For the last four or five years, I’ve watched as the Idaho Education Network (IEN) has implemented and reaped the benefits from their distance education program and use of video conferencing, or telepresence. To this day, they continue to improve on success, and during a session at ISTE 2013 last week, Brady Kraft and his team once again illustrated how they consistently stay on top of their game.
Brady Kraft, IEN’s Technical Director, presents at ISTE 2013
IEN is a statewide network that connects every school in the state, including higher education institutions, Internet2, private and public training providers, and first responder training organizations.
One of their mandated goals is to provide equal access to a quality education for all citizens and they’re utilizing technology to achieve that goal. As the 7th most rural state in the nation, half of the counties in Idaho have less than 10 people per square mile, and 75% of Idaho’s schools have < 600 students. These schools havenot been able to offer a full curriculumdue to many factors, including availability of qualified teachers and budgetary restraints. Read More »
The Florida Department of Highway Safety had purchased lowest bid, low-quality networking equipment prior to Fields’ appointment as CIO. He knew that before he could accomplish any of his technology goals he had to rebuild the network with Cisco from the ground up.
Around this time the State of Florida imposed a travel ban, which was negatively affecting personnel throughout the department. Fields and his team had already been looking at video solutions following the network upgrade, but the travel ban gave them an even greater sense of urgency. “We installed video solutions at 15 locations and began conducting Florida Highway Patrol command staff meetings, remote interviews, and field manager meetings, over video and immediately saw ROI. It was a huge success,” said Fields. Read More »
Colleges and universities continually innovate to address the changing demands on them -- increased demand by millenials for virtual offerings, pressure to keep costs down, and the changing needs of the community for a skilled workforce. These demands combined with ongoing resource constraints -- limited budgets, classroom space and faculty resources -- consistently drive the need for new delivery methods. We have seen many universities expand offerings and reach with distance learning, online learning and most recently MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The most successful programs have proven to be hybrid offerings, where students receive face-to-face instruction or guidance in addition to their independent study.
After more than 15 years of working in the telecommunications and IT industries, I’ve seen firsthand how people use technology to make a difference and change lives. While there are innovative uses of technology across all industries, nothing continues to impress me more than how collaboration technologies are reinventing education.
As we’ve seen time and time again technologies like video and mobile devices are enhancing 21st century learning. But no matter what technology schools and educators are using, the delivery of services matters. Thanks to the cloud, schools can deploy advanced collaboration technologies with increased financial and operational flexibility.
With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), organizations can implement unified communication applications while saving money by switching from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model. The flexibility of the cloud enables customers to accelerate rollouts, improve business agility, lower maintenance and utility costs all while continuously delivering services.
Take for example Perspectives Charter Schools, which serves more than 2,300 students across several Chicago communities. When Perspectives Charter Schools made the shift from an on-premise unified communications system to a cloud collaboration solution they lowered monthly costs, simplified system maintenance and improved administrative efficiency. With Cisco HCS, Perspectives’ monthly bill is now 25 percent less than their previous monthly costs for phone lines, maintenance, software support contracts and repairs. But while the total cost of ownership for communications has dropped, the quality of services hasn’t. The schools have added new collaboration capabilities such as voicemail-to-email and single number reach help make staff members more accessible.
And they’re not the only ones…
Alamance-Burlington School System in North Carolina made the same shift from on-premise to the cloud for voice services and experienced much of the same benefits. With Cisco HCS they’ve lowered the overall cost of their voice system by eliminated the need for one connection for each school and freeing up the IT team. Not only are they saving money, they are also increasing collaboration. The switch to the cloud gave students and faculty access to more advanced collaboration capabilities such as video and instant messaging.
Alamance-Burlington School System and Perspectives Charter Schools’ use of Cisco HCS are classic examples of doing more with less. Powered by the cloud they can both deliver the advantages of Cisco’s collaboration solutions with the financial, operational and strategic benefits associated with the cloud.
Is your school ready to start benefiting from the cloud?
Over the years, I’ve seen how telepresence technologies revolutionize the way organizations of all sizes do business, but one area where I’m really excited about the potential is within the court system.
Here in Collin County, north of Dallas, our local court system is pushing the envelope when it comes to video technology. In addition to conducting felony pleas via video, a centrally located video system in the courthouse connects attorneys with their clients without having to a make trip to the county jail. Not only does the county’s telepresence technology increase efficiency and cut transportation costs for both attorneys and detainees alike, but it also fosters collaboration and innovation within the justice system. The county’s presiding judge uses the technology to connect with lawyers and judges across the country to share best practices and innovative solutions.
Watch this video featuring the judge, IT directors and attorneys, to see how Collin County is benefiting from telepresence…beyond a reasonable doubt. Read More »