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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.

Tags: technology , Video Teleconferencing Center , telework , TANDBERG , GSA , Bob Lesino , Martha Johnson

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

Federal telework mindset is shifting

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

Tags: technology , Telework Ceter , telework , USDA , Bruce Klein , Polycom , GCN , Suzanne Kubota

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

How DoD cost-cutting affects the CIO office

Paul Brubaker, senior director for Cisco System's North America Public Sector Solutions, former deputy CIO at DoD and one of the people who crafted the legislation that created the CIO's over a decade ago, joined the DorobekINSIDER to discuss changes happening at the DoD CIO office.

Tags: Paul Brubaker , DoD , CIO , budget , technology , management , Dorobek Insider

Thursday - 10/07/2010, 05:25pm EDT
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Telework enjoys a 'perfect storm'

The private sector and Congress are showing wide support for federal telework.

Tags: technology , TANDBERG Telework Center , Congress , Lockheed , telework , Bob Cusack , House of Representatives , Frank Wolf , Gerry Connolly

Monday - 09/20/2010, 12:14pm EDT

New campaign: 'Cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility'

Learn more in today's cybersecurity update.

Tags: technology , cybersecurity , Cybersecurity Update , DHS , 2010 Cyber Challenge , Kevin Parra , DorobekInsider

Tuesday - 08/24/2010, 04:58pm EDT
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Feds seek right role for protecting .com domain

With so much at stake, what role, if any does the federal government play in protecting the .com Internet domain? Several experts offer some candid observations on what the government's role should be.

Tags: technology , cybersecurity , Commerce , NIST , Patrick Gallagher , Don Proctor , RSA , Mischel Kwon , CSIS , James Lewis , Max Cacas

Monday - 08/02/2010, 06:30am EDT
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5 Early holiday bonuses for teleworkers

Teleworkers work more efficiently. Now there's a way to spend that paycheck more efficiently too.

Tags: technology , TANDBERG Telework Center , telework , Suzanne Kubota

Friday - 07/30/2010, 06:35pm EDT

Tracking telework acceptance

Who's dialed in, and who isn't, across the Hill and the federal complex.

Tags: technology , TANDBERG Telework Center , OPM , Congress , Suzanne Kubota , telework

Monday - 07/26/2010, 01:23pm EDT

At-home Agent: telework on vitamins

The differences between federal workers and the private sector can be seen in the way they look at telework.

Tags: technology , TANDBERG Telework Center , telework , American Council for Technology , Advisory Council , Mark Samblanet , Dorobek Insider , Suzanne Kubota

Sunday - 07/11/2010, 03:44pm EDT

Battening down the telework hatches

In case of emergency, do you know what your telework options are? OPM says NOW is the time to find out.

Tags: technology , TANDBERG Telework Center , OPM , John Berry , telework , Redskins , Suzanne Kubota

Tuesday - 07/06/2010, 02:38pm EDT
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