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University Business, Sep 2010

Panasonic’s KX-VC500 HD Visual Communications System has been designed so that a videoconferencing session can be conducted as though all the participants?remotely or present?are in the same room. The HDVC system enables full high-definition images to be displayed on a variety of compatible monitors. It can even project images with a HD projector on a large screen. Multiple HD cameras can be used at the same time, allowing a second camera to zoom in and share images with many physical details. The system employs H.264 video compression technology and requires roughly half the bandwidth of competitive systems. With on-screen guidance and one-touch memory keys, the system costs about $30,000. Visit

CampusTours AnyMap is a content-managed interactive map system that can transform an existing campus map into an interactive multimedia presentation. The maps are stored on the respective college or university’s server and can be updated or expanded with software that is included. The system has multiple movement controls to adjust a map for better viewing. A deep link feature can bookmark any point in the map. An optional guided tour feature is available for an additional cost. A mobile upgrade feature, to be released later this year, will enable maps to be viewed on smartphones. Pricing for the system is based on the size and complexity of a map, but is under $15,000. Visit

Pearson’s GrammarPrep app series can help take the guesswork out of proper English usage. Students can improve their writing skills while administrators get a brush up on theirs. Rich multimedia tools such as video tutorials and podcasts teach users how to recognize and correct common grammatical errors. There are also quizzes and practice tests, and a “high scores” tracker lets users gauge their progress. Apps in the series highlight everything involving sentence structure, such as pronouns and verbs, and can be purchased from Apple’s iTunes for $2.99 each. Learn more at

The B1-LED-PICO, a handheld projector from FAVI Entertainment, is ideal for computer or laptop-based presentations. The mini-LED projector includes a native SVGA resolution (800 x 600 pixels) and VGA input (RGB) and offers bright projection with 35 lumens. Internal memory of up to 4GB and an expandable microSD card slot provides more options for storing and displaying videos and photos. It has built-in speakers and a headphone connection. The projector comes in a package that includes a mini tripod, remote control, VGA/composite combo cable, mini USB cable, and AC adapter. It weighs eight ounces and costs $297. Visit

The node chair from Steelcase Education Solutions was designed to provide flexible and comfortable seating for any teaching environment such as a lecture hall setting or group discussion. The chair’s mobile base lets it be moved back and forth across a floor with ease. Its swivel seat allows for students to rotate it for better classroom viewing. The base and arm of node can hold backpacks or other personal items in place to keep aisles clear and floors uncluttered. A work surface can support laptops, mobile devices, notebooks and textbooks. The chair costs $399, $599 with the work surface. Visit

NetSimplicity’s Meeting Room Manager 8.2 boasts a number of new features for making room and resource scheduling more efficient. The software has a new public calendar add-on, advanced reporting capabilities, and enhanced administration, calendar, and workflow features. There are also two new optional add-ons. SocialView lets users easily share their institution’s room reservations and events through private and public calendars published online, while Reports Designer provides advanced features for customizing reports with a self-service browser tool. Meeting Room Manager 8.2 is available through a Software-as-a-Service delivery model. Pricing starts at $2,500 annually and can be licensed either as a subscription service or a purchased license. Visit

NCast Corporation has introduced a new family of Presentation Recorders. The line includes five models of high-definition recorders and streamers that combine video and graphics capture with synchronized audio for users to webcast and preserve for later playback. Ideal for recording meetings and classroom lectures, the products provide H.264 streaming and recording. The line includes units that can be mounted directly into a podium or an equipment rack, to a set-top box for receive-only operations. A dual-encoder model can transmit to a dual-screen display. The models start at $4,995. Visit

The Dell Latitude E5410 and E5510 laptops were made to require minimal IT oversight with features for easier maintenance and were built to be durable. A fast-response, free-fall sensor and StrikeZone shock absorber can help protect the device from drops. A gesture-enabled touchpad lets users work in virtually any situation. An anti-microbial keyboard can help keep the surface clean. The laptops also have a long battery life and possess a webcam and noise-reducing microphone for videoconferences. They differ on screen sizes and pricing. The 14.1-inch Latitude E5410 starts at $759 and the 15.6-inch E5510 begins at $789. Learn more at

FSR’s Flex-LT Room Control System can meet needs in lecture halls and meeting rooms. The versatile unit can be mounted in a wall or placed on a desk to present an easy-to-use and understand color touchscreen. The user can choose options such as what source is being displayed, to controlling various sources, to raising or lowering the shades or screen, and more with a simple touch. A built-in scheduler can automatically shut off displays and alert the support staff about issues such as an elevated lamp life. The system costs $695. Learn more at

Maguire Associates’ comprehensive retention services program offers evidence-based recommendations that can be actively applied to efforts for increasing retention rates and net revenues. Four distinct services are based on specific needs and timetables. At about $25,000, an online Diagnostic Audit captures what various department heads think is successful in managing critical retention strategies. Results are combined with a site visit, competitive and comparative analyses, and secondary research to create a written assessment and action plan. The Short-Term Attrition Reduction Service (about $45,000), a 60-day program, centers on why students are leaving and tracks those who are at risk to prevent attrition. The 120-day Long-Term Retention Enhance Service (ranging between $75,000 and $100,000) verifies that an institution can deliver on the collegiate experience they promise students. Both programs are combined in the Comprehensive Retention Plan. Also, a free retention revenue estimator can measure the financial impact of factors such as the percentage of students retained from the first to second year. Learn more at

Nuance Speak & See from Nuance Communications is a suite of software tools made to aid students with learning disabilities through speech recognition and text-to-speech. Users can vocally create notes, e-mails or documents, as well as launch applications. The suite can also help students with physical challenges use PCs without struggling with a mouse or keyboard and ESL students by letting them hear spoken words. The suite provides speech recognition, a screen leader and magnifier, a reading and writing toolbar, and a language learning assistant. It costs $249.99. Educational discounts are available. Visit

CommonSpot 6.0 by PaperThin contains new solutions for users to better create and update content for their institution’s website and to help build a sense of community with site visitors. The web content management system now offers apps such as user profiles and blogs so users can contribute text and/or add their personal comments. Its new user interface allows for new and revised content to be published more quickly. Application Development Framework, an open source tool, helps cut down on time needed for web development. A My CommonSpot dashboard features shortcuts and saves searches and stores preferences. Pricing for CommonSpot 6.0 is based on four different options. A hosted option starts at $150. License options, depending on user requirements, can start at $10,000. Visit

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