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January 29, 2009

LifeSize HD Video Conferencing Helps Connect University Faculty and Students

By Nathesh, TMCnet Contributor

Thanks to the latest LifeSize high-definition (HD) video conferencing systems, The Case Western Reserve University has turned itself into a global engineering resource.
LifeSize (News - Alert) helps connect the university’s faculty at their Science and Technology Application Center (STAC) located in San Diego, California, with researchers and students in their department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Ohio.
The university claims that with LifeSize it can export its talent base and Northeast Ohio’s lower-cost structure to the Pacific Rim and Asia regions for applied technology research.
According to LifeSize, it has made full use of the advent of HD video conferencing and integrated them into live interaction techniques. Their HD video conferencing systems help companies not only save money, but also become more productive and efficient.
In 2007, Mehran Mehregany, Goodrich Professor of Engineering Innovation, was asked by the university to establish a presence for Case in Southern California to connect to global research clients. Striving to maintain relationships with the large group of graduate and Ph.D. students he leads without HD video conferencing systems was challenging.
“Communicating with my students over video has entirely changed the quality of our interactions,” Mehregany said. “This technology is a significant enabler for the work we are doing. For the first six months, we didn’t have LifeSize, Email and conference calls were our only modes of communication, which was not effective at all. There is just something about the human psychology of seeing one another and our interactions were missing that.”
Mehregany has installed a LifeSize system in his office at the university and at his home office in San Diego. This enables his students to tune into his lectures whenever he is away. They just drop in by his office to have a “chat.” Mehregany and his team also use the built-in H.239 data-sharing capability and a document camera, allowing them to collaborate in real-time, sharing computer data or studying tiny electric motor drives.
The major advantages of the HD video conferencing solutions are the reduced travel and entertainment expenses, which can be quite substantial. The company’s expenditure can be optimized to not only improve productivity, but in addition they are able to simultaneously cut hotel and transportation costs.

Nathesh is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nathesh's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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