VTC Round-up: New telework law provides opportunity for agencies to increase VTC capabilities

Tuesday - 12/14/2010, 2:55pm EST

With the new telework bill signed into law, federal employees will soon have more opportunities to telework, and agencies have more incentive to invest in or increase their telepresence options.

After the Senate passed the bill in September, the House followed suit in November. It was signed into law last week, and encourages federal employees to telework. Currently, about 5 percent of federal employees participate in some sort of telework plan, and agencies will have to improve their existing technology capabilities and options to meet the increase in participating employees.

"We're talking about bringing the government into the 21st century from a technology point of view and every other point of view," said bill sponsor Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) in an interview with Federal News Radio last month.

"The technology is moving so aggressively there's no reason not to have a good telework policy," Wolf said.

Video teleconferencing is already a component of telework programs at many agencies, and has in some cases enabled greater allowance for teleworking.

At the Defense Information Systems Agency, the desktop- and laptop- based telepresence has "enabled our telework program to thrive, allowing DISA employees to fully participate in meetings, no matter where they are located," Colonel Brian Hermann, chief of the Net-Centric Enterprise Services branch.

"It allows off-site employees to "participate fully in small-group meetings, including the use of whiteboarding and sharing presentations," Hermann said.

Will other agencies follow suit? Stay tuned.

Navy adding telepresence at National Naval Medical Center

The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda is looking to install a video teleconferencing room which will serve as the Admiral's Conference room.

The conference room will be used for executive-level video teleconference and Board of Directors meetings, among others according to a solicitation posted to FedBizzOpps.gov.