by Sandeep Lakshmipathy, LifeSize Product Manager, Bangalore, India
Recently we wrote a blog post about how Globe University/Minnesota School of Business is using LifeSize Video Center for simulation training for its Department of Nursing and for internal admissions training to their remote campuses. I wanted to share my experience with LifeSize Video Center and tell you how another university customer is using it for recording, streaming and publishing purposes to bring a greater range of educational content to its students.
Video recorded via LifeSize Video Center
As the Product Manager for Video Center, I am involved in pre-sales discussions and customer deployments and see very interesting applications of high definition recording and streaming. It never ceases to excite me how an easy-to-use solution can address several real life necessities by delivering high quality and performance as promised. LifeSize Video Center has been one of our most well-received products, based on feedback from customers, resellers and partners since its launch in April of this year. In many cases, Video Center has been the product that has opened customers’ eyes to the potential of High Definition video conferencing.
Of the various vertical markets that have shown active interest in the Video Center product, the education sector has probably evaluated it most, as they have an immediate need for a seamless video recording and a scalable streaming solution. One university recently received their LifeSize Video Center demo unit and deployed the appliance directly onto their network. The IT team was interested in getting their students to watch lectures and events recorded on and off campus, both live and on demand. More than once in the past they were disappointed by other manufacturers’ solutions and wanted to be sure that LifeSize Video Center would deliver on the promise of the datasheet.
To fulfill the needs of this university, the Video Center unit was placed in the DMZ (that’s De-Militarized Zone, a networking term for the frontiers of one’s network that houses security hardened appliances for Firewall/NAT traversal, gateways and others). Most IT teams would be reluctant to put a server appliance in the DMZ until they are fully convinced of the security aspects and the operating system used for the appliance is reliable. Since LifeSize Video Center is based on a security hardened Linux distribution, this was something the IT team was comfortable doing.
Next, the recording and signaling-related IP traffic coming into the DMZ from the internet was set up with the required port forwarding, so that all traffic intended for the Video Center was coming through as needed. This way, one or more LifeSize 220 series endpoints (the hardware that sits in classrooms and conference rooms) out in the Internet, along with those inside the university LAN, could be sending in High Definition recording streams to the appliance.
After several weeks of trials with the professors recording their lectures and other class room activities, the IT team decided to take advantage of some opportunities happening off campus. Many of the university’s professors regularly participate in industry seminars and conferences, delivering keynote lectures and sitting on panel discussions. These are important events for the students to experience, even though they cannot be present in person. Utilizing Video Center, students could watch the video streams of these events, whether they were on campus or using PCs at home.
After the university’s IT group made a few simple network configurations for effective deployment and use of Video Center, students and professors soon began to watch videos recorded both on and off campus directly on their PCs. With a tremendous amount of positive feedback from faculty and staff, the IT team fully realized the benefits of Video Center as a simple, easy to use (and configure) recording, streaming and auto-publishing solution. Now LifeSize Video Center is being used as a single appliance solution for all recording, streaming and publishing needs of the students and professors in a variety of different environments.
Students get to watch their professors’ lectures when they teach courses in external colleges or speak at industry conferences.
Professors get to expand their academic reach.
All of this is possible with Video Center powering it in the background along with LifeSize 220 series Full HD video conferencing endpoints assisting in high-end video capture.
In my opinion, we really are delivering on that promise to bring the world into the classroom.
After months of listening to customer feedback, we recently announced new features and even more customization options added to LifeSize Video Center. The software update not only gives you the ability to implement organizational branding and unique browser icons directly into the web UI, but IT administrators also have more simplified management controls, LDAP integration, reporting capabilities and the ability to embed video URLs directly into any Web page.