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9:40 am, December 21, 2014

Telework News

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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Kansas City GSA office finds telework success

The DorobekINSIDER asked about telework lessons learned from GSA's Mike Brinks, Regional Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service in Kansas City, Missouri; and Ellen Upchurch, Supervisory Contract Specialist with the Centers for Facilities, Maintainance and Hardware.

Wednesday - 10/27/2010, 06:36pm EDT
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DISA to offer classified telework perk

As part of a huge move, DISA finds little things can mean the most. To keep just a few feds on the job, a new classified telework center is in the works. We get details from DISA's Jack Penkoske.

Tuesday - 10/26/2010, 09:40am EDT
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Five steps to telework for managers

Telework may well be the wave of the future, but you need to be positioned to catch that wave.

Monday - 10/25/2010, 12:55pm EDT

DoD finds simple security solution for telework

Lightweight Portable Security for secure home connections can allow workers to telework.

Thursday - 10/21/2010, 04:16pm EDT

Federal telework mindset is shifting

The ability to telework is subtly moving from "want to" to "have to."

Monday - 10/18/2010, 05:30pm EDT

The 5-step guide to managing teleworkers

Sandra Gurvis, author of the Handbook for Managing Telework, joined the DorobekINSIDER to discuss the five steps to successfully managing teleworkers.

Friday - 10/15/2010, 07:05pm EDT
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Feds prepare for explosion in mobile devices, apps

Agencies are testing an assortment of smartphones and tablet computers to improve how their workforces meet their missions. But there still are questions about the security of these devices.

Thursday - 10/14/2010, 07:20am EDT
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Best of the DorobekINSIDER

On this Columbus Day, the DorobekINSIDER brings you the best recent stories we think are worth another listen.

Monday - 10/11/2010, 01:41pm EDT

In case of emergency, pull on telework

Telework proves itself again when a Continuity of Operations Plan comes together.

Friday - 10/08/2010, 06:44pm EDT
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