New Smart Board for Collaboration in WestGrid Facility

ICT has recently installed a Smart Board in the WestGrid Collaboration and Visualization Facility (WGCVF) which will give researchers more, and better, ways to share information during meetings and videoconferences.

The WGCVF houses an impressive suite of visualization and collaboration equipment, offering services and in-room technical support for high definition video conferencing to 3D visualization to telephone, Vidyo, and Skype support.   The room exists to facilitate research, including 3D visualization, and research collaboration for all UofS researchers.

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A 94” Smart Board interactive whiteboard was installed in the WestGrid room this summer.  Researchers can draw with electronic pens directly on the surface of the Smart Board, and their markup shows up on the screen.  Since the Smart Board is integrated with the room video system, we can duplicate the output to one of the front screens, for maximum visibility.  Researchers can highlight and add annotations and illustrations directly on top of PowerPoint (or similar) presentations.  Best of all, everything that is written or drawn on the Smart Board can be broadcast to remote partners in a videoconference through the LifeSize vidcon unit.  With a little software configuration, it’s even possible to have the remote participants in a videoconference drawing and editing the same document at the same time as the person at the Smart Board.  And after the collaboration is done, the annotations and drawings can be saved to disk, and shared amongst the researchers as a permanent record.

The WGCVF is well equipped for academic defenses where the external examiner is at another university or institution.  The Smart Board adds key functionality for defenses: it’s now possible for the candidate to demonstrate his or her expertise by sketching a picture, or writing out some equations, and having the remote examiner be able to see this work in real time.  The Smart Board has already been successfully used in a defense involving a remote external examiner this summer.

If you’re interested in using the WGCVF for research collaboration and video conferencing, 3D visualization, or for an academic defense where one or more parties need to connect via video conferencing, please make an online booking through the automated calendar.  If you’d like to get more information, or have questions about the capabilities of the WGCVF, please write to WestGridRoomConsult@usask.ca.  For video conferencing and remote defenses, please give as much notice as possible—this will give the team the best chance of being able to support the event by conducting thorough testing.

This is the first of two entries on recent upgrades to the WGCVF—coming soon: 3D visualization!

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