Spacer. Polycom telepresence meeting photo.

The Solar Energy Consortium Uses IVCi's Managed Services to Hold Multi-Point
Video Conference

The use of IVCi's managed services allowed the Consortium to focus on its meeting and not the technology

By Nina Parker

The Challenge

The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC) is a not-for-profit organization that engages in scientific and educational activities to promote the use of solar power in New York State. TSEC's members include universities and technology development companies located all over New York, so getting members together in one location for project meetings proved difficult due to scheduling conflicts and travel-related expenses.

In 2009, TSEC received a government grant to install Polycom video conferencing systems at three of its sites; Hudson Valley, Clarkson, and New York City. These locations are now considered conferencing centers, and members can travel to the nearest center to attend a meeting with the other sites. TSEC Board Vice Chair Frank Falatyn was instrumental in securing the funds for TSEC's video conferencing systems. "We wanted to make meetings easier to attend," he said. "Instead of having people travel when costs are so high, it is more efficient for us to have video calls among conference centers in our members' regions. Without video conferencing we would have problems getting members to attend project meetings because everyone has busy schedules and are trying to contain their costs."

Although TSEC's video systems were covered by the grant, infrastructure products such as a bridge, gateway, gatekeeper, firewall traversal solution, and service for managing the calls were not included. Because multi-point calls can be complex to set up and manage, many users choose to outsource this task to a managed service that has the necessary expertise. When planning its next meeting, TSEC recognized that it was going to need to bring additional sites into the conference, and faced the challenge of setting up the meeting without sufficient resources.

They were able to link up a wide variety of systems and have them work seamlessly and flawlessly together.”

Frank Falatyn, TSEC Board Vice Chair

The Solution

TSEC chose industry expert IVCi to implement its Polycom solution, so when TSEC informed IVCi of its need to conduct a multi-point conference and its limited ability to manage it, a unique agreement was reached. Although TSEC was not a managed services customer, IVCi offered a one-time service of hosting the call. IVCi used its in-house Polycom HDX 9004 video system, its Polycom RMX 2000 MCU (multipoint control unit), and its RSS 2000 system for live streaming and recording.

Six conference rooms were connected over video for this meeting, and four other participants joined over streaming video. One of the requirements of the conference was to record each participant's comments so that information from the meeting could be easily added to project documents when the meeting was finished. Mr. Falatyn said he would not have attempted this type of call without a managed service. "We had three hours to get through all of our material, so we couldn't afford for something to go wrong," he said. "In addition to needing the call to run seamlessly, the streaming component was very valuable to us. IVCi recorded the entire conference and then posted the link so that people could go online and download an archived version of the entire call."

The Results

Mr. Falatyn was pleased with the outcome of TSEC's three-hour multi-point call using IVCi's equipment and services. "Having IVCi's managed services team coordinate our meeting was extremely helpful and important," he said. "They were able to link up a wide variety of systems and have them work seamlessly and flawlessly together. IVCi's managed service allowed us to have a successful meeting without worrying about the technology and wondering whether everything was functioning properly."

As it does for many of its managed services clients, IVCi provided a "service in the cloud" by utilizing its own infrastructure to bridge the various video conferencing systems, establish firewall traversal, ensure the proper bandwidth configuration, and conduct troubleshooting before and during the call. Using IVCi's services allowed TSEC to save valuable transit time, which Mr. Falatyn described as beneficial, because TSEC could "more easily get everyone together and not have to have all this downtime for travel."

"This was a real eye opener for us," Mr. Falatyn said. "Some of our agency workers had never been on a video call before, and we still don't know all that it takes behind the scenes to make the call seamless. However, the end result was that it was a truly successful meeting, and everyone thought the experience was just spectacular." End of article icon.

For more information on IVCi's Managed Conferencing Services, click here, or call 1-800-224-7083 today.

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