Technische Universitaet Muenchen Case Study

Knowledge transfer via video – Experts in robotics at the Technische Universität München rely on Lifesize

 

“I’ve not yet met someone who couldn’t start up the system in less than a couple of minutes.”

Challenge

The Technische Universität München is collaborating with 13 postgraduate students from Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK for a two-week workshop on Embodied Intelligence, Soft Robotics and Compliant Systems and Actuators. Following the two-week workshop, top-ranking scientists from all over the globe participate in a debate on the topics the student’s have studied. In an effort to save grant money for the research, the scientists solely rely on video conferencing to provide an interactive and informative experience for the students. Video conferencing provides a considerably cheaper alternative than gathering the students and scientists regularly in one location.

Solution

TUM selected Lifesize’s cloud-based videoconferencing solution. “We were looking for a system that is very easy to use and supported by different platforms – and we found it in Lifesize Cloud,” explains Martin Eder, project supervisor at the institute. The addition of Lifesize Cloud builds on the university’s previous experiences with Lifesize Express 220, a conference room system for the university’s larger meeting spaces.

Lifesize Cloud is very easy to operate with a range of different systems and hardware configurations, and can be effortlessly loaded onto smartphones, tablets or on laptops as a free application. Participants can also take part in a conference using WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications) in a web browser such as Google Chrome, without downloading software. “I’ve not yet met someone who couldn’t start up the system in less than a couple of minutes,” said Eder. In addition to providing high quality video and sound, the solution also enables screen sharing and the transmission of presentations.

Lifesize Cloud also allows TU Munich to host calls with up to 25 participants. “When 20 people are participating in a conference at the same time, the biggest challenge is not speaking over the top of each other. But that would still be an issue if we were all sitting around the same table,” Eder shared with a smile.

Eder believes that a particular benefit of the Lifesize solution is that it works seamlessly with Linux as well via WebRTC. “We are at the gateway between engineering and informatics so a lot of our employees work with an alternative operating system, like Linux.”

In addition to participants at the workshop, scientists from different countries will also hold special lectures by video conference. “Here the benefits compared with meeting on site really come into their own,” continues Eder. “It would be extremely expensive, and in many cases simply not possible, to bring these specialists to Germany for just one lecture.” This type of presentation is also ideal when taking account of different time zones. “Lecturers from Asia don’t have to stay at their workplace late into the night – they can conveniently pass on their knowledge from home, as standard laptops or tablets can easily be used for the video conference.”

Results

To date, the feedback from Lifesize Cloud users has been extremely positive. Video conferences are now commonplace at the institute. “Video conferencing allows individual teams to network with each other very efficiently and present their results in an optimal way,” says Eder. “I am sure that the system will win recognition across the board outside of our institute.”

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