Arizona State University Selects Vidyo to Enable Virtual Classrooms in Tropical Biodiversity with the Smithsonian

Mar 21, 2011

ASU Undergraduates and Doctoral Students Communicate with Smithsonian Scientists in Panama and Washington, D.C. via VidyoConferencing

Hackensack, NJ – March 21, 2011 – Vidyo, Inc. today announced that undergraduates and doctoral students from Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences are currently engaged in “face-to-face” interactions with staff scientists from the Smithsonian Institution in Panama, using Vidyo’s award-winning video communication and collaboration solution. Through high-quality, multipoint Vidyo™ conference exchanges, experts from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and scientists at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., are sharing real time classroom activities with ASU professors and students.  Vidyo’s reach and capabilities extend to remote areas in Panama over general purpose IP networks, including the Internet.

“Vidyo’s groundbreaking technology and video conferencing system transforms mediated classrooms on campus into real time, research and learning environments,” says Robert E. Page, Jr., dean of the School of Life Sciences. “Students can participate in high quality video interactions with researchers from remote areas, plus collect and share data via the Internet, all at the same time, on their laptop or desktop PCs or Mac. No other video communications solution offers the kind of access, ease-of-use and quality that we’re getting via Vidyo.”

The School of Life Sciences-Smithsonian Program at ASU

The virtual classroom program debuted last Fall semester in ASU’s “Current Topics in Tropical Biology class. The course features a series of lectures by experts from ASU and STRI in Panama. In addition to the expanded global classroom activities, Smithsonian researchers are working with ASU colleagues and mentoring students on site in Arizona. One important goal of the ASU-STRI collaborative is to promote educational opportunities globally; in particular, research and discovery in the areas of biofuels, social structure, sustainability and species diversity.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI) in Panama offers facilities that allow staff scientists, fellows, and visiting scientists to pursue a range of tropical studies, from field studies in sustainability and ecoservices to investigations of molecular and marine sciences and sociobiology.  The continuity of the institution’s long-term ecological programs, for example on Barro Colorado Island, enables in-depth investigations that attract more than 900 elite scientists, students and visitors a year.

The Use of Vidyo Communications

Although long distance virtual education has become more common with increasingly sophisticated software and technology that allows conferences to be accessed via the Internet,  what sets Vidyo apart is low cost, mobility – the ability to use it in a field setting – use of a simple desktop interface, and the number and quality of multiple simultaneous connections.

“Vidyo technology and products are uniquely suited for applications such as the educational partnership between ASU and the Smithsonian,” said Ofer Shapiro, co-founder and CEO of Vidyo. “Vidyo delivers HD, multi-party video communication over less than perfect networks such as the Internet. It allows access by multiple participants over PC and Mac laptops, desktops, and soon, tablets and smartphones. This is why it is perfect for use in field settings and remote locations. The high quality Vidyo delivers from a jungle in Panama is what makes this solution exceptional.”

Sharing Lessons with K-12 Schools

The educational experiences to be created by the ASU-Smithsonian virtual learning sessions are expected to extend beyond Arizona State to users, such as K-12 classrooms, worldwide.  “We would like the benefits of this program to reach other students who would otherwise not have access to such a great resource,” said Page.  According to Charles Kazilek, creator of ASU’s K-12 online science education website, Ask a Biologist, “With the ASU Vidyo virtual classroom system in place, we can offer a very affordable program to public schools – the only thing that’s needed is an Internet connection. Vidyo’s solution is a fraction of the cost of alternatives and was the only solution that could actually do what we wanted.”

About ASU’s School of Life Sciences:

More than 2,500 undergraduates are currently enrolled as life sciences majors in the School of Life Sciences. With  650 faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff, the School of Life Sciences provides a wide spectrum of focused experiences for undergraduate and graduate students that build on ASU’s and Arizona’s burgeoning role in biotechnical and biomedical research. The dynamic combination of multidisciplinary approaches in collaboration with on- and off-campus partners propels the School of Life Sciences to international leadership in education, urban sustainability science, neuroscience, cellular and developmental biology, genomics and proteomics, social complexity, biogeochemistry, bioethics, emerging infectious disease, and biodiversity assessment and conservation. For more information: Follow us on Twitter@ASUSOLS.

About the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI):

Headquartered in Panama City, Panama, STRI is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The institute furthers the understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. Website:

About Vidyo, Inc.

Vidyo, Inc. pioneered Personal Telepresence enabling natural, HD multi-point videoconferences on desktop computers and room systems, and VidyoCast, an affordable cloud-based broadcast solution. Vidyo’s patented VidyoRouter architecture eliminates an MCU while delivering the industry’s best error resilience and lowest latency videoconferencing and broadcast solutions over the Internet. Vidyo’s solution utilizes H.264/Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and the company has been active in various standards bodies driving H.264 SVC and SIP interoperability since 2005.


Vidyo Contact:

Mari Mineta Clapp

(408) 398-6433


The VIDYO logo is a registered trademark of Vidyo, Inc., VIDYO and the trademarks of the VIYDO family of products are trademarks of Vidyo, Inc. and the other trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners.”

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