We’ve previously discussed Polycom’s partnership with Microsoft’s CityNext initiative, which was created to assist city leaders in their transition to next-generation cities. By adopting comprehensive technology solutions, such as voice and video collaboration, city leaders can begin transitioning to a new and improved way of life.

Next generation cities are modern, safer, healthier, and more educated than the current norm. Education remains a priority, both nationwide and around the globe, but how can cities take that next step when it comes to educating citizens? How can education be improved when budgets are universally shrinking?

By adopting visual and unified communications solutions, educational institutions can more effectively engage students, extend reach, and expand offerings, all the while enabling administrators to overcome budget cuts, operate more efficiently, and extend resources.

By adopting visual and unified communications solutions, educational institutions can more effectively engage students, extend reach, and expand offerings, all the while enabling administrators to overcome budget cuts, operate more efficiently, and extend resources.

Educational Equity: K-12, Secondary, and Tertiary

Providing comparable learning opportunities for all students – no matter how rural – is a global challenge. While most educational institutions have numerous buildings and campus extensions, there continues to be a great need to extend to rural areas and enable students to have access to advanced courses, specialty programs, valuable content, resources, and student services.

By adopting visual and unified communications solutions, educational institutions can more effectively engage students, extend reach, and expand offerings, all the while enabling administrators to overcome budget cuts, operate more efficiently, and extend resources.

The most innovative learning environments allow administrators, faculty and students to be anywhere with a connected digital device and have access to educational content via multiple modalities.

Video and voice solutions can bring learning to disenfranchised learners; whether socioeconomically disadvantaged, geographically isolated, or with special needs. These solutions can help accommodate complex and time-consuming situations without expanding bricks and mortar.

Corporate Training/Skills Upgrade

Video collaboration solutions do a lot to support work and training across a network of dispersed locations. They give employees the flexibility to work and receive training how, when and where they are because they are able to collaborate with instructors, colleagues and peers, face-to-face.

These solutions integrate to allow live and recorded training and instruction, bringing the following benefits:

  • Training enables the development and retention of critical talent. Greater access to development means greater employee satisfaction and loyalty.
  • The capture, playback and distribution of training content in video and audio, and on a familiar platform used daily, so that participants undertake the training program at a time of their choice and at their own pace, and can access content on-demand.
  • Video collaboration enables organizations to deliver interactive, face-to-face training sessions to a widespread audience without the planning, travel, and logistics issues associated with on-site courses.
  • Accessible learning anywhere and anytime, also reduces pollution and increases productivity.
  • Bersin and Associates found that organizations with a strong learning culture are:
    • 92% more likely to devise novel products and services
    • 56% more likely to be first in market
    • 53% improved at responding to customer needs

Learning Technology; New Ways of Learning/Delivery

Educational institutions strive to develop students as global citizens, and their programs are designed to attract talented students and teachers from around the world. Students expect greater access and demand a highly personalized learning environment. Without transforming the learning environment and extending the reach, institutions will fail to keep up with the world’s changing pace.

Distance learning is interactive, and enables flexible learning with mobility. It promotes greater interactions, and empowers students to share video in collaborative learning spaces.

Teachers can monitor students’ progress by viewing who watched the lectures, as well as by integrating the live and recorded lectures with learning management systems.

The result? Flexible, affordable and accessible collaborative environments that can completely transform the way we teach and learn. By enriching curriculums and making education more interactive and engaging, learning outcomes can be greatly improved.

Distance Learning/Curriculum Management

Today’s competitive and budget-challenged environment means that administrators are highly concerned with intercampus connectivity, and their institution’s ability to extend beyond the walls to serve the educational needs of the rural and remote. But beyond extending outreach, administrators need to cut costs and improve productivity, all the while broadening curriculum and building enrollment.

Implementing video, voice, content sharing and presence collaboration solutions enables a range of enrollment and learning options. From regular course delivery, dual or concurrent enrollment, and advanced or specialty courses to remote campuses and even the home environment, learners or students who want to participate can do so in the manner that suits their location, learning style and schedule.

These solutions also greatly enhance facilities management by enabling intercampus connectivity. They can also converge disparate telecommunication network systems into one unified communication environment.

The benefits of adopting comprehensive video and voice solutions are truly numerous. A collaborative infrastructure can aid institutions in reducing costs, increasing productivity, enlarging enrollment through remote attendance, and strengthening curriculum management. Better education isn’t the whole answer, but it’s a big piece of the puzzle.

In the coming weeks, we’ll continue our deeper dive into the four main characteristics of a next-generation city. In the meantime, to learn more about Microsoft’s CityNext, click HERE.