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3:51 am, July 14, 2014

Telework News

DISA incorporates desktop-telepresence across DoD

How can a Defense Department analyst hold a last-minute meeting with three other analysts in three different locations around the world? Well, if they're one of the over 380,000 Defense employees using Defense Connect Online, it's as simple as turning on a video camera and starting a session. Defense Connect Online (DCO) is the Defense Information Systems Agency's second video teleconferencing system by which users web conference using video cameras at their desk or laptop. DCO is available DoD-wide. The technology is being applied by senior-level leaders, agency employees, and service members alike, according to Colonel Brian Hermann, chief of the Net-Centric Enterprise Services branch. Managed in conjunction by Carahsoft Technology Corp. and Adobe Systems Incorp., DCO consists of a multiuser text chat and instant messaging, as well as web conferencing using Adobe Connect. DISA first awarded the contract in 1997. Aside from allowing program leaders and employees in different locations to hold discussions from their desks, DCO has also been incorporated into DISA's telework strategy. "DCO has enabled our telework program to thrive, allowing DISA employees to fully participate in meetings, no matter where they are located," Hermann said. It allows off-site employees to "participate fully in small-group meetings, including the use of whiteboarding and sharing presentations." Last year, DISA extended the service to non-DoD agencies and federal partners who work with the DoD. "The greatest challenge online is balancing security with sharing," Hermann said. "We solve that by allowing other federal government members to have accounts on our DCO services." With the expansion, federal employees with .gov email addresses can also create DCO accounts to further collaborate with DoD mission partners. The system has been widely incorporated across the DoD, and is adding approximately 4,500 new users each week, Hermann said. "DCO is also currently being used by DoD service members to hold impromptu meetings for situational awareness," Hermann said. "We have moved from simply cost benefits to command and control and operational capabilities."

Friday - 12/03/2010, 12:57pm EST

What to do when telework isn't enough

Telework provides ideas to bring a piece of peace into the office.

Monday - 11/29/2010, 05:29am EST

Causey: Telework's potential pitfalls

Tuesday - 11/23/2010, 05:51pm EST
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Telework requires 'culture change'

Dr. Naomi Leventhal, director in Deloitte Consulting's Federal Human Capital Practice, describes the 'culture change' that will have to take place for telework policies to work.

Monday - 11/22/2010, 05:28pm EST
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Even telework has its limits

Under all the good telework is expected to bring to government, there are some limitations built into the new law.

Monday - 11/22/2010, 05:03am EST

POLL: Do you plan to telework?

Friday - 11/19/2010, 12:18pm EST

Rep. Wolf on telework bill's passage in House

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) speaks to Francis Rose about the passage of the telework bill he sponsored.

Thursday - 11/18/2010, 05:00pm EST
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Telework bill passes House, headed to Obama

The House passes the Telework Enhancement Act.

Thursday - 11/18/2010, 04:14pm EST
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Telework may be team sport

A FedScoops panel says telework may be a team sport.

Monday - 11/15/2010, 05:44pm EST
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Video teleconferencing technology widely embraced at DISA

Video teleconferencing is more than an alternative to travel at the Defense Information Systems Agency. In fact, the demand for the agency's VTC facilities is exceeding expectations. It's no wonder then that the agency announced last week that it was re-awarding AT&T a contract to continue maintaining DISA's Video Services - Global (DVS-G) VTC system. "Telepresence is quite effective, in lieu of face-to-face meetings, in reducing the requirement for frequent travel," said Julia Brown, project manager for Defense Information Systems Network Video Services at DISA, said in an email to Federal News Radio. "Our challenge is keeping up with current level of demand." The agency has two telepresence options for employees to use. The Defense Connect Online (DCO) system allows employees to connect using equipment located at their desks. DCO is available to all authorized Defense Department employees DISA's other option is their VTC system that connects employees through rooms containing video teleconferencing equipment that function much like television studios, Brown said. The rooms are linked electronically allowing the participants in one room to see and hear the participants in the other rooms. Participants schedule a meeting through VTC coordinators and DISA maintains VTC facilities at military bases around the world. "It saves travel time and expenditures while allowing all participants to engage fully in meetings across the world," Brown said. "Our senior leaders use it for high-level meetings with other senior leaders in the DoD, but DISA also uses it for when we need all our agency employees around the world to meet for important issues, such as an all-hands meeting with our director." AT&T, which currently owns a majority of and maintains all of equipment and software under the DVS-G contract, has been DISA's vendor since 1997. The company currently is on its second contract with the agency. The current contract is worth up to $244.8 million. In early November, DISA announced that they would award AT&T a new sole-source contract, continuing the company's stewardship of VTC services for up to another five years. The new contract has a two-year base, with three one-year options. The new contract will be awarded effective Nov 30. "VTC has proven useful across the world, allowing our senior leaders to see the body language of meeting participants, assisting in a better understanding of objections, reservations, or approval," Brown said. Next week, the Video Teleconferencing Center takes an in-depth look at DISA's DCO system.

Monday - 11/15/2010, 01:02pm EST

Trade fair offers a vision of Telework 2020

Futurologists gather to discuss the workforce of 2020.

Sunday - 11/14/2010, 10:16pm EST

NCPC planning fed workplaces of the future

The federal workplace of the future will have a lot going for it, especially how close it will be to transportation. We get details from NCPC Senior Urban Planner David Zaidain.

Tuesday - 11/09/2010, 10:08am EST
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Even design trends favor telework

A home office makes your home more attractive.

Monday - 11/08/2010, 01:45pm EST

Best of the DorobekINSIDER

Best of the DorobekINSIDER with the best recent interviews.

Thursday - 11/04/2010, 04:38pm EDT

Unions to management: stop talking, start doing telework

AFGE, NTEU lead discussion to broaden discussion about telecommuting to more than just during emergencies. The White House is working on a new governmentwide telework policy. AFGE wants to add telework options into new bargaining agreements.

Thursday - 11/04/2010, 07:40am EDT
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Debate over telework provisions in union contracts

Federal News Radio's Jason Miller explains the new telework provisions in contracts from the American Federation of Government Employees.

Wednesday - 11/03/2010, 07:31pm EDT
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Virtual meetings to help meet sustainability, cost-cutting goals.

Agencies can take a lesson from the General Services Administration's newly announced telepresence plan aimed at saving money and the earth.

GSA discussed recently their $18 million plan to build what they call virtual meeting centers within 11 of regional headquarters offices and four headquarters offices in the Washington-metro area.

Agencies with their own telepresence capabilities can interoperate with the new GSA virtual centers with the proper technical set up. Bob Lesino, GSA spokesman tells InformationWeek, agencies need to be able to deliver and receive 1080p video resolution and support H.323/H.264.

The idea behind telepresence moves video teleconferencing to another level. GSA touts the technology behind the centers, boasting "live, face-to-face, immersive meeting experiences." Each room is expected to have high-definition video and advanced audio equipment.

"You will feel like you are making eye contact [with the other person], [you will] feel like you are sitting across the table from them, almost as if you can pass the person a cup of coffee, " said Martha Johnson, GSA administrator. "As the federal government's workplace solutions expert, GSA is exploring new ways to create a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable government for the American people. This includes incorporating innovative and collaborative technologies like virtual meeting centers to create seamless connections around the world. Availability of virtual meeting technology will help launch our government to the next level of productivity."

The goal is for GSA to become a model for technologies that enable a mobile workforce, she added.

The whole point of telepresence is to make it easier to get the job done. And saving time and money is part of that equation.

"The cost of travel is not just the price of a plane ticket. You have to factor in the sheer wear and tear of travel on people, " said Johnson.

The centers will be available for use by all agencies at a fixed hourly rate. The network will let any subscribing agency meet with counterparts in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, as well as with counterparts in other telepresence networks nationally and internationally.

The centers will also be made available to stateside military families so that they can meet virtually with service members overseas.

AT&T will develop and manage the virtual network through a task order under GSA's Networx Enterprise contract. Once the network is operational, agencies will be able to order and schedule virtual meeting sessions through a secure Web portal as well as through a valet that will be available around the clock.

Johnson said the first of the virtual meeting centers will be operational in early 2011.

Tuesday - 11/02/2010, 06:43pm EDT

Telework remains a work in progress

The White House reiterated its strong support of flexible workplace arrangements -- which includes telework.

Tuesday - 11/02/2010, 06:00am EDT

Teleworkers are so last fiscal year

Faster, smaller, hipper, and even more efficient, teleworkers are morphing into mobile workers.

Monday - 11/01/2010, 05:12pm EDT

D.C. telecenters to lose GSA funding

Administrator Martha Johnson said changes in the way people work and the technology they have access to are major reasons why GSA will no longer guarantee a specific number of workers at the area telecenters. GSA remains committed to telework in other ways, including the launch of a new collaboration platform called FedSpace. It also awarded a contract to deploy telepresence at 15 offices around the country.

Thursday - 10/28/2010, 07:09am EDT
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