Published May 19, 2009
Volume 17, Number 5

Elluminate Walks the Walk of Online Learning
Distance Learning Products Help Promote the Culture of Collaboration

David Slothower and Carol Sullivan head Elluminate’s Hacienda 

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

New Hacienda tenant Elluminate is a proving ground for the advantages of its own technology. The company is headquartered in Calgary, where roughly half of its 100-plus workforce--developers, testers, and an accounting department, as well as service and support--is based. The Pleasanton office, at 4305 Hacienda Drive, currently has a total of seven employees, devoted to inside sales. The remainder are dispersed in more than a dozen major cities throughout the United States, and business development/sales people in Europe, Asia, and Latin America give the company a global presence.

All are connected by Elluminate Live, the company’s flagship product for “live, online communication, collaboration, and education.” Its hallmarks are “high-quality voice over the Internet, robust interactive functionality, and unique No User Left Behind  technology that supports multiple platforms and low-bandwidth connectivity,” according to the Elluminate web site.

In layman’s terms, the technology is used to host online meetings, whether for mobile learners, remote classrooms, or mission-critical professional development—any situation where it is desirable to create a culture of collaboration. Elluminate’s major focus is on the education market, explains Carol Sullivan, Director of Global Sales Operations, who oversaw the opening of the Hacienda office in December. Distance learning, or eLearning, is becoming a major force in institutional pedagogy, and Elluminate’s products allow teachers to overcome the limits of geography to reach students all over the world. Tools like a chat function, white boards, and application-sharing enliven the interactive sessions. “Everyone can interact over the Internet at the same time. Students can ask questions and be addressed personally by the teacher,” Sullivan adds. 

Since its founding in 2000, Elluminate “has served more than 600 million web-collaboration minutes to over 3 million teachers and students located in 185 different countries.” The pace of innovation has hardly slackened. This past April saw the introduction of Elluminate VCS, a “multipoint video collaboration solution” targeted at the education market. The product, primarily software with a customer-premises server, overcomes the drawbacks of existing videoconferencing systems, which can range from high cost and limited scalability to significant hardware and support requirements. 

“Traditional videoconferencing does not provide the ease of use, interactive tools, data sharing, ad hoc invitations, and easy access needed to facilitate a truly collaborative experience for a wide audience,” Sullivan observes.  From an overhead perspective, the server operates “exceptionally well on network speeds less than typical DSL connections” and is compatible with existing legacy infrastructure. “Elluminate VCS can reach more participants in a significantly more convenient and cost-effective way.”

Other products in the corporate family include Elluminate Learning Suite, which supports the entire instructional cycle (“what happens before, during, and after a real-time, online session”); and Elluminate VSpaces, which gives users their own virtual office or classroom in which to hold web meetings, with full recording capability.  For more information, visit elluminate.com


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