PowerPoint presentations are shared, is now a simple process. “When we hold executive meetings, the remote sites are often up on video before our executives sit down to start the meeting, and they really like that,” he said.

Use of video conferencing has significantly increased with the additional end points and IVCi’s managed service. “IVCi provides regular reporting on usage of the system and other important data,” The IT director said. “We started out logging just a few hours of time using video, and we have worked our way up to over a thousand hours a month in some cases—such as when the company is involved in large projects, or is particularly budget conscious.”

The IT director noted that he would have had to hire someone at a very substantial salary to manage the company’s video conferencing solution at a particular location within the company, while IVCi not only manages the whole system, but does it remotely. “Our experience has been that IVCi has the resources and tools to help us achieve our goal of growing the use of video.”

In a recent press release IVCi showcased our work with Global Writes, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote literacy, communication and collaboration among young people through the integration of performing arts and technology resources.

The press release covered our donation of Managed Video Experience bridging time to Global Writes’ poetry slam.  But that is only half of the story.  The work that Global Writes is doing with students in schools throughout NY and the country is nothing short of awe inspiring. IVCi has had the privilege to work with this organization for many years to bring video conferencing technology to schools along with the training and curriculum development to make it succeed.

At the most recent TED Talk, Global Writes highlighted their work with these students.  The video profiles their methodology and ends with a live video performance from one of Global Writes’ poetry slam schools.  Check it out!