Time and Cost Savings: Virtual field trips enable students to safely visit new places without leaving the classroom.
Increased Learning: Attention to the subject matter increases, resulting in improved retention.
Student Collaboration: Students from different schools can work together on the same project.
Team Teaching: Teachers can enhance curriculum by virtually bringing experts into the classroom.
Professional Development: Teachers can learn new skills or earn a degree without leaving their school.
Group Meetings: Increased speed of decision making for school board administrators.
This SCN magazine interview may be lengthy – but worth the read!
IVCi made its name as a provider of video conferencing solutions in the mid-1990s, when the demand for the technology was beginning to grow. After adding an audio visual team and a Managed Conferencing Services department, IVCi has become one of the leading integrators in the country, reaching sales of over ($74) million last year.
IVCi achieved this level of success by taking the unique step of incorporating audio visual services to its offerings, because it did not want to rely on outsourcing. IVCi is now an expert in designing and implementing top-of-the-line conference rooms that can be equipped to run easy to use and reliable video conferences.
Tim Hennen, senior vice president of audio visual integration for IVCi explained, “We sold cart-based systems to our customers for a while, and eventually saw that companies were putting the systems into their conference rooms. We had been partnering with other AV integrators at first – putting the system in and allowing the other companies to finish the job – but we wanted to ensure that our customers received excellent quality and customer service. Therefore, we decided to take the process in-house. Our goal was to not only put a video component in the room, but to manage the whole AV integration of the space. We have done this successfully and are now penetrating a much larger piece of the market.”
By early 2000, video conferencing had become more popular due to its lower cost and improved reliability. Companies of all sizes were turning to video to communicate more efficiently, improve productivity, and cut down on business travel. “If you look at businesses today, there are numerous national and international locations. There are many remote offices, and these companies need our services to ensure effective face-to-face collaboration,” said Hennen.
IVCi delivers a standardized user experience at each of its client’s locations. Hennen explained, “With clients, one of the biggest problems had been that each regional office would make a separate decision about their technology purchase, so each office would have a different user experience. But now companies are getting smarter and they’re buying from a central location, and rolling out a template design or standard room configuration so that all the rooms will be the same no matter what office you’re in. So for us, the fact that we can do national roll outs makes us more desirable to work with because we can take that room design and install it nationally as well as internationally, while ensuring the same high quality experience in each room.”
IVCi also stands out from its competitors because of its many layers of customer service. Hennen expanded, “We have a full help desk, remote bridge services, and three levels of support assistance. We also have a preventive service where we’ll put people into our clients’ facilities, or manage it remotely so they can have a conference call they schedule with us. Then we’ll launch the call and verify it was implemented successfully. We’ve taken clients that have a 75 percent failure rate and brought them to over a 90 percent success rate.”
IVCi state-of-the-art facility accommodates its plans for continued growth. Hennen stated, “In the future we see sustained growth. Our vision is to be a 100 million dollar company, so to do this we will continue to meet the growing demand for our fully integrated solutions, and provide support for those solutions.”
IVCi was asked to contribute to an article on the need for AV integration in schools titled “Doing Business in Higher Education” for the March-April issue of Pro AV magazine. Check out an excerpt from the article by Tim Kridel below:
The ability to offer advertising services often depends on whether a school has a single, standardized, campus wide signage platform, rather than a hodgepodge of disparate systems that formed over time as departments deployed their own. And signage isn’t the only AV application where standardization is in demand.
“We’re seeing the need for standardized classroom control, which is the control system that manages the technology in the room: projectors, screens, audio systems, document cameras, and video sources,” says CCS’s Littlefield. “Many professors use multiple rooms, so there’s a need for consistency and ease of use.”
Littlefield says that not only is standardization a benefit to busy professors, it can also be an important part of a university’s expansion plans. Common AV systems throughout old and new buildings make servicing the technology exponentially easier.
Hauppauge, N.Y.–based integrator IVCi recently surveyed higher-education decision-makers and found that overbooked classes, limited faculty, and lost revenue are three of their biggest problems.
“Videoconferencing and distance learning are becoming the methods through which many are addressing these institutional challenges,” says Adam Kaiser, IVCi director of marketing. “We are seeing a growing demand not only for desktop and room-based videoconferencing, but also a surge in demand for fully realized virtual classroom environments powered by immersive telepresence systems.”
But perhaps the most important long-term trend—and one that spells good news for AV pros targeting the higher-education market—is that the people responsible for filling classrooms expect to use more technology, not less.
By now you have probably heard that in an effort to streamline its core business and be more efficient, Cisco is engaging in a restructuring that includes discontinuing its consumer oriented Flip video-camera division. Cisco ‘s focus has been on network, routers, and switches – the backbone of the Internet – where it continues to be the market leader. In recent years Cisco entered the video conferencing market with its line of TelePresence products and the subsequent acquisition of video conferencing manufacturer TANDBERG. We believe Cisco’s narrowed focus on B-to-B video conferencing will benefit the unified communication industry and customers alike because Cisco is a powerhouse with a proven track record of success with its products. Cisco’s management team clearly understands the necessity of video conferencing for the business world – and its focus on this and other lines of unified communication (UC) products will allow resellers to continue to deliver only top-tier business solutions to their customers.