As schools nationwide struggle to meet performance standards as they
watch their budgets shrink, Colorado's largest school district is
finding ways to stretch resources, spread teaching expertise across
schools and geographies, and save time and transportation costs with
mobile and desktop video solutions from Polycom,
Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in open standards-based
unified communications and collaboration (UC&C).
County (Jeffco) Public Schools, which serves nearly 86,000 students
across half of Denver and into the mountains west of the city, educators
and staff members are connecting securely face-to-face through video
with colleagues, classrooms and district offices on the same mobile
devices and PCs they rely on every day. Jeffco has embraced the
burgeoning BYOD (bring your own device) movement by welcoming
employee-owned devices and over 3,000 iPads currently being used by
"School districts everywhere are adopting tablet technology because
teachers and students want to work and teach on the devices they use at
home," said Steve O'Brien, Jeffco's director of data center operations.
"We're leveraging that BYOD phenomenon to put Polycom video in the hands
of more teachers and staff. It's just right there where and when they
O'Brien said more Jeffco employees are using the Polycom®
RealPresence® Mobile app on their iPads and Polycom® RealPresence®
Desktop software on their PCs - environments that augment the district's
six administrative conference rooms and one high-tech classroom equipped
HDX® Series group systems. "In the past three days, 51 percent of
the people who logged into a video conference were using the
RealPresence Mobile app on an iPad, and 49 percent were using
RealPresence Desktop solutions," said O'Brien. "Virtually everyone who
taps into our video conference network was using video riht in the
classroom or the office. They don't even have to go down the hall."
Video Collaboration Reaches a Tipping Point
Video usage at Jeffco Schools has reached the tipping point the district
has worked toward since it first adopted Polycom video solutions in
2009. The goal then was to reduce the need for employees to move between
the district's 150+ schools and administrative sites, with some teachers
having to make a 90-minute round-trip commute to attend an in-person
meeting or teach a class at another campus. Today, four years and 10,000
video conferences later, Jeffco operates 154 schools and programs at 185
campuses. Now communicating and collaborating over video isn't just
convenient - it's strategic.
"When you realize you can do that 30-minute meeting over video without
having to spend an hour or more fighting traffic, then the clouds part
and you see how this changes everything," said O'Brien. "Once people see
how this makes their own lives better, more often than not, they're
downloading the RealPresence Mobile app or asking for a software license
for their PC."
For teachers, video collaboration offers the chance to connect
classrooms across the district or around the world. French and Spanish
learners, for instance, can try out their language skills with students
in France and Spain. While visiting family in New Zealand, one teacher
reunited with his students over Polycom video and delivered a lecture so
engaging that two other classes requested encore presentations. One
chemistry and physics teacher, Daniel Price, even defended his doctoral
dissertation using Polycom video solutions. "The process was seamless,"
said Price, who successfully defended his research before a panel of
five academics from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. "There was no
lag in communication in terms of audio or video."
Tools like Polycom RealPresence Desktop also extend the reach of
teachers, which saves time for instructors and money for the district.
"We have teachers who will deliver a lecture to the class in front of
them, but they'll use Polycom video to bring another class in to
participate," said Brian Hughes, technology coordinator at Jeffco's
Evergreen High School. "We're up in the mountains, so traveling between
campuses can cost you a lot of time. The convenience of video
collaboration is really felt here."
The value is also evident for administrators and staff. Jeffco's
director of construction management now conducts her staff meetings over
video, which saves six department employees from having to drive in to
district headquarters. Recruiters from distant universities connect
face-to-face with students at high school career centers, and Evergreen
High relied on Polycom solutions to interview out-of-state candidates
for the school librarian post. And state budget meetings involving
accounting personnel from each district, once conducted in-person, today
are routinely handled over video. "Everyone had to drive to Denver for
budget meetings three or four times a year, but now we'll have people
from all over the state logging in using Polycom video solutions," said
O'Brien. "Everyone loves it."
Mobile Video: Friendly to Users and Available Everywhere and
"For video collaboration to be truly ubiquitous at Jeffco, it has to be
easy," said O'Brien. "Polycom's latest solutions stand out. RealPresence
Mobile 2.0 software is so easy to install and use, and it's integrated
with Active Directory, and everyone on staff has an Active Directory
account, so setting up a video call is no big deal."
O'Brien is hoping every one of the district's 12,000 employees
eventually can access video collaboration from the platforms they use
today: "We spent the last couple years focusing on how to deploy video.
Now we're focused on where. And with the advent of mobile devices, that
pretty much means everywhere."
Polycom is the global leader in open standards-based unified
communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions for voice and video
collaboration, trusted by more than 415,000 customers around the world.
Polycom solutions are powered by the Polycom® RealPresence®
Platform, comprehensive software infrastructure and rich APIs that
interoperate with the broadest set of communication, business, mobile
and cloud applications and devices to deliver secure face-to-face video
collaboration in any environment. Polycom and its ecosystem of over
7,000 partners provide truly unified communications solutions that
deliver the best user experience, highest multi-vendor interoperability,
and lowest TCO. Visit www.polycom.com
or connect with us on Twitter,
to learn how we're pushing the greatness of human collaboration forward.
© 2012 Polycom, Inc. All rights reserved. POLYCOM®, the Polycom logo,
and the names and marks associated with Polycom's products are
trademarks and/or service marks of Polycom, Inc. and are registered
and/or common law marks in the United States and various other
countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
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