BeamPro at Universities

Universities, more specifically; university professors, administrators, and students are boldly going where they haven’t gone before. Beam Smart Presence Systems are arriving on campus, and universities are discovering how Beam connects students and professors in new ways for sharing knowledge, attending class, and creating a great customer experience for students.

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(Photo: M State)

Beam fulfills the need for shared awareness between people, places, and things by combining mobility and video conferencing to for an immersive communication experience anywhere and everywhere conversations take place. Beam enables people to be there, and interact naturally by seeing and being seen, hearing and being heard, with the freedom to move about from anywhere in the world.

At Cornell Tech, Professor (and self proclaimed Beam evangelist) Serge Belongie uses the Beam at least six times per week while guest lecturers, teaching assistants and professors have beamed in from California, Ithaca, Israel and more. In addition, a Professor Deborah Estrin was able to watch presentations, congratulate graduating students and mingle in the crowd of guests – all while being 5,000+ miles away in Israel.

cornellprof (Photo from Cornell Tech)

Beam works well teaching in classrooms because it embodies the remote individual, or pilot, with his or her authentic presence, and immerses the individual using reliable low-latency audio and video for natural communication, interaction, and control. The viewing monitor is placed at eye-level, and low-latency video broadcasts in 480p in order to promote natural response times for gestures, driving, and other conversational cues. Application-specific audio makes use of six microphones, ideal for conversations up to 20 feet away, and cancels background noise; thereby making BeamPro and excellent A/V option for classrooms, events, or other noisy environments.

postdocs_beam (Photo from Cornell Tech)

Universities are using it outside the classroom as well. Dr. Peter Wielinski, chief student services officer at M State, said the college invested in the new technology primarily as a way to help meet the needs of students. With four campus locations and its online eCampus, Wielinski said, the college often faces the challenge of scheduling assistance for students at times of high demand, such as the start of a new semester.

“With a distance of 50 to 100 miles between our four campuses, the use of our Beams ensure that the most appropriate person can provide face-to-face support services anywhere on campus without delay,” Wielinski said. M State estimates the use of Beam could save the college up to $45,000 annually in travel costs for student services staff. They could also cut down on travel time and costs for administrators and others who will be able to use the technology to avoid driving for meetings and allow the college to invite guest lecturers and experts to interact with students – without any travel time or expense.

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Stanford Football Coach David Shaw beams in for a team meeting. (ESPN blog)

Often, students cannot attend a classroom in-the-flesh due to disability, sickness, or injury. University of Maryland Ph.D student Kavita Krishnaswamy has a disability and is unable to leave her home easily, she beams into academic conferences around the country and defended her PhD thesis using the device. In addition, a student involved with the LearningLab at the EMLYON Business School in Lyon, France experienced an accident while rock climbing, and managed to beam into the classroom from his hospital bed.

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More beam photos from the LearningLab at the Lyon EMLYON Business School.

Academic researcher, Mary-Anne Williams of the University of Technology, Sydney uses Beam to enhance education and communication between students for real-world applications such as research collaboration, accessibility and interaction, and conference participation. She uses Beam to connect three research labs in California, Korea, and Australia; in addition to having Steve Wozniak beam in for guest lectures.

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School beams in new teachers for their initial interviews. (See VIDEO)

The use cases are endless: beam in alumni to mentor students or attend special events, recruit high school students and athletes by beaming them onto campus, beam in guest lecturers, beam in professors who are away at a conference, beam in students who are sick or injured, share operations between multiple campuses, link academic researchers who are working on similar projects, and overall – connect people anywhere and everywhere conversations take place.

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An alumnus beams into the Stanford vs. Notre Dame football game pep rally. (Photo: Steve Toepp)

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