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A Culture Changing Journey With Video Conferencing

Mr Geoff Lambert

Western Sydney University

Technology without a positive user experience is as useful as a boat anchor. In 2015, Western Sydney University had an ageing fleet of video conference rooms, a culture among staff that avoided ‘video’ meetings at all cost, hours wasted in cars driving between campuses, and a string of continual complaints about the experience. Discussions of the possibility of teaching ‘online’ met with laughter and occasional tears.

Selecting Zoom as a low price, innovation opportunity that might at some point encompass rooms, personal use, and teaching webinars all in a single platform, Western Sydney began a journey that saw its online use explode – 50% growth, month on month for over two years. Today it has more than 15000 users and 1 million online meeting minutes each month. What began as a tactical response with aspirations of possibly enabling innovation, grew wings and took flight. Western Sydney went on to be one of the international case studies for Zoom, and exemplar to an industry only just beginning to explore so ware based solutions for video conference rooms and webinars.

As the stability and usage of video conferencing grew, so did expectations that all spaces should be future ready, and able to be connected online whenever was needed. The staff culture changed from one that avoided such meetings and teaching, to one that embraced and expected it. Today, it is almost impossible to schedule a meeting of four or more persons without at least one of them requesting to join via Zoom. The space types and standards have now been designed with Zoom in mind covering everything from meeting rooms to lecture theatres, collaborative studios, online teaching booths, and even simulation hospital wards and multi-use seminar rooms for upwards of 150 people.

In four years, the culture of Western Sydney University staff transformed around video conferencing, from avoidance at all cost, to every new space enabled.  A thousand-fold increase in use, users, and trust. A culture that is future ready. See how they achieved this in this 7 minute pictorial glimpse in to the life of Zoom at Western Sydney University.