Colin Farquhar, CEO at Exterity, tells CIE what Exterity’s large-scale IP video system enables the University of Surrey Vet School’s pupils to do.

Opened in 2015 by The Queen, the University of Surrey’s new £45 million School of Veterinary Medicine (which was recently integrated with a Crestron technology audio visual solution) offers students a world-class facility with state-of-the-art clinical, pathological, teaching, research and diagnostic laboratories and skills centres.

Growing in recognition as a leading veterinary medicine and science institution, The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 has already ranked it as the top veterinary biosciences degree in the UK.

As such, the specialist education centre needed to ensure that it offers the very best in terms of educational facilities in order to uphold its reputation.

With the increasing integration of technology into universities, students have high expectations when it comes to accessing high quality content that is tailored to their curriculum requirements and will best equip them for professional life.

“Education centres are investing more into video,” begins Colin Farquhar, CEO at Exterity. “In this kind of environment, particularly when you’re doing things like dissection and intricate procedures, you have a very limited physical space, so it’s hard to drag hundreds of students into that kind of environment. So they can now take that environment and deliver it out around the campus to lecture theatres – it’s a really important and useful facility for the university.”

Indeed, with half of the world’s top 10 veterinary science schools located in the UK, competition is fierce and technology plays a crucial role in the students’ choice, as well as the quality of the course material.

To ensure that it could offer tailored video services in the Veterinary Pathology Centre, the University of Surrey decided to extend its collaboration with Exterity, which already equips the Surrey Sports Park.

The Solution

The university worked with Exterity to deploy a large-scale IP video system to give veterinary students access to high quality live streams and recorded videos of dissection lectures.

Nine encoders and 15 screens were installed to transmit IP video across the school’s facilities, enabling the University’s AV team to transmit live footage of dissection sessions in the Veterinary Pathology Centre to two lecture theatres for viewing by up to 250 students at a time. The sessions are also recorded on the university server for students to access and refer to in their own time.

“Video is part of that total solution for education now,” says Colin. “The university now has a consistent, scalable video distribution system that gives them campus-wide reach, so they’re able to leverage their learning from previous experience with us for their new school.

“The technology enables better delivery of a lesson of a laboratory experience out to large numbers of students, but it’s also collecting that material and recording it and making it available on demand to support study and review. The technology is a new way of engaging with the courses and I think there’s an increased expectation that there will be a strong video component in the teaching environment these days.”

“The University’s Surrey Sports Park was the first facility on campus to work with Exterity and it went so well that the decision to work with them again to enhance the School of Veterinary Medicine was a logical one,” adds Simon Loder, senior media systems analyst at the University of Surrey.

“Observing and learning from live dissections is an essential component to veterinary education on our campus, so being able to offer our current and prospective students access to live and recorded footage is paramount for us. The nature of a pathology environment also brings complications regarding access and at times hazard containment, by using the Exterity solutions we are able to give students access to material that they would not normally be able to see. The Exterity deployment has been a big success and we look forward to continue working with them in the future as we prepare to grow our student enrolment over the coming years.”

The Result

The Exterity system deployed across the School of Veterinary Medicine delivers live and recorded videos of livestock, equines, exotics and companion animal dissections and lectures to its BSc, MSc and PhD students.

It enables more students to safely observe and learn from these dissections, live or recorded through the school server for later reference. The university already plans to extend the system to offer video recordings of more courses accessible via a Video on Demand (VOD) portal across the university campus, beyond the School of Veterinary Medicine.

“The feedback has been very positive – the most important thing is that we’re providing access to an environment that the student doesn’t normally get access to,” Colin reinforces.

“They’re able to experience the laboratory and are able to get the experience of the operating environment in a way they wouldn’t have been able to do in the past – certainly not on the scale that they are able to now, and as early in their university career as is the past. It’s really adding a new dimension and a significant value for this school.

“One of the great things about delivering video over an IP infrastructure is that as long as the IP network is well constructed and it has the right multicasting and technologies to support streaming, then the deployment can be straightforward. The network infrastructures that universities in the UK have are well placed to take advantage of this class of content and deliver it effectively.”

Colin confirms that the extensive use of IP video as a learning tool is a huge incentive for students to choose the University of Surrey. “We are looking forward to continue working with the University of Surrey to offer even more high quality and accessible content to students across different fields of study and the wider campus.”

The Exterity IP video system at a glance:

  • AvediaServer to manage and control all video activity on the network
  • Encoders used for streaming TV and video to the Surrey Sports Park and the School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Set-top Receivers to deliver video streams to over 12 screens
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