The film and media industry is big business. For its part, this industry is concerned that academia does not always understand the skills it needs, a view not shared by Dr Manuel José Damásio, Head of Communication Arts and Information Technologies at the University of Lusofona in Lisbon, Portugal. “European universities have a long tradition of seeing themselves as beacons of knowledge and cultural excellence,” says Damásio.

An opportunity came when the EU launched a new initiative, called Knowledge Alliances, aimed at improving university business cooperation to create new multidisciplinary curricula and to promote entrepreneurship within education.

When the Knowledge Alliance invited proposals for projects, the University of Lusofona seized the opportunity. Its plans for a “Cinema and Industry Alliance for Knowledge and Learning” (CIAKL) project was one of only 3, out of over 90 submissions, to be accepted for partial funding by the EU. CIAKL will see the university lead a consortium of five other European universities, and partners from the cinema and digital media industry.

“We wanted to create an infrastructure, a rich collaborative environment not just for this particular initiative, but for other projects, eventually across all disciplines throughout the university,” says Damásio.  The Lusofona team looked at solutions from a number of vendors, but eventually decided on a campus based Cisco collaboration platform consisting of Cisco WebEx Social© and Cisco Show and Share®, as well as a Cisco Unified Computing System©, complementing an existing WebEx© deployment.

“Having Cisco Services overseeing everything provided extra confidence, both in terms of achieving a successful project outcome and also getting the maximum benefit from the new technology”
Dr Manuel José Damásio, Head of Communication Arts and Information Technologies, University of Lusofona

“We trusted Cisco technology. They were the only supplier able to offer a complete set of tools and an end-toend environment in which video was integrated throughout,” says Damásio.  To help reduce risk in its investment, the university also drew on Cisco Services’ expertise. In addition to creating the high-level design, Cisco Services produced the detailed low-level design, helping ensure the solution integrated perfectly into the university’s existing systems. Using a “train the trainer” approach, Cisco Services also provided operational training to the university’s own staff and were on hand to help resolve any issues during the first month of operations.

Fast facts
Business challenge
  • Help ensure effective knowledge transfer between academia and business
  • Better equip students with entrepreneurial skills
  • Establish learning platform, irrespective of geography
Network solution
  • Cisco Collaboration environment
  • Cisco Unified Computing System for virtualised hosting and delivery
  • Cisco Services for design, implementation, and knowledge transfer
Business results
  • Secure and scalable platform for collaboration and learning in film and media industry
  • Ability to share, manipulate, and manage video content among students
  • New student generation equipped with skills and mindsets for creative and commercial success
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