Technology vendors Vemics Inc., Polycom Inc. and Broadwing Inc. are rolling out IP-based videoconferencing offerings that will give educators and corporate trainers a richer platform to interact with students at remote locations.
"Interactivity is a key learning variable for most people," said Charles Edinger, an associate provost at Seton Hall University, which is using Vemics namesake distance learning hardware and software. "The Vemics system of interactive video over IP delivers a level of quality that far exceeds anything weve found accessible over a Web browser or traditional ISDN-based videoconferencing."
The Vemics bundle, which the Nanuet, N.Y., company recently introduced, includes a multipoint video and audio bridge, PC and peripheral hardware, high-speed IP network connectivity, help desk support, and implementation services.
The two-way video enables the instructor and students to see and interact with one another during a class. The instructor controls who appears on the screen at any given time and can activate multiple cameras so that many students in different locations can see and talk with one another simultaneously, officials said. It also lets students access the Web during a session.
The Vemics system is targeted at organizations with an ongoing need for certification or training courses, such as law firms where lawyers must take continuing-education courses to meet credentials requirements. The company has partnered with Seton Hall, of Orange, N.J., to provide content for professional development courses in the legal field.
Separately, Polycom, of Pleasanton, Calif., this week will begin shipping its MGC 4.6 unified voice and video networking technology, which can be used for distance learning as well as traditional videoconferencing. The upgrade provides a single management system and a single interface to conduct and monitor audio and video conferences.
Coming at distance learning from another angle is network service provider Broadwing Inc., which last week introduced its namesake IP Videoconferencing solution. The Cincinnati-based company will offer the technology as a hosted service, like Vemics, or as a solution that companies can host themselves.