Low-latency video conferencing software powers live online concert

LOLA reduces transmission delays, or latency, to roughly 35 milliseconds. To the musicians’ ears, that’s like being on the same stage.

Technology that allows musicians in different places to perform together in real time was dramatically demonstrated Oct. 2 in Philadelphia, where a violinist and cellist hundreds of miles apart played a duet as if they were on the same stage.

More than 600 engineers, researchers, and scientists jumped to their feet and cheered after the performance at the Internet2 fall member meeting at a downtown hotel.

Violinist Marjorie Bagley, on stage in Philadelphia, and cellist Cheng-Hou Lee, projected on a video screen in DeKalb, Ill., performed the tricky Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia for cello and violin to show off LOLA. That’s the nickname for the low-latency audio and video conferencing software developed by researchers from the G. Tartini Music Conservatory in Trieste, Italy, and the Italian Research & Education Network.…Read More

Ed-tech heavy hitters talk collaboration at EduComm

Higher education will focus on video technologies in coming years, EduComm speakers say.
Higher education will focus on video technologies in coming years, EduComm speakers say.

Decision makers from Cisco, Microsoft, and Google said higher education’s movement toward collaboration-friendly technologies would rely heavily on video communication, and one official had advice for faculty who stand against moving toward nontraditional, digital learning: retire.

Representatives from three of the biggest players in the education technology field spoke to about 800 college IT officials June 8 at the annual EduComm conference in Las Vegas, where attendees gathered for dozens of daily sessions covering the latest in school technology. The conference ends June 9.

Ian Temple, director of Cisco Global Education, joined Obadiah Greenberg, head of Google Apps for Education, and Cameron Evans, Microsoft Education’s chief technology officer, in a discussion about how video and cloud computing can connect educators to their teachers and peers.…Read More

Next iPhone has clearer screen, video chat capability

The next iPhone comes out June 24 and will have a higher-resolution screen, longer battery life, and thinner design, as well as a camera on the front that can be used for video conferencing, reports the Associated Press. CEO Steve Jobs opened Apple Inc.’s annual conference for software developers June 7 by revealing the iPhone 4, which will cost $199 or $299 in the U.S. with a two-year AT&T contract, depending on the capacity. The iPhone 3GS, which debuted last year, will still be available, for $99. The iPhone 4 is about three-eighths of an inch thick; the previous iPhone was nearly half an inch. It is getting a camera on the front that could be used for video conferencing, in addition to a five-megapixel camera and a flash on the back. It can shoot high-definition video, catching up to some other smart phones. The display on the new iPhone remains 3.5 inches diagonally, but Jobs said it can show four times as many pixels—the individual colored dots that make up an image—as the previous screen…

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Will Skype eclipse fee-based videoconferencing?

Educators are abandoning professional video-conferencing software for the free, easy-to-use Skype
Educators are forgoing professional video conferencing software for the free, easy-to-use Skype.

With school budgets continuing to shrink, many educators are turning to free or inexpensive software such as Skype, along with the web cameras that now come standard on most laptop computers, to connect with other classes or colleagues online—forgoing traditional (and more expensive) video conferencing solutions.

Numerous educators said they have used Skype in one form or another for lesson planning or instruction, with most citing its cost (or lack thereof) and ease of use as the main reason for going with the software program.

Skype offers a range of free services, including the ability to make voice or video calls and send instant messages to other Skype users. Users also can pay for services such as making calls from a PC to a landline or cell phone.…Read More

Ed-tech officials: Video will make schools more ‘efficient’

Retaining good students was the top priority for K-12 and college administrators.
Fifty-three percent of school officials said they would buy video technology in the next year.

More than half of education technology officials in K-12 schools and higher-education institutions said they would buy video technology in the next year to make their schools “more effective and efficient” and better prepare students for the workforce, according to a new survey from technology giant Cisco Systems.

The survey results, compiled by Washington, D.C.-based research and polling firm Clarus Research Group, come seven months after Cisco bought Tandberg, a leading video conferencing company. Observers expect Cisco’s purchase—which initially was snubbed by Tandberg stockholders, who balked at the $3 billion bid—to make the company one of the leading video providers in schools and colleges.

While 53 percent of administrators and school technology officials said their institutions “are likely” to buy video equipment sometime in the next year, more than eight in 10 survey respondents said technology plays a role in “improving how students learn,” with 82 percent agreeing that education technology will play a “large role” in “helping prepare students for the workforce of the future.”…Read More

Colleges turn to unified communications to save costs, boost productivity

More schools are implementing unified communications solutions.
More schools are implementing unified communications solutions.

More K-12 schools, colleges, and universities are turning to unified communications as a way to streamline campus communication and save money in unpredictable economic times, a new survey suggests.

Unified communications is the convergence of enterprise voice, video, and data services with software applications designed to achieve greater collaboration among individuals or groups and improve business processes. Component technologies include video, audio, and web conferencing; unified messaging; and more.

The benefits that education technology stakeholders see in implementing unified communications are the same that executives in the government and business sectors see, according to the second annual Unified Communications Tracking Poll from CDW Government Inc. (CDW-G), which provides products and services to education and other sectors.…Read More