Videoconferencing Comes to Drexel University

The Philadelphia university's work with a systems integrator illustrates a shift in the audiovisual market. As readily available, wireless-ready projectors and cameras move from the boardroom to the conference room and the corporate network, AV vendors are finally bringing the conversation to the CIO before implementation occurs.

By John Moore
Mon, October 15, 2012
Page 2

The cloud service, according to Vidtel, can connect enterprise video conferencing systems, room systems, video phones, PCs and mobile devices using Session Initiation Protocol, the H.323 AV communications protocol, Skype or GoogleTalk.

"People are really embracing the cloud model now," says Mariette Johnson Wharton, vice president of marketing at Vidtel. "The argument for cloud in video conferencing is the same as in other industries: you get the economies of scale, and it is super flexible."

Videoconferencing 'More Capable' Than Current AV Tech

Jenny Kaus, assistant dean of budgets and administration with Drexel's Student Life & Administrative Services office, suggests that the videoconferencing system represents a step up from the current AV technology.

"Right now, what we have is your basic projector," Kaus says. "The new system is more capable. It has the ability for us to do video presentations and put them online as well as do video conferences, mostly for student groups."

Kaus said a key application for the new system will be to create videos for Drexel's CEO LEAD leadership development program. The technology will let faculty, staff, alumni and others record presentations on topics such as leadership and supervisory skills. Videos will be stored online for students to use at their convenience, she says.

Drexel will also use the AV system to reach out to remote students at the university's Sacramento, Calif. graduate studies campus, to students participating in co-ops in different parts of the U.S. or overseas and to school's population of e-learning students.

News: Harvard, MIT Online Learning Portal to Help Web, Classroom Learning

"Conferencing and distance learning and capturing—pretty standard system design for a university," Advanced AV's Boettcher says. "That is what schools are doing these days."

Advanced AV is designing the AV system, while the university is preparing the room for the installation. That task includes electrical work, an HVAC upgrade and reinforcing a wall to accommodate flat-screen displays.

'Transfer of Power' Brings Videoconferencing Projects to CIO Sooner

Drexel's Student Life department and Information Resources and Technology group, which operates under the Student Life umbrella, are working with Advanced AV on the project.

The involvement of IT is becoming common with the melding of AV and corporate networks. "The transfer of power in the AV realm has moved over to IT," Boettcher notes.

A few years ago, companies selling AV equipment would talk with the CIO or similar IT executive only after the fact, he says—once they realized their systems would be riding on the corporate network. However, that situation has changed. "We are having those conversations directly with the IT divisions or networking groups within the organization," Boettcher says. "There's definitely a shift there."

Continue Reading

Our Commenting Policies