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 info@spacecoastav.com 

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Office of Personnel Management: Tele-work Integral Part of Continuty Operations


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Posted: 18 Jun 2013 06:41 AM PDT

 SpaceCoast AV Communications, A Polycom Partner. If your agency would like more information regarding Telework Solutions,  please contact us at 321-257-9700

It may not have been the feared storm that many predicted, and it certainly didn’t hold a candle to the previous storm that bore its “derecho” name, but last week’s thunderstorm was one of the many that are being predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the 2013 hurricane season.

Washington, D.C. has seen its share of foul weather in the past few years. Snowpocalypse, last year’s derecho, numerous named tropical storms and other weather events have blazed paths of destruction through the area, closing the offices of government agencies and forcing federal employees to stay in their homes. These incidents resulted in the closure of government offices and the loss of millions of dollars worth of productivity as federal employees were unable to do their jobs.

With the steep cost of closing government offices and a predicted severe hurricane season top of mind, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sent a memo to federal agency Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) that stressed the flexibilities available to federal employees to help ensure continuity of operations (COOP) when disaster strikes.

One of the many points raised by OPM in their memo was the ability of federal employees to telework during weather events and other situations where offices are closed and the need for CHCOs to ensure teleworkers are familiar with agency expectations in disaster situations.

By adopting telework when weather forces federal agencies to close offices, government employees can continue to work towards accomplishing their mission, even if they’re not at their desks. This is an ability that is being enabled by today’s advanced technologies which allow federal employees to be just as productive in their homes as they are at their offices.

In addition to the virtual desktop and cloud solutions that are delivering requisite applications and data to any computer with an Internet connection, video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions are enabling the face-to-face communication that many government managers fear will be lost when employees telework.

Today’s VTC solutions enable federal employees to communicate via video with their coworkers from a wide ecosystem of endpoints, from desktop computers to mobile devices. This ensures that distributed federal workers can continue to collaborate, even without the investment in pricy VTC endpoints for their homes.

In today’s difficult budget environment, and with federal agencies having to do more with less thanks to cost cutting and hiring freezes, the loss of money and productivity in emergency situations can be devastating. However, thanks to new technologies, such as VTC, cloud and virtual desktops, employees can now continue to work effectively, even when the office is closed. With employees capable of working from everywhere, OPM is right to prod agencies to prepare for telework, especially as NOAA tells Americans to prepare for a bad hurricane season.

 

 SpaceCoast AV Communications, A Polycom Partner. If your agency would like more information regarding Telework Solutions,  please contact us at 321-257-9700

 

Torn between video and chat? Why not both?


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by Meredith Lawrence

With the notable exceptions of a few companies that have recently dialed back or canceled their telework programs, the office and workplace of today is an increasingly virtual affair. Ultimately, most organizations have realized the savings that can come from minimizing their footprint, reducing office space and enabling their employees to operate virtually.

And the move to a distributed, teleworking office environment has delivered many other positives in addition to cost savings. Office morale often increases as employee work-life balance improves thanks to telework. Employees also tend to become more productive without the need to commute and with the ability to do their work when they’re most focused and effective.

However, the move to a more distributed office environment does come with some challenges as well. Not unlike having a distributed network of branch offices, some fear that telework can have a negative impact on communication and collaboration within the organization. This is a challenge that many federal government agencies have cited as a main reason for not embracing telework initiatives.

To overcome the issues that distance poses to communication and collaboration within the agency, many organizations have embraced technologies that enable employees to interact from anywhere. These technologies have ranged from enterprise instant messaging systems, to enterprise social networks, to video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions that enable face-to-face communication.

In a recent article on Telepresence Options entitled, “The Not So Obvious Advantages of Telepresence Versus Chatting,” author Sam Briones debated the benefits and advantages of two of these technologies to determine which was better for enabling communication and collaboration between distributed employees. It’s no surprise by the title that Sam felt that VTC was the superior technology.

According to Sam, the ability to actually see the other participant in a conversation, which VTC provides, enables a more natural and complete communication experience. This enables participants to overcome language barriers. It allows them to avoid confusion and misunderstandings created by not being able to hear inflections in voice. And it also allows participants to better get a gauge on the tone and mood of the person they’re speaking with.

Although we concur with Sam that the face-to-face, interactive experience that VTC enables is the more natural and complete form of communication, there are some times when you just want to send someone a quick note. Although VTC collaboration may be superior, there are still merits and benefits to technologies such as instant messaging and enterprise social networking. So why not integrate them all?

Utilizing today’s advanced unified communications (UC) software applications within the organization, federal agencies and private enterprises alike can embrace enterprise-wide instant messaging, voice and and video communication. Today’s VTC solutions natively integrate with Microsoft® Lync™ which provides access to both video, voice and instant messaging functionality. In fact, many government agencies already have Lync deployed across the organization.

In addition, integrations with enterprise social networks, such as the one announced between Polycom and the enterprise social network, Jive, enable the addition of video to the social networking experience. These integrations enable enterprise social network users to identify individuals within the company they want to interact with and then reach out to them via video. Video content can also be saved and shared via these social networks.

When it comes to driving communication and collaboration within a distributed workforce, there are multiple new technologies that can virtually erase the distance separating employees. It’s not a question of which technology is better than the other. They all have positives they deliver, and thanks to the integration of video with Lync and other technologies, they can all be embraced and used together.

SpaceCoast AV Receives High Marks from USAF Reserve Unit


SpaceCoast AV Communications receives high marks for AV system upgrades completed for the 914th Airlift Wing, Mission Support Group in Niagara Falls, NY.

For more information contact SpaceCoast AV Communications at 321-257-9700 or via email at sales@spacecoastav.com

You can also visit us online at www.spacecoastav.com

914 testimonial

 

 

We’re Going to help you be a Success!


We’re going to help you be a success!
There is an opportunity for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) to take advantage of this economic downturn. SMBs that can respond to global demands, fortify relationships with customers and maintain financial control in these times will be

the most competitive and the most successful. Communications – both intra- and inter-company – will play a major role in helping SMBs meet key organizational, operational and business objectives.

SpaceCoast AV Communications provides cutting edge camera control technologies


SpaceCoast AV Communications today announced its partnership with Vaddio to  This partnership enables SpaceCoast AV       Communications to provide specialty PTZ cameras, camera control systems and custom furniture used in the audiovisual, videoconference and broadcast industries.

In keeping with our company’s social responsibility, SpaceCoast AV Communications now offers the only PTZ cameras manufactured in the United States – the ClearVIEW HD Family of cameras and automated camera tracking systems.  Vaddio manufactures cutting-edge camera technology that’s simple to use.

About Vaddio

Vaddio is the leading manufacturer and OEM-distributor of specialty PTZ cameras, camera control systems and custom furniture used in the audiovisual, videoconference and broadcast industries.  Headquartered in New Hope, MN, Vaddio provides cutting-edge technology that’s simple to control.

About SpaceCoast AV Communications

SpaceCoast AV is a service disabled veteran and minority owned small business.  They provide customized, value added audio systems,  video display solutions, control system solutions, audio and video conferencing, network bridging solutions, VoIP and Media phones systems, product life cycle maintenance support services and managed technical personnel services.

Headquartered in Melbourne, FL, SpaceCoast AV has a wide range of experience providing client solutions that span distance education, state government, Federal/DOD, Fortune 1000, and SMB.

Contact us at http://www.spacecoastav.com or 321-257-9700