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Industry: Education and Health Care
Customer Since: 2010
Room Systems: 28
Founded in 1916, Kansas City University (KCU) is one of five original osteopathic schools in the United States. A private, nonprofit graduate school, KCU has two locations, in Kansas City, Mo., and in Joplin, Mo. The school’s graduates compose the highest number of new physicians in Missouri and the second highest in Kansas.
KCU students have a unique schedule, studying on campus for two years and then moving off campus for two-year clerkships at clinical sites throughout the country. To support the off-site clerkships, some as far away as California, KCU needed a high-quality video conferencing solution for students to have face-to-face interactions with their teachers back on campus, to review procedures and to ask questions.
In 2010, KCU’s multimedia team began reviewing video conferencing and broadcasting systems to replace the Polycom units they had been using. “At the time, Lifesize was the only one offering high definition. We actually had to beg to do a beta version of the Lifesize HD solution because it was so new,” recalled Mike Hellings, multimedia manager for the university. In addition to HD video, KCU needed to maintain security, easily manage the secure hospital firewalls between students and teachers and deliver an easy-to-use interface for busy doctors and teachers.
“We wanted to avoid bringing the hospital’s IT person in to open a port every time a student wanted to make a call. Lifesize was able to quickly get us over the firewall traversal issue, and our doctors who tested it overwhelmingly preferred Lifesize for ease of use and quality.”
One Lifesize unit was set up on a cart in a primary location for residents to share; however, moving the cart was disruptive, users were plugging and unplugging things and sometimes just locating the cart was a challenge. So the team transitioned to an integrated room setup with resounding success and expanded Lifesize for use at all clerkship locations.
Two years later when the university was ready to add a second campus in Joplin, Hellings looked to Lifesize as a way to make the two physically distant locations feel like one. A customized lecture hall was outfitted with multiple cameras and desktop microphones for students to easily ask questions. The Lifesize app was integrated with university iPads supplied to students, and KCU began broadcasting one to two lectures each week.
To ensure call connectivity and stability during the rollout, the Lifesize support team made on-site adjustments with university network engineers.
“If you break down the cost of higher education by class, just missing a single lecture can be costly in more ways than one. With Lifesize, our call drop rate is only 1%, which is just spectacular.”
Lecture hall broadcasts became so popular that, today, Kansas City University broadcasts three to four hours of lectures each day, making them an integral part of the curriculum.
“With the directories pre-set, teachers can come in, quickly hit three buttons, and run their call. People would rather lose power than have Lifesize drop. That’s how vital it’s become.”
Due to Lifesize’s stability and encryption, KCU expanded use for secure executive board meetings, and teachers now use Lifesize for student question-and-answer sessions outside of class. The university even outfitted their custom van with Lifesize so doctors and executives traveling between the two campuses can make the most of their drive time. Looking ahead, the team plans to use Lifesize at a new dental school in the works and to connect with student physicians serving rural communities.