By facilitating real-time interaction and removing barriers to communication, higher education institutions can not only enrich learning, they can also strengthen relationships among faculty and administrators and extend relationships to colleagues, research partners, industry, and government contacts worldwide. The Cisco TelePresence™ solution provides a powerful collaboration tool for:
• Scaling expertise and providing expanded venues for world scholars
• Reducing travel time and cost without sacrificing an in-person experience
Higher education, by definition, is a collaborative process. Technology now connects people and simplifies communication on an unprecedented scale, and today's students are accustomed to collaborating with peers and using a range of social networking technologies. Increasingly, faculty members, administrators, and researchers are collaborating by using these capabilities as well.
Although connecting with anyone, anywhere, is now as easy as pushing a button, online communication, texting, email, and telephone conversations do not have the same effect as in-person, face-to-face meetings. Bringing people together dynamically changes relationships and sparks collaborations that lead to learning and innovation.
Provide Access to Expertise
Colleges and universities seek to enhance learning by bringing experts onto campus for classroom presentations, guest lectures, workshops, and other academic pursuits. Increasingly, institutions are maintaining and expanding relationships with other institutions around the world. Meeting in person or bringing experts from multiple disciplines to campus can be costly and difficult to schedule, which limits a college's or university's ability to provide students and their communities with access to renowned scholars and unique learning experiences.
Extend Relationships Beyond the Campus
Higher education institutions foster relationships with industry partners, government agencies, research organizations, high schools, and alumni that often extend across states and nations and around the world. In-person meetings are vital to stimulating research, recruiting, and providing product development opportunities for students and faculty. Collaboration with students at other universities builds relationships and creates opportunities that might otherwise not exist. The capability to meet in person with alumni groups across the country or even in other countries helps nurture school loyalty and promote charitable giving to work being done at the institution. It also helps college recruiters more efficiently identify prospective students and student athletes.
Save Time and Conserve Funds
Frequent travel is a fact of life for many administrative staff and faculty researchers, especially those who work at institutions with multiple campuses across a state. As faculty and staff travel to conferences, they make valuable contacts and bring exposure to university projects. However, travel, lodging, facilities, and food service costs can represent a significant portion of a department's budget, and funds spent on travel could be used for additional research activities or necessary equipment. As budgets remain static or are reduced, travel is often cut as well, which can make it more difficult for people to meet and to make decisions. Many higher education institutions seek ways to reduce travel costs while maintaining valuable personal contacts and experiences.
Meet "Green" Goals
Environmental sustainability has become a priority at many institutions, and reducing travel can significantly help those institutions meet green goals.
Cisco TelePresence Solutions for Higher Education
Collaboration plays a central role in almost all activities at institutions of higher education. From classroom learning, to collaborative research, to meeting with colleagues around the world, the Cisco TelePresence solution powerfully improves an institution's ability to collaborate effectively.
The Cisco TelePresence solution creates an immersive, in-person meeting experience among geographically dispersed users over the network. Integrated visual, audio, and video components deliver the characteristics of a face-to-face meeting, creating a lifelike collaboration experience with:
• Smooth and realistic motion
• Accurate color replication
• An apparent eye-to-eye viewpoint
• Superb and accurate sound rendering with image synchronization
• Support several hours of engaged interaction
• Lifelike user representation
By enabling people to meet, discuss, share documentation, and make decisions in real time, regardless of location, the Cisco TelePresence solution enables higher education institutions to improve productivity, create new opportunities, and enhance relationships more effectively than by using traditional video collaboration tools. The Cisco TelePresence solution also reduces the need for frequent travel, enabling people to accomplish more in the same amount of time while preserving the important in-person characteristics of a meeting.
Bring Expertise on Site
The Cisco TelePresence solution brings experts on site in a lifelike environment. When it is used for distance learning, students can be face to face with other students a world away. Branch campuses can share a professor simultaneously. Guest lecturers can lecture from their own Cisco TelePresence location or visit the campus and become accessible to students throughout a university system or at multiple community college campuses. Professional schools, such as business, medical, dental, engineering, and other graduate schools, can reach out to industry and government experts for insight into real-world scenarios, to learn best practices, and to observe new techniques. With the Cisco TelePresence solution, expert knowledge and experience can be as close as across the table.
Build External Relationships
Education relationships take many forms, including relationships with alumni, other institutions, research organizations, technology partners, and government departments. The Cisco TelePresence solution can cost-effectively connect people and strengthen these important relationships in meaningful ways that were previously possible only in face-to-face meetings.
For example, National LambdaRail (NLR), the provider of high-speed nationwide optical networking services for member research organizations, has become the first national research and education network (NREN) to enable its own Cisco TelePresence Exchange services for anyone with access to the national facility. NLR implemented Cisco TelePresence endpoints at member locations, including the Pittsburgh Super Computing Center, located at Carnegie Mellon University; the University of North Carolina; Indiana University; and the Corporation for Education Networking Initiatives in California (CENIC). NLR manages its support operations between these locations using the Cisco TelePresence solution as the primary mode of interaction. Staff report that the Cisco TelePresence solution enables them to hold spontaneous face-to-face meetings, and it has solidified their working relationships much more quickly compared to the simple audio conferences that they previously held.
In April 2009, NLR used its Cisco TelePresence Exchange capabilities to connect with ANKABUT, an NREN in the United Arab Emirates. The Cisco TelePresence session was held at the Khalifa University for Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR) in Abu Dhabi during the annual Middle East ICT Research Forum. This event represented the first time that an international Cisco TelePresence call had been established between two different universities using two different NRENs.
In July 2009, NLR, in collaboration with Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet), arranged for the first international multipoint Cisco TelePresence session over a research and education network. The NLR Cisco TelePresence Exchange hosted real-time, multipoint meetings between three locations in the United States-the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) in North Carolina, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and Indiana University-along with two endpoints at the QUESTnet technology conference in Gold Coast, Australia.
Achieve Savings Without Sacrifice
The Cisco TelePresence solution has delivered significant travel cost and time savings to organizations around the world that use it for meetings, while strengthening working relationships and accelerating decision making. With the Cisco TelePresence solution, administrators can significantly reduce the amount of time spent traveling and focus on more strategic goals. Faculty members can confer in-person with colleagues at other organizations more cost effectively and conserve funding for projects. The Cisco TelePresence solution does not eliminate the need to travel, but it can significantly reduce the time and costs associated with frequent travel.
In addition, statewide providers of technical services to educational institutions can provide Cisco TelePresence services to their members across their networks. Higher education institutions could also offer fee-based Cisco TelePresence services to organizations or businesses in the local community as a revenue-generating service. The Cisco TelePresence solution offers the versatility to meet a wide range of in-person collaboration needs across the campus and beyond.
Many institutions are establishing goals for achieving environmental sustainability. Reducing travel is one element of many programs. Cisco has used the Cisco TelePresence solution to reduce travel and costs, enable employees to travel less, and accelerate decision making for globally dispersed teams. Cisco has achieved the following results:
• 333,613 Cisco TelePresence meetings within Cisco
• 63,240 meetings for which participants avoided travel, saving almost US$253 million
• 136,598 million cubic meters of carbon emissions saved, equivalent to taking 31,124 cars off the road
Educational opportunities are everywhere. Cisco is helping schools, colleges, and universities create a connected way of living and learning through an on-demand learning environment that:
• Removes barriers to effective communication
• Facilitates real-time interaction
• Expands access to experts, resources, and information
Cisco works closely with higher education institutions to respond to the demand for new learning approaches that help prepare the next-generation workforce and promote social equity. Connected learning solutions facilitate the highly secure, convenient, real-time interaction today's campus communities expect. They help build a safe environment, enhance administrative efficiency, and improve access to engaging, lifelong learning opportunities.
Cisco Advanced Services
Cisco® Advanced Services help make networks, Cisco TelePresence applications, and the people who use them work better together. Using a lifecycle services approach, Cisco provides fixed-price planning, design, and optimization services to help increase business value and return on investment (ROI).
Understanding the need for flexibility, Cisco collaborates with strategic partners to offer the Cisco TelePresence solution that is right for an institution's needs. Leading global telecommunications carriers offer Cisco TelePresence services, applications, and professional services.
Learn More Today
The Cisco TelePresence solution can help higher education institutions deliver rich learning experiences and extend their relationships with industry and government. Learn more about the Cisco TelePresence solution and how it can transform higher education by visiting http://www.cisco.com/telepresence. Resources are available to help you establish a technical blueprint to begin your collaborative journey.