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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 , cisco , TANDBERG , GSA , Bob Lesino , Martha Johnson

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.

Tags: collaboration , President Barack Obama , Collaboration Center , Cindy Auten , Telework Exchange

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.

Tags: technology , Telework Ceter , Polycom , GSA , DISA , Martha Johnson , Michael Brinks , Suzanne Kubota

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.

Tags: technology , Martha Johnson , Dave McClure , Bob Peck , GSA , PTO , AT&T , telecenter , video conferencing , FedSpace , Web 2.0 , collaboration , Jason Miller

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.

Tags: Mike Brinks , Ellen Upchurch , GSA , management , Dorobek Insider

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.

Tags: Federal Drive , DISA , BRAC , Jack Penkoske , Ft Meade , Suzanne Kubota , best practices , management , lessons learned ,

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.

Tags: technology , Telework Ceter , Polycom , Suzanne Kubota

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.

Tags: DoD Report , technology , Air Force Research Lab , Lightweight Portable Security , Dorobek Insider , cloud computing

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

Va. candidates square off on transportation

Two candidates battling to represent Northern Virginia squared off Tuesday on how to reduce traffic congestion in the area.

Tags: Gerry Connolly , Keith Fimian , Dulles Rail , HOT lanes , rapid transit , light rail , Interstate 66

Tuesday - 10/19/2010, 05:01pm EDT

Federal telework mindset is shifting

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

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

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