Mobility and Video: Education is the Future

Convergence Corner

Mobility and Video: Education is the Future

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  July 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

Video is supposed to be the next great thing to come to communications. It may well be, at least at the two extremes of the user spectrum – multi-person conferencing (high-end systems) and consumer video chat (Skype (News - Alert), ooVoo, and others). But where it will continue to find adoption challenges is in the daily business communication space (see my column in the March 2011 issue, 

“People like web collaboration – they like the ability to share documents, but they really don’t care about looking at each other,” notes Jon Nelson, product marketing manager, Toshiba (News - Alert) Telecom, when asked about video capabilities with Toshiba’s new IPedge phone system. “Collaboration has been very popular from a desktop sharing standpoint, but not necessarily with video.”

That said, there are certain markets that will help drive video communication, notably health care and education – combined with the surge in tablet adoption.

It’s certain the drivers of video communication will be today’s younger generations, making the education market an ideal living lab for video applications.

Take the University of Ottawa, for instance, which with technology from Aruba Networks  delivered a series of six educational applications to classes of 100 concurrent iPad users across a wireless network.

The six applications included:

Learning Management via Blackboard (News - Alert) Mobile Learn – all students were able to simultaneously access digital course content and curricula, and view on-demand unicast streaming video.

Video-based Curriculum – all clients were able to stream educational video content in a distributed environment.

Video Conferencing via Facetime – allowed students to gain access to knowledge experts (e.g., professors and other specialists) via video conferencing in a class lecture environment.

Dynamic Presentation via Apple AirPlay (News - Alert) – multimedia content streamed to an Apple TV, which was connected to a classroom projector.

IPTV via HaiVision’s Furnace IP Video System – enabled the distribution of live local video content to client devices.

Electronic Testing and Assessment via ResponseWare by Turning Technologies – real-time polling to enable electronic collection of learning assessment data.

While this test case was deployed to 100 users, Aruba says the same experience can be delivered equally effectively to many hundred users – even the largest lectures can leverage the latest technology to deliver an enhanced educational experience. Usage is also not limited to iPads. Rather, applications can be delivered to any combination of laptops, tablets, smartphones, or any other IP-enabled devices. There will be limitations based on proprietary applications restricting usage to certain devices (e.g., Facetime), but there are many applications available that will enable a similar experience across a wide range of devices – and more to come.

In fact, with access to network resources, students can participate in lectures from remote locations and in distance learning environments. Similarly, professors immediately can expand the scope of the educational experience by introducing guest experts via IP video technology.

Students are in classrooms to learn. But because they are often on the leading edge of technology adoption, they are now in a position to become educators themselves, showing how video, wireless networking, and mobile devices can transform the educational experience – and how similar applications can be leveraged in other vertical markets and in the general business communications landscape.

As mobility becomes increasingly important, the ability to bring a multimedia experience to mobile and remote workers also increases.

“Mobility is absolutely essential,” says Nelson. “Not every customer buys mobility, but almost every customer needs mobility to some extent, and nobody will buy a system without knowing mobility is available when they need to add it.”

While two-way video communication is nowhere near mainstream – and has a long way to go to get there – mobile usage will drive the use of one-way video and multimedia collaboration, and will eventually lead to greater adoption of two-way video. It may not happen until today’s students – whose learning experiences are being enhanced by video and mobility –grow into business technology decision makers, or at least influencers. But, their experiences in today’s classrooms will most certainly translate into tomorrow’s business communications strategies, just like consumer use of social media is driving its growth in business markets.

Want to get the latest scoop on how mobile devices are transforming business communications? Don’t miss ITEXPO (News - Alert) West in its new home at the Austin Convention Center, Sept. 13-15. Conference sessions have been dedicated to the mobile experience, enterprise video and, of course, social media. Get all the details at

Erik Linask is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi