Consistent communication and collaboration are at the heart of any successful educational institution. Data and information must stream seamlessly between faculty members, stakeholders, training providers, and students daily.
Increasingly, this information is beginning to move through various channels, from phone and email to collaboration platforms and video conferencing services like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. As a result, many educational leaders are beginning to invest in “Unified Communication” tools to help align data, processes, and people in the quest for phenomenal learning.
Unified Communication (UC) strategies can address many complex problems in the educational landscape. They help team members to manage data securely and safely while ensuring staff can collaborate on more effective lesson plans. However, to take advantage of the benefits UC solutions offer companies first need a clear strategy.
Using UC to Optimise The Educational Landscape
The demand for Unified Communications in Education has increased significantly in recent years following the rapid adoption of new online and hybrid learning practices. Technology is now a core component of a successful educational facility, as it helps to bridge the gap between distributed faculty members, administrators, and students.
“The smart capabilities of AVer’s AV solutions for education help professionals elevate the hybrid/mobile teaching experience.” said Rene Buhay, SVP Sales & Marketing for Aver Europe.
UC technologies empower schools and training providers to offer distance learning and online educational options and open the door to more immersive experiences. The right tools can transform any space into a classroom with video conferencing, file sharing, and useful analytics. The question is, how do leaders optimise UC for the educational space?
Step 1: Set Goals for UC in Education
The first step in developing any new strategy in the educational industry is setting the right goals for new investment. Companies need to take the time to define what they want to offer both students and faculty in terms of functionality and performance.
For instance, a traditional college or university could use a UC solution to offer remote and online learning opportunities to students who can’t attend classes in person. This would require teams to set up video conferencing and recording tools within a standard lecture hall, so students can join a lesson in real-time and view content on demand.
The same solution would require brands to implement tools which allow students to interact with the learning experience. Messaging tools, video conferencing solutions, and file-sharing applications can allow students to participate more actively in the learning process, even when joining classes from home. At the same time, companies can also leverage UC in education to achieve other goals, such as:
- Improving collaboration and creativity between different specialists and teachers.
- Managing data and collecting insights into both students and faculty.
- Empowering crucial conversations between parents, teachers, students, and other educational staff members.
Step 2: Choose the Right UC Platform
Following an assessment of the use cases and goals available for the educational institution investing in UC, the next step is selecting a software platform for communications. There are countless options available on the market today, complete with integrated tools for telephony, chat, and video conferencing, as well as file sharing and digital whiteboarding.
Some solutions, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, have built-in capabilities specifically intended to help learning groups set up online lessons and webinars. Others come with integrations and apps which allow brands to connect their communication system to their Learning Management tools, CRM, and other essential services.
Many business leaders may also want to consider combining their UCaaS environment with CCaaS solutions when selecting a UC platform for the educational space. Built-in contact centre functionality may make it easier for administrators and team leaders to collaborate on customer service strategies to engage parents and alums.
Step 3: Select Audio and Video Hardware
While the software involved in a great UC deployment is crucial to ensuring a positive user experience, it’s also vital not to underestimate the audio and video technology. These tools are essential for bringing staff and students together in various digital learning environments. Some solutions come pre-certified for UC platforms like Zoom, while others are platform agnostic.
While the exact video and hardware tools required by educational institutions may vary, some of the most common necessities include the following:
- PTZ Camera: Pan Tilt and Zoom cameras with powerful autofocus features, facial recognition, and AI enhancements improve the classroom experience for students and faculty members. Innovative tools like the DL30 from AVer come with simple controls, plug-and-play connectivity, and powerful image analysis capabilities.
- NDI Cameras: NDI cameras are increasingly valuable in e-learning, as they allow educators to stream high-quality video with pre-recorded content and embedded audio. The AVer NDI camera range follows the latest NDI standards to deliver exceptional low latency controls and robust streaming.
- Visualiser Cameras: Visualiser cameras allow students and teachers to instantly stream vivid images of any object to a larger audience with HD clarity. These tools combine the best teaching capabilities of digital cameras, magnifiers, and overhead projectors into a comprehensive and straightforward device.
- Microphones and Speakers: Microphones and speakers allow educators to capture the appropriate information from a lecture or lesson to send to distributed students. Tools like the AVer PTZ link enable companies to immediately access voice-tracking technology and exceptional audio pickup to make lessons more engaging.
Step 4: Stock Up on the Right Accessories
After implementing the right audio and video hardware and choosing the correct UC platform solution, the final step in optimising the UC educational environment is choosing the right accessories. Wide-angle webcams are excellent for capturing information from whiteboards, or companies can invest in digital whiteboards to make uploading content to the cloud easier.
Charge and store trolleys make it easier to manage classroom devices across a larger ecosystem of education providers. The charge and sync carts from leading AV companies like AVer today ensure every device can be easily stored and monitored at the end of each day.
Combining the right accessories with a comprehensive UC ecosystem ensures business leaders in the educational space can deliver meaningful learning interactions to students in the classroom and those connecting over the internet without compromise.