Video brings wonder of education and collaboration to all
MCNC provides world-class videoconferencing on the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). The video services infrastructure on NCREN was upgraded July 1, 2011 to ensure the experience is as good as being there in person. As a result, MCNC now provides additional services to video customers to support the use of telepresence technologies as well as Movi-Jabber desktop videoconferencing software throughout the state.
The NCREN interactive video network handles hundreds of hours of classes, conferences and seminars each week. MCNC Video Services offers live streaming of sessions with storage capability for future viewing. And, because MCNC's video services also are able to integrate with many commercially-available interactive video technologies into sessions, desktop videoconferencing can be incorporated into sessions with more traditional room-based systems when needed. In addition to distance education, these services enable research collaboration, seminars, online workshops, and many other applications easily facilitated by interactive video.
"By facilitating real-time interaction and removing barriers to communication, Cisco TelePresence enriches learning and will help to scale expertise to classrooms in North Carolina from anywhere in the world. TelePresence brings educators and students together dynamically to build relationships and spark collaboration that leads to learning and innovation."
Cisco Vice President
Cisco Research Triangle Park Executive
The scene is becoming more common every day – teachers and students greeting each other over television monitors and computers; each sitting in separate classrooms and collaborating with one another from just about anywhere in the world. The quality of the experience is vital to effective teaching and learning. From students in Elizabeth City earning degrees at UNC Chapel Hill, to universities training elementary school science teachers, to committees and staffs holding administrative meetings across the state; to the evolving needs of health care sites and clinics, the use of video technologies continues to expand with the ever-evolving digital learning environment, distant learning, health information exchanges, and implementation of Common Core State Standards. As the demand for HD video continues to grow, NCREN is being scaled to answer the call through targeted investments in HD capabilities and equipment.
MCNC asked for volunteers from the NCREN Community to participate in the testing and integration of the video service improvements in early 2011. Those participating institutions included Duke University, Elon University, North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, NC State University, Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, and Wake Forest University. This pilot group tested the centrally-managed soft client licenses for additional devices before all upgraded services began July 1, 2011.
"We’re driven today by partnering with economic development leaders like MCNC to provide real-time education capabilities and job training to build and create jobs in North Carolina. New technology helps these students experience synchronous and asynchronous learning using leading-edge video tools and self-driven/user-driven applications such as those provided by MCNC Video Services at a much lower cost." Jonathan Vester Chief Information Officer Nash Community College
MCNC has invested nearly $35 million over the last 10 years in the upkeep of NCREN. This investment has kept the network leading edge and now allows MCNC to provide affordable next-gen video services for North Carolina’s education and other community needs. The cross-platform options now available are for both SD and HD up to 720p resolution and incorporate the most popular brands of codecs today including Lifesize, Polycom, Sony, and Cisco Tandberg. MCNC has incorporated hardware, software, and integration services to support Cisco TelePresence and Movi-Jabber interoperability with point-to-point and multipoint video services, the TelePresence Management System (TMS), and Movi-Jabber soft desktop client licenses. Specific services now include: Cisco TelePresence room registration with the MCNC Video Call Manager, support for multipoint conferences with both Cisco TelePresence rooms and H.323 rooms in the same session, self-scheduling by customers, and end-point management for supported video room and desktop systems. MCNC also provides managed soft-client-based video services as an affordable solution in the video services portfolio.
As a result of fiber upgrades through the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative and the video services network upgrades, MCNC now provides affordable next-gen video services on NCREN faster than ever before. MCNC also successfully integrated the Mediasite video content management platform and Cisco Tandberg to enable recording and archiving capabilities. This integration enables bi-directional videoconferences that are recorded during multiple-location meetings to be automatically ingested, streamed and archived. This approach allows MCNC to reach more clients, many who were not at a videoconferencing endpoint for the live broadcast, by letting them now watch the videoconferences on-demand. MCNC continues to meet the needs of customers by implementing technologies that will allow interoperable HD video exchanges between NCREN constituents in North Carolina with other HD video-capable institutions across the country and globe. These comprehensive video services foster collaboration to create greater education, training, and meeting opportunities across the entire K-20 continuum, the health care community, and all constituents served by NCREN. As video technologies progress forward, MCNC engineers continue to explore and review future enhancements and opportunities that will benefit all NCREN video customers.