The suspension of classes, as a result of the health emergency, forced Chilean universities to accelerate their digitization processes and the incorporation of videoconferencing platforms, to ease administrative meetings and online classes for their communities.
(Author: Carolina Muñoz, REUNA) Given this scenario, REUNA's videoconferencing service, PLAZA, became an excellent alternative for all the institutions associated with the Corporation, offering their teachers favourable conditions to teach their classes remotely and autonomously.
Thus, from March 1st to April 15th, 2020, 63,224 videoconferences were held through PLAZA, while throughout 2019 the total number of videoconferences held was of 7,319. In this short period, the number of users on the platform also increased rapidly, from 1,649 to more than 15,000 active accounts.
This significant increase in the use of PLAZA and the preference of universities for the service, compared to other videoconferencing systems, is mainly due to the security and ease of access to the platform by users, through SSO, as well as the personalized technical support that REUNA provides to all its partner institutions.
As Paola Arellano, executive director of the Chilean NREN explains, “for REUNA this spontaneous growth has meant stress for the systems and, above all, for our staff. But, without a doubt, we have been up to the challenge and accompany our partners in these complex moments, which require versatility and capacity to react at a very high speed.”
Ahead of demand
Anticipating that its universities and associated research centers would need to make use of videoconferences on a massive scale, REUNA acquired new licenses, expanding the platform's capacity to 2,500 concurrent meetings in a PRO mode (up to 300 guests and unlimited duration). In addition, it made updates to its dynamic system for licensing and it activated some restrictions on its Zoom platform, to improve the security of the application.
“COVID19 has been a true trigger for ICT, causing an explosive growth in the use of technological solutions for online meetings and classes. Surely, once the health crisis is over, the demand will stabilize and even decrease, but without a doubt, many of these processes that have been implemented in an accelerated way will remain, opening a new stage, where distance work in education it is going to be installed definitively, privileging sharing and remote access, in digital platforms enabled over networks such as the NRENs", says Arellano.