Scope of AV communications technology, Video Conferencing impacts Nation’s infrastructure

720px-US-NationalHighwayInstitute-Logo.svgMore than one in nine bridges in the United States is structurally deficient, meaning that they require significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement. We sometimes forget how important it is to ensure the safety of our bridges, especially when you consider that everyday, Americans take 260 million trips over structurally deficient bridges, according to a report from the Transportation for America Campaign.

The National Highway Institute (NHI) – an organization within   the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – works to improve the performance of the transportation industry through training. To help ensure that the workforce responsible for the construction and maintenance of our roadways are properly trained, NHI has developed a three-dimensional, virtual bridge inspection computer-based training tool that has become a critical part of its renowned two-week bridge inspection training course.

The training program office at the NHI was recognized by the FGDLA for its innovative work to bring quality training to students nation-wide. Richard Barnaby, director of training at the NHI, was there to accept the Innovation Award, along with the Engility team led by Anthony “Tony” Prause.

The Polycom team sat down with Mr. Barnaby and Mr. Prause for an exclusive interview about the DOT’s distance learning initiative, and how video teleconferencing (VTC) has helped the department get ahead in the space.

Here is what they had to say:

DOTPublic Sector View: Congratulations on being honored with an Innovation Award. Can you give us a brief background as to what the DOT is trying to accomplish with distance learning technology?

Richard Barnaby: We’re trying to use new technologies to deliver [training] to the transportation workforce nationwide. We want to be efficient, effective, and we’re trying to make it immersive so the participants can benefit from it. Their skill sets can be enhanced thanks to the technology, which is what we’re looking to do.

We took a very technologically complex training course, which is safety inspection of in-service bridges, and through Engility – through Tony’s team – turned it into a training program with gaming quality simulations that involve more participation than a traditional video game.

We were able to make the training better, easier, and more fun for the students to ensure that they learn what they need to know.

Public Sector View: What has been the return on investment of the program for the DOT? How has it helped the department accomplish its mission?

Richard Barnaby: The ROI for an undertaking of this nature this can be measured by our total reach. Since going into distance learning, we’ve managed to double the number of people taking our training. We went from 15,000 to 33,000 individuals, and the number is even higher this year. Through the use of mobile learning, we’ve been able to expand our reach and it’s enhanced the quality of the training.

Road building and bridge building are nation wide, and the training that we provide needs to reach our entire audience. Our audience consists of states, various departments of transportation, and the private sector as well as the local sector, so our training has to be national to do its job.

Our mission is to provide highly technical training at a very high level, and distance learning is the way to go.

Public Sector View: What issues and trends are you seeing today in the distance learning space?

Anthony Prause: The biggest trend that I see is that organizations are looking for rapid development of distance learning products at a low cost, but also increasing requirements and higher training standards with respect to quality and capability. The needs of customers are adapting to economic issues and the advancement of technology to provide better training products to augment all types of training.

There used to be a saying “Good, fast, cheap, pick two.”  That’s no longer an option – being “better faster cheaper” is now becoming the minimum requirement.


for more information on Video Conferencing and Distance Learning applications and technologies, contact SpaceCoast AV Communications at 321-257-9700  or via email at 


Video Technologies for Emergency Management



Technologies that can help states stay coordinated during emergencies more in reach than ever

In the wake of the recent Boston Marathon bombings and tornados in Oklahoma, state and local governments are on high alert and more conscious than ever that an emergency situation can come with little warning. Emergencies – such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters – inject chaos, panic and trauma into the day-to-day life of citizens and require immediate, coordinated efforts from first responders, emergency personnel and elected officials to overcome.

Survivors need to be found and given necessary medical attention. Victims of natural disasters that have lost homes need shelter and other essentials, such as food, water and clothing. Those impacted by terrorist attacks need to be provided for while law enforcement personnel also piece together who is responsible and bring them to justice.

The response to these emergency situations is a combination of disparate local, state and federal organizations, volunteers and first response professionals working together to help minimize damage, mitigate loss of life and help an affected area get back to normal as quickly as possible. This requires collaboration, communication and coordination.

It’s for this very reason that video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions are rapidly becoming essential in disaster response, relief and recovery.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts on the Public Sector View, VTC is being called upon in disaster and emergency situations to help coordinate response activities by connecting people on the ground with the decision makers behind the scenes. This provides actionable intelligence to leaders and elected officials, enabling them to see the situation on the ground and maker faster, more informed decisions. The result is faster, more coordinated and effective relief activities.

The benefits that VTC solutions deliver during emergency response situations will be the topic of discussion later this month when Daniel Stevens, the Public Information Officer at the Emergency Management Office of Westmoreland County, PA, joins grant specialists and other thought leaders  for a free Webinar entitled, Video Technology for Emergency Management. Interested parties should contact Christopher Lacuesta at 321-257-9700 if you would like to attend this free Webinar.

The Webinar will take place on June 15, 2013 and focus on how Westmoreland County utilizes their VTC solutions for emergency preparedness. The Webinar will also discuss how other state and local governments can take advantage of grant programs to help afford VTC solutions. For additional information, and to register for the Webinar, click HERE.