by July 4, 2009 0 comments



Amity is one of India’s leadingprivate educational groups with more than
60,000 students and 2500 faculty across India. Amity institutes are located at
different parts of the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore,
Kolkata, etc. The need for interactive class rooms came from the basic concept
of Amity, i.e, uniform education for each and every student irrespective of
their location. Hence they deployed a MPLS network to connect all locations. The
reason behind deploying such a network is that they needed a secure and reliable
connection between all locations.

Dr. JS Sodhi
Asstt. Vice President,
AKC Data Systems

QWhat led to the deployment of the project ?
The ‘uniformity in education’ among all Amity locations throughout the
country is the main thought behind this project. It is practically not
possible by various domain experts & industry leaders to visit all our
campus for delivering special lectures or sharing their thoughts with
students whereas we want to give this experience to all Amity students
whereever they may be studying.

This project solutions has removed all physical distances and a single
lecture from industry top CEO can be transmitted on Amity MPLS & thus
listened by multiple Amity locations with complete two way interactivity.

QWhat according to you is the USP of the project ?
The USP of the project is that the desired results of transmission of Live
Class Room/Event has been achieved by using mix of two existing different
solutions (eLearning & Surveillance Camera) without any additional cost to
the Organization.

Earlier when Amity would invite an expert lecturer orexternal speakers, then
he/she was only able to address one classroom. Student in other locations could
not benefir from this. They were not getting good exposure to industry experts.
Amity then deployed an e-learning suite for them, which solved most their
problems. But it still lacked quality and interactivity in the education
process. For example, the video was delayed and not smooth, students could not
see who was asking questions from the other locations, and so on. The major
challenge was to implement a more interactive class room, where even students
could interact among themselves can interact, without any delay in video as well
as audio. They came across lots of video conferencing solutions from various
vendors, but and what has been finally implemented is unique.

To meet the strategic need and to implement two way audio-video setup with
minimum investment they used their exiting e-learning suite and IP cameras to
build up the system. Using the existing e-learning suite they could share
intellectual resources with other locations such as presentations, documents,
etc. And using the existing IP cameras already deployed across Amity location,
the video is transmitted over the network. Thus the video of the presenter is
captured via web cam and displayed to the student at different locations and the
IP camera is used to capture video of students sitting at different classrooms,
and displaying it to presenter as well as other student in a single window.

Company Scenario
Before Deployment
  • With the existing elearing suite, the interaction between students &
    teachers. Guest lecturers in one location could not be attended by other
    locations
After Deployment
  • The quality of interaction increased dramatically. Students from
    multiple locations can attend the same guest lecture.

There were a number of technical challenges faced during the implementation
of this project. One was requirement of dedicated high bandwidth as audio, video
and presentation were transferred via same channel. Second challenge was
integration of the e-learning software with the IP cameras. The problem was that
the IP cameras could only transmit the video, while the audio was transferred
through the e-learning package. This resulted in a lag between the audio and
video. It was restricted after a considerable amount of tuning. Plus they also
face challenges in deploying high resolution cameras in live classrooms. Since
the camera had to be fitted in a location from where the entire classroom would
be visible.

After this project was implemented successfully, there was positive feedback
from end users. Apart from this it also gave a lot of cost benefits to the
university. There were in times and travel because the guest lectureres didn’t
have to travel to multiple locations. Plus they were able to record the lecturs
and put them up on the intranet, so that others could benefit from it later.

The interactive classrooms project was implemented in 7 hardworking months
and with minimal cost. They also have a setup of complete failover, so incase
one of the servers or firewalls goes down, the backup automatically takesover.
In the future they are planning to stream the lectures directly to students’
mobiles so that they could view the lectures even if they are not present in the
class.

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