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PRESS RELEASE

Coventry University Creates a Unique Mobile Learning Environment in Its Serious Games Institute

Students to Synchronize Their Real-Life Locations in a Virtual Campus With Cisco and Giunti Labs' Technology

ONLINE EDUCA, BERLIN, November 28, 2007- The UK's, Coventry University has collaborated with Cisco® and Giunti Labs to create a highly innovative learning environment that blends mobile learning and virtual learning worlds technologies.

The university wanted to help give its Serious Games Institute (SGI) a technology platform on which to build a digital model of the campus building, so that students' movements in both the real building and its virtual reconstruction trigger location based access to learning content and experiences. This means that content can be pushed to students by the most suitable method for their location and the device they are using.

The solution uses Cisco wireless location services to track real-world positions and movements integrated within the Giunti Labs learn eXact® learning content management system. The Giunti Labs software also allows any form of digital learning content to be repurposed 'on the fly' for use either in the virtual SGI environment or via any device connected to the Coventry University Cisco wired and wireless networks. Beyond the SGI, the Coventry University deployment includes a number of notable technology features, including the largest centralized wireless system in the U.K. higher education sector and the first higher education Cisco call center to be installed in the English Midlands.

Giunti Labs, SGI and Cisco are also planning to start working on what they call "extended positioning" - that is, the standard inter-working and interoperability of position detection systems within real and virtual copies of the same facility.

These systems will help enable students visiting a place, either in the real world or online, to meet - despite being physically separated by thousands of miles. The capability is being brought about by real-world and avatar-based positioning.

"Blending mobile and virtual worlds technologies has unmatched potential for producing effective technology-based learning," commented Giunti Labs' CEO, Fabrizio Cardinali.

The SGI deployment is part of a much wider transformational project by Coventry University to create a smart campus that by 2010 will help it take on more U.K. and overseas undergraduate and doctoral students, improve student and staff satisfaction, achieve a 50 percent annual growth in applied research income and create a series of world-leading applied research centers and groups, among other objectives.

"We set ourselves the goal of transforming Coventry University into a destination of choice for students and academics from around the world," said John Latham, pro vice-chancellor for business development at the university. "Supported by the technology and expertise provided by Cisco and Giunti Labs, our SGI has a number of advanced virtual learning capabilities, such as drag-and-drop positioning of digital learning contents, three-dimensional hotspot positioning, and triggering and tracking of learning content by an avatar. We also have the tools and functionality for the creation, packaging and management of Shareable Content Object Reference Model [SCORM]-compliant contents which can be contextualized and delivered to Windows Mobile 5 personal digital assistants within the SGI Cisco Wi-Fi network. And we can also reuse location based content also in other virtual worlds platforms, such as Forterra and Second Life."

Angus Turpin, country manager, UK and Ireland for Giunti Labs in the United Kingdom and Ireland, added: "A critical point about our software is that it complements the power of the Cisco network by making it possible to deliver raw content, without repurposing, to any device connected to that network, in a way which works for the device in question. Furthermore, SCORM, while not currently being used at Coventry, gives us the technical ability to measure the way users interact with the content, for instance showing how much time a student has spent reading a learning module. This makes the system ideal for next-generation educational platforms where remote assessment is required, but also for wider applications such as the delivery of Sarbanes-Oxley related materials in a corporate setting."

As part of this initiative, Cisco is providing a range of network, call center and Unified Communications technologies. The company is working alongside the systems integrator Logicalis, which is responsible for installation, project management and support, and CableCom Access Technologies, which is supplying an integrated communications package for Coventry University's network of student residences.

The entire university network has been refreshed and now comprises equipment including Cisco Catalyst® 6500, 3750, 3560 and 2960 Series Switches, a Cisco Unified Wireless Network featuring Wireless Services Modules and Cisco 4400 Series Wireless LAN Controllers, Cisco Unified Communications Managers and Cisco Unified Contact Center Express software.

"This is very much a story about partnership and collaboration, where we have used our network expertise and that of third parties such as Giunti Labs to create a completely new class of educational tools that will help Coventry University achieve its aim of becoming a world-class center of higher education by 2010," said Tim Liney, regional sales manager, higher and further education, Cisco UK. "It perfectly demonstrates our understanding of the education sector and our ability to work together with it to push back the boundaries of educational innovation."

About the Serious Games Institute (SGI)

The Serious Games Institute (SGI) is the first of three new Institutes being opened at the Coventry University Technology Park. The SGI, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, aims to support regional development through bringing together subject matter experts, applied research and dedicated showcasing and demonstration facilities to support the development and application of virtual world applications, game-based learning and interactive digital media resources for a range of uses. The SGI is a regional development project, founded by Advantage West Midlands, which has grown out of a desire to identify and encourage growth areas for West Midlands industry. With computer games companies already being well established in the Leamington Spa and Solihull areas, many of the skills in evidence in this sector can be transferred to the serious games sector. The SGI is a centre of excellence and a hub for serious games which aims to provide access to:

  • Relevant applied research through Coventry University;
  • Office space for serious games companies, and
  • Facilities for demonstrating and showcasing serious games and immersive environments.

About Giunti Labs

Giunti is unique in the international publishing industry. In 1497, Giunti publishers and typographers in Florence, together with others in Venice, began modern book manufacturing. Over the years Giunti has built a historical catalogue of huge dimensions, through a gradual process of fusion of different publishers, but also through the creation of new brands, including Giunti Labs. Giunti Editore now includes 20 companies in the publishing sector. Giunti Labs, which has its Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Italy and offices in London (United Kingdom), Frankfurt (Germany), Lund (Sweden) and in Boston (United States), provides a wide range of services, in response to any content, learning and knowledge management need, covering:

  • Content production
  • Research and development
  • Technological solutions for content, learning and knowledge management
  • Architectural and technological solutions for mobile and wireless
  • Training and consulting

Giunti Labs provides the learn eXact® suite, Europe's leading e-learning and mobile learning content management technology. This suite is interoperable with all major vendor-driven and open source LMS and VLE solutions in the market including Plateau, Oracle, SumTotal, Saba, WebCT, Blackboard, Sakai, LRN and Moodle. Moreover, Giunti Labs does not just adhere to the international standards relating to the LMS/LCMS world, it is one of the organizations that helps to determine and drive these standards, co-writing and developing them. Giunti Labs plays a key role in most of the international institutions for the definition of eLearning specifications (IEEE LTSC, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC36, CEN/ISSS WSLT, AICC, IMS, ADL-SCORM and OKI).

About Cisco

Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com. Cisco equipment in Europe is supplied by Cisco Systems International BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems.

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Cisco, the Cisco logo, Cisco Systems and Catalyst are registered trademarks of Cisco Systems, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and certain other countries. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.

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