In My Opinion: Vidyo Goes Viral at Arizona State University

Big news for Vidyo, Inc. today in the academic world! Vidyo has partnered with Internet2, a member-owned advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions, to create and provide a low-cost, subscription-based video communications service for all Internet2 university members and thousands of public K-12 schools in the United States. After a thorough trial run of the Vidyo-based solution at Arizona State, Emory and Northwestern Universities, the Vidyo NET+ Service is expected to be available for early adopter enrollments this May. Arizona State University was extremely influential making this happen; in fact, they sponsored Vidyo as a NET+ Service, based on the great experience they’ve had using Vidyo at ASU for the past several years. Accordingly, we could think of no one more appropriate to share their first-hand experience with Vidyo. The following is an account from Guy Mullins, ASU’s Director of New Media, Academic Technologies:

When we first introduced the use of Vidyo at ASU, it was for one particular purpose: a class at the School of Life Sciences in which our students in Tempe, Arizona communicated and collaborated with leading research scientists and experts from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s facilities on Barro Colorado Island, in the middle of the Panama Canal.  We needed a video communications solution that would allow students and faculty at ASU to connect easily and interact seamlessly with the Smithsonian experts in these remote tropical areas.  It was no small feat … but Vidyo well surpassed any of our expectations and news of this exceptional communications tool spread rapidly. Mainly through ‘word of mouth,’ we soon had others in our academic community requesting Vidyo and downloading the application.

To date, we’ve seen well over two thousand downloads of the Vidyo client application across our community. In terms of demand, we are about double the number of monthly client downloads over this same time last year.

With this in mind, we have started to look a bit more closely at who among our community are using Vidyo.

Based on our early analysis of our usage data mapped against our general user directories, it appears that Vidyo is still primarily a tool of the technical minded staff at ASU.  I anticipate that the next wave of adoption will come from faculty and researchers. Opening up this technology to a much broader range of users through simple-to-use and inexpensive Vidyo desktop tools, we’re finding many more rich, interesting, and innovative uses for video communications across our entire university and beyond.

We’re seeing scientists from a wide range of disciplines collaborate on research with their colleagues from around the world; we have expert guest lecturers being introduced remotely into our classrooms; field reports being filed by our broadcast journalism students; collaborations in the arts, theater, and more.  It is inspiring to see how a new technology can really have an impact in improving our teaching, learning, and research capabilities. Given the strong growth patterns of Vidyo usage , we believe we are only at the beginning of what is yet to come in terms of videoconferencing in the academic community. This global thinking has ironically also spawned some new ideas at home that we hope to explore soon; we’ve realized that our campus is large enough and diverse enough that we actually have numerous “field trip” opportunities we can engage in across campus – or even just down the hall – in which Vidyo can be utilized to bring hundreds of students into lab spaces, studios, research environments, and more.  We look forward to some of these “inside the box” approaches to deploying Vidyo to enhance our teaching and learning activities.

We are now averaging more than eleven hundred calls per month (1114 calls per month as of March 2013 – see above chart) either person-to-person or in collaborative group meetings.  That is far more than we were seeing just a short time ago, and arguably a ten–fold increase over any previous videoconferencing technology we’ve deployed in the past.  Again though, looking at our current rate of growth for Vidyo usage and adoption, I’m confident that in another year the numbers we’re seeing today will be relatively quaint by comparison.  The future of videoconferencing with Vidyo looks bright at ASU.

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Guy Mullins, Director of New Media at ASU’s University Technology Office, has over 25 years of experience in higher education media production. A focus on documentary and research production combined with networking and social media collaboration, Guy’s work blends both traditional and emerging approaches to educational media applications. Guy has a B.A. from the University of Arizona, where his studies focused on Radio & Television; minor studies include Fine Arts and Business, and a M.Ed., Arizona State University, with an emphasis in Educational Media & Computers.