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Search Tags: Martha Johnson
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.
Faster, smaller, hipper, and even more efficient, teleworkers are morphing into mobile workers.
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.
Telework proves itself again when a Continuity of Operations Plan comes together.
OPM, GSA and DoT sign on to offer bicycle sharing through the Capital Bikeshare Program in the city. OPM bought a corporate membership for 300 employees to use the bikes to get to meetings or for exercise for up to 30 minutes for free.
Tags: pay and benefits , John Berry , Roy Kienit , OPM , DoT , GSA , Gabe Klein , Washington D.C. DoT , bikeshare program , Jason Miller , Greening of Government: transportation , green government , Greening of Government: people
The FCC, GSA and the Smithsonian were among the best agencies to work for in the latest survey and officials point to a few specific reasons for their success. Agencies must make their employees feel like they are part of the answer to meeting their mission, agency officials say.
Tags: management , Steven VanRoekel , Linda St. Thomas , Shaun Donovan , Analisa Archer , FCC , Smithsonian , GSA , HUD NARA , OMB , Partnership for Public Service , Best Places to Work survey , employee communication , Jason Miller
Jason Miller and Mark Amtower count down the top three most important Federal news stories of the week.
While GSA feds think about how to make federal buildings greener, they're going to be doing it from outside their own offices.
Agency tries a new approach to solve problems by bringing together all stakeholders. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson says five parts of the program will be done by July 4.