Traditionally, when collaborators at UTHealth choose to meet without having to be physically at the same venue, they’d do it by the good old-fashioned telephone.
Telephone conferencing, however, relies on voice as the only medium while much of today’s professional communication needs can be better. Add facial expression and body language to the mix and you have robust communication unmatched by what the telephone has to offer.
Recently, a new tool with all these capabilities arrived on campus. Dubbed Meet@UTHealth, the application greatly stretches the possibilities for communication and collaboration among UTHealth faculty, staff, and students and their colleagues worldwide.
Meet@UTHealth integrates audio, video, and Web technologies and allows for a broad range of modes of communication – from telephone meetings to videoconferencing, and Webinars to virtual collaboration.
“Meet@UTHealth is a highly versatile tool for meetings and collaboration,” said Dr. Stephen Fath, director of interactive video services, UTHealth Office of Academic Technology, who led the project to launch the application. “It allows you to meet face-to-face using a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, a meeting room conference system, or just a plain old telephone. With Internet access, you can participate in a meeting from anywhere at any convenient time.”
Developed by the enterprise communications technology company Acano, Meet@UTHealth enables virtual meeting rooms called coSpaces, in which invited participants can communicate in real time via audio, video and Web- or desktop-content sharing, using any of the popular computing devices available today.
During a session, the participant can seamlessly switch from one type of device to another or use multiple devices at the same time. The host of the meeting can also invite and add participants during the meeting.
“Meet@UTHealth allows for meetings of various sizes,” Fath said. “It’s a great tool for activities such as project meetings, employee training, workshops and classes, and event planning. Other possibilities might include emergency management and even telemedicine because it’s a secure application.”
Meet@UTHealth is integrated with security controls, which encrypt its content and connections. The user needs a passcode to enter a coSpace, and a meeting participant has control over what exact content to share with fellow attendees.
Meet@UTHealth can accommodate a large number of participants per meeting session. During videoconferencing, Meet@UTHealth can accommodate up to 250 participants on high-definition connections only, 500 on standard-definition connections only, or a combination of both high-definition and standard-definition connections. Without using video, up to 1,500 participants can join a conference using audio and file-sharing.
How to use Meet@UTHealth
To use Meet@UTHealth, first decide on the device or devices you want to use to enter a coSpace – a computer or mobile device, and the device’s operating system.
Then install a client for the device and operating system you’ve chosen. Meet@UTHealth has different clients for PC, Mac, iPad, and iPhone. All devices can access the system using the Chrome Web browser. All clients provide the same look and feel.
Next, use the credentials assigned by UTHealth Interactive Video Services to sign in to Meet@UTHealth coSpace and start your meeting.
UTHealth faculty, staff and students can obtain credentials by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, “Meet@UTHealth ID.” The body of the message should include your first and last name and your direct UTHealth telephone number. You will receive a confirmation and documentation that includes a user manual by email within 24 hours.
For support and further information, email Interactive Video Services at email@example.com or call 713.500.5201.
– Zen Zheng, Office of Advancement