Enhancing Higher Education Through Video Collaboration

NEC Collaboration SolutionsThe integration of Web technology and collaboration solutions into higher education has become a popular trend within the University community. With the evolution of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consistent development of mobile technology, video collaboration, too, has become highly mobile. No longer does it require highly equipped teleconferencing suites with banks of equipment. Thanks to the advent of mobile technology, learners and instructors can videoconference with the click of a button on their smartphones, tablets, laptops or other mobile devices, no matter the location. This sharing and exchange of information is particularly beneficial in a higher education setting. With audio, video and web collaboration solutions, interruptions in class schedules for unforeseen circumstances such as weather or emergency school closings are a thing of the past.

 

§  Real-Time vs. Pre-recorded video options-With real-time (synchronous) and pre-recorded (asynchronous) options, administrators and educators have the tools they need to effectively collaborate within the community in the method of their choosing that they deem best for a particular student group. For example, pre-recorded messages may work best for a group of students who learn better in a self-paced educational setting.

 

§  Customized collaboration options- Many solutions offer features which have the ability to facilitate an experience just like being in a “real” classroom. An example is white-board collaboration, where the meeting facilitator can draw or write on the white board during presentation. Another beneficial feature of collaboration solutions is the ability to upload files for download. With this feature, faculty members have a place to house important class documents, and students can in turn access and save files they need without the need for the facilitator to print them, resulting in a decrease in printing and supply costs for the University.

 

§  Cloud Service utilization- Perhaps the most widely used example of cloud services is the provision of e-mail. Additionally, many colleges and universities also use tools such as YouTube and wikis to circulate information. Blogs may be used for remote communication within private groups such as a research team. Both stationary and mobile devices come in a variety of platform flavors, yet users of all types are able to meet in virtual video space. Regardless of the method, each of these tools facilitates collaboration and can enhance the learning environment and student experience.

 

§  Security- With file sharing comes obvious security concerns and questions, as data security can be compromised in the case where one or more universities may share a data center, or contract for services through a commercial provider. And while collaboration solution applications may not come without a level of risk, these concerns are easily addressed. Your individual situation will determine your methods of protection and whether you yield the greatest value in securing the devices where data is housed, or securing the data itself. Additionally, many solutions are equipped with the latest in security, from requiring unique PIN ID codes for meeting participants, to protecting the information shared within a meeting so it is only seen by those invited attendees. This reduces the need for external security applications at an additional cost to the University.

 

The benefits of collaboration within higher education extend to those within the higher education community as well as the information and communications technology (ICT) community. Many opportunities lie ahead for more extensive collaboration approaches. The collaboration opportunity for the two affords an invaluable exchange of knowledge and experience which can, in turn, be used to create additional infrastructures. Download the document to see how NEC’s Collaboration solutions are changing the way information is being exchanged while improving teamwork and reducing cost.

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NEC leverages OpenFlow to reduce transmission overload on cellular networks

NEC-ProgrammableFlow-OpenFlow-AndroidNEC continues to be a leader in the OpenFlow innovation movement.  This week in Tokyo our colleagues in Japan at NEC Corporation are demonstrating another first:  OpenFlow for Android, at iExpo in Tokyo on November 11 and 12.

Atsushi Iwata, NEC’s Senior Manager for System Platforms Research Labs, presented our findings at the Stanford Clean Slate CTO Summit this week.  Just a side note:  for those of you unfamiliar with Clean Slate, this is the interdisciplinary research program out of Stanford that has set the ambitious mission of “reinventing the Internet”.   A number of initiatives and innovations have come from Clean Slate, not the least of which is OpenFlow 1.0.  NEC, Deutsche Telekom and Stanford were the original charter members of Clean Slate, so as you can see we have been working with OpenFlow now for almost four years.

As detailed in an NEC news release recently, the Communication Control Technologies for networks and mobile devices being demoed at iExpo 2011 are designed to help reduce transmission overload for mobile carriers and customers.  Today communication carriers use data offload to deal with increases in cellular network traffic, automatically switching wireless connections from cellular networks to other high-speed wireless networks, like wireless LAN, when they are available.

The problem with this scenario is that wireless LAN connections are frequently lost due to limited coverage (those of you in major US cities surely know about this), and security is weaker than cellular networks.

NEC’s OpenFlow controller can control mobile device communication and select the most appropriate network, for higher quality, more flexible communication services.  The technology also leverages the advantages of different networks simultaneously; for example, the high-speed networking of wireless LAN can be offered at the same time as the connectivity and security of cellular networks.  This OpenFlow demonstration will control mobile device communications and switch functionality for Android.

Business policy and application needs can drive mobile communications and network switching for a more responsive, agile network and improved communications quality.   And Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), who provide mobile phone services using the infrastructure of other carriers, can select connections from multiple mobile networks with NEC’s OpenFlow controller on the network side, further enhancing their service offering.

One of the big questions coming out of this month’s OpenFlow Symposium in San Jose was around OpenFlow use cases… providing control for networks and mobile devices to reduce transmission overload surely will stir some interest.

For more information on the iExpo demo read the press release here.  Or check out what ProgrammableFlow can do for you today at www.necam.com/pflow.

The Emerging Corporate Data Center Challenge: How to Embrace the Service Provider Model

The IT world is moving toward a service delivery model.good customer said something recently that really got my attention:

IT infrastructure is moving quickly toward becoming delivered through a service model. Machines are becoming virtual running in secure data centers on large, partitionable machines.  Self-provisioned virtual IT resources are the key to success for a service model, which requires all aspects of the physical hardware to be abstracted or partitioned with permissions and given only to a tenant of the service.

– Eric Miller, CEO, Genesis Hosting

That is certainly a tall order, but underpinning this direction is the value to both end users and IT infrastructure providers of the self-service model of operations. The commercial service provider market, for example, Amazon S3, has used this model to successfully enable thousands upon thousands of organizations to buy IT services whether server, storage or networking on a “per drink” basis.

As end user organizations consider what the right solution is for them, I would like to offer a few questions to help identify the best means by which long term value and resiliency can be achieved:

·         Which architecture best supports these solutions?

·         What are the implications of self-service for product features and function?

·         What are the technical and management implications of a self-service based hosting model wherein the IaaS provider performs all           provisioning, configuration and management of virtualized IT resources?

A key driver in the on-going transformation of IT infrastructure is how to maintain resiliency in the face of the broad range of customers that need to be  supported while ensuring long-term cost efficiency.

OpenFlow Happenings: join us to learn about this transformative technology

 

Awareness of the benefits of OpenFlow continues to grow, and the ProgrammableFlow team will be making a number of appearances in the next few weeks to participate in the discussion.  We would love to have you join us.

First off, take a moment to follow our new Twitter handle at www.twitter.com/NEC_OpenFlow.

Samrat GangulyLive this week from where it all began – the Clean Slate Program, in conjunction with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) hosted the Open Networking Summit 2011, October 17-19 at Stanford.  The sold-out program featured tutorials on OpenFlow/SDN for engineers, and NEC’s Chief Network Architect, Samrat Ganguly, was a featured speaker on Tuesday, from 2 p.m. to 3:30pm, on the topic of “Redefining Network Virtualization for Cloud and Datacenter Networks with OpenFlow”.  NEC and IBM demonstrated how OpenFlow can be used to build high performance, open, data center fabrics.  The ProgrammableFlow switch and controller were featured in a number of other demonstrations.

October 25 is the OpenFlow Symposium, streamed live via Packet Pushers from the Doubletree Hotel in Silicon Valley.  In addition to NEC, panelists include Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Big Switch and Juniper.  From 10 a.m. – 12a.m. will be a business discussion around practical and applied OpenFlow Networks, and then from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. will be a technical deep dive, again with a representative panel including NEC.   Both sessions will be archived at www.packetpushers.com.  This event is also sold out.

 

On October 27th, NEC will be hosting a dozen bloggers at our Santa Clara facility.  We’ll be reporting more later on this, and for sure you will be reading about us in the days to come.   Check out this link for Tech Field Day, which will be filmed live, and tweeted at length—you may want to add some of these Twitter feeds to your Follow list: http://techfieldday.com/.

Finally, I want to tell you about the Advanced TCA Summit, a free OpenFlow seminar planned for Tuesday, November 1 from 8:30-11:20 a.m., also at the San Jose DoubleTreee.  Register at https://www.expotracshows.com/advancedtca/2011 and use the code OPENFLOW.  Chaired by Craig Matsumoto of Light Reading, this free seminar will feature speakers from BigSwitch Networks, Broadcom, and NEC.  I will be addressing “Network Scale Out Using OpenFlow:  the Rise of the Superswitch” from 10:30 a.m. – 11a.m.

 

NEC and ESnet Present “OpenFlow with OSCARS” at Joint Techs 2011 Event

NEC and ESnet demonstrated network virtualization across wide-area networks at Joint Techs.Samrat Ganguly, Senior Systems Architect, for NEC Corporation of America (NEC) paired off this week with Inder Monga from ESnetat Joint Techs 2011 in Fairbanks, Alaskato present “OpenFlow with OSCARS:  Bridging the gap between campus, data centers and the WAN.” They were demonstrating for the first time end-to-end network virtualization across both LANs and multiple WANs, with the ability to program the network via ProgrammableFlow.  This has implications for both the researchers attending Internet2 Joint Techs, and their ability to connect and collaborate all the way through their networks, as well as enterprises implementing clouds across multiple data center sites in delivering IT services rapidly to their lines of business.

If you aren’t familiar with ESnet, it stands for the Energy Sciences Network, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.  They provide high bandwidth connections that link scientists at national laboratories, universities and other research institutions, as they work together to solve the world’s biggest scientific problems.  Because of our OpenFlow expertise and capabilities, and dating back to NEC’s initial involvement on the Clean Slateprogram at Stanford University, we were invited to work with ESnet on this exciting virtualization and automation implementation.

Even though science networking uses network virtualization today, mismatches still exist between campus networks, HPC data centers and R&E networks.   These typically require manual intervention and limit network control and flexibility.   The presentation from Ganguly and Monga demonstrated end-to-end network virtualization and flow management, making networks much easier to manage and control.

In my experience, enterprise customers need to reduce the time required for network deployment, reduce operational complexity, and enable network level automation in supporting diverse application requirements.  Now, with the open source toolkit supplied by ESnet’s On-Demand Secure Circuits and Advance Reservation System (OSCARS), and ProgrammableFlow, together they will provide the automation and secure network service provisioning that scientists and industry need to maximize the full potential of cloud computing.

Networking researchers and administrators can access OpenFlow’s capabilities on ESnet’s Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI) testbed, using NEC ProgrammableFlow switches to test out advanced concepts in networking.  More information can be found at https://sites.google.com/a/lbl.gov/ani-testbed.   The media advisory about Ganguly’s presentation is at www.necam.com/pflow/press.ctm.

And for those of you who missed our press release announcing ProgrammableFlowat Interop, learn more about our award-winning Network platform based on OpenFlow at NEC website, or call today 866-632-3226 to set up at test of ProgrammableFlow at your own installation.