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By Ben Fineman, Program Manager for Internet2
It’s no secret that Zoom has been generating a lot of interest in the research and education community. By Zoom’s own count, they currently have users at over 5,800 separate educational institutions. That’s a lot! There’s clearly something going on there to take note of, and we’ve been watching Zoom for several years now. But, it wasn’t until this year that Zoom’s relationship with the Internet2 community moved to the next level. University of Notre Dame stepped up to sponsor Zoom into the NET+ program, and Zoom has entered via the QuickStart track. So, as announced today, the NET+ Zoom service is immediately available for use by additional schools.
We’re celebrating this launch with an introductory webinar on December 6th. Register now for this webinar to hear from both Notre Dame and the University of New Hampshire about their experiences with NET+ Zoom.
Zoom has differentiated itself as both an economical and high quality video collaboration platform. Many users report that they enjoy the interface experience of using Zoom and find it intuitive, which is especially important for guests using the system for the first time. Equally important for us are the interoperability features of Zoom – standard H.323 and SIP systems can call in natively, and of course single sign on via Shibboleth is supported out of the box. Zoom also includes LTI/LMS integration with our other NET+ services, including NET+ Canvas, NET+ Blackboard, and NET+ D2L. Finally, the video and audio quality in Zoom calls are top notch.
We’re sometimes asked, why add another video collaboration service to the NET+ program? Internet2 isn’t here to pick winners, rather to provide a level playing field on which to best meet the needs of our members. Different institutions have requested and used different platforms, each with key differentiations. Zoom is a strong complement to the other video platforms that are available through NET+.
Zoom is part of our QuickStart program, which means their service is immediately available to any institutions who want to subscribe concurrently with the service validation process. So, it’s important to note that NET+ Zoom has not yet completed the full service validation that every NET+ provider must go through, but they’ve agreed to all the components of it – security, identity, network integration, accessibility, and everything else – and is available to our members today. If you’d like to be part of the NET+ Zoom Advisory Board and help with the validation process, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as we have room for a couple more institutions on the initial board.
The upcoming webinar on December 6th will be held on the Zoom platform, and two of our members will talk about how it’s working for their institutions. I’ll be there to moderate, but it’s my hope to talk as little as possible so our great speakers from Notre Dame and the University of New Hampshire can share their experiences. Paul Drake, Product Manager for University of Notre Dame, and David J. Blezard, Sr. IT Manager for University of New Hampshire are both video collaboration veterans as well as Zoom experts at this point. Paul and David will both tell it like it is, sharing the triumphs, challenges, and lessons learned as part of their Zoom deployments. And, even if you can’t attend, I encourage you to register so we can send you the recording afterwards.
I’m excited to add Zoom to our portfolio of NET+ video services. The quality of the platform combined with their dedication to engagement with the research and education community create the potential for a great deal of community value.
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