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Live from LandWarNet — keeping the warfighter connected

The theme of Army LandWarNet here in Ft. Lauderdale is: A Global Network Enterprise Enabling Full Spectrum Operations for the Joint Warfighter. That’s a mouthful; and, from what I’ve seen, that theme has played out to mean: giving the warfighter the infrastructure needed to ensure that he or she has the ability to communicate with the rest of the world from anywhere in the world.

That encompasses communications within the Army and with all of the branches of the military, Joint Forces and Coalition Forces, among others. Technology has changed the way warfare is conducted, and coalitions have changed the make-up of the forces involved. Army LandWarNet recognizes that expanded focus and this year’s show goes far beyond basic communications.

A great example is a product that fills a niche in the very unique requirements of the Army combatant. Fortified DataCom showcased a portable and easily deployable antenna system that allows a combatant to carry his or her communications “network” in a backpack. Once in the field, the soldier sets up the company’s backpack-sized antenna system, connects with satellite communications and has data and voice communications capability in less than 10 minutes.

Finding a way to keep the warfighter connected while in the battlefield will continue to be a challenge for the Army and other branches. Watching how initiatives are born and offerings are developed to meet those evolving communications needs is fascinating.

Bob Largent, director of customer relationships, TANDBERG public sector

Maximizing the Value of Video Conferencing and Telepresence Through Interoperability

Imagine if you couldn’t call a friend with a Verizon cell phone because you use AT&T. Seems ridiculous, right? Obviously that defeats the purpose of trying to be connected from anywhere with your cell phone because you wouldn’t be able to reach everyone you need to. Well this scenario is actually a reality in the realm of visual communications today.

While some vendors have embraced open standards that allow third party video conferencing and telepresence products to work together, or interoperate, others have not. It’s easy to see that as adoption rates grow for this technology, it’s not sustainable for businesses to purchase equipment that will only let them talk to themselves or those with the same kind of equipment.

In fact, industry analysts at Frost & Sullivan recently released a report, Maximizing the Value of Telepresence: Interoperability is Key to Success, in which they recommend,

“As companies evaluate and deploy a telepresence solution, they should pay particular attention to interoperability. For maximum value, the telepresence technology must integrate with other video conferencing systems, inside and outside their own organization, and regardless of the vendor providing the given solution.”

We agree that visual communication is about creating open communities and providing face-to-face access to anyone. Watch this video to see what we mean:

We've landed at the 2009 LandWarNet conference

We’re at the 2009 LandWarNet Conference in Ft. Lauderdale this week. The conference is designed to bring government and industry together to share best business practices and how government can implement those practices.

The Army Management Staff College (AMSC) offers a great example of how that is already being done. The AMSC strives to prepare Army civilian and military leaders for greater leadership and management responsibilities in support of the soldier on the ground. With greater technological capability, there is a need for greater skill and more agility. The AMSC prepares both civilian and military leaders to successfully accomplish missions today, tomorrow and in the future.

In its Civilian Education System (CES), the Army is using distance learning to provide professional leadership development to more than 250,000 Army civilians and military personnel. The distributed learning curriculum includes supervisory, management and Action Officer development and is designed to help employees in the Federal Government continue to grow professionally. Attendees learn everything from basic management skills and change management to how to inspire vision and creativity to how to lead a complex organization in support of national security and defense strategies.

Through video conferencing, the course not only provide lifelong learning opportunities, but also offers inquiry-based learning techniques and collaboration in learning communities that can span thousands of miles.

If you are at LandWarNet, visit us at Booth #539. We’ll be posting from the show later this week – look for our update.

Remote Healthcare With Video Conferencing is Increasing Successful Treatment

The use of video conferencing in telemedicine is revolutionizing care by providing patients with access to experts and healthcare providers they might not otherwise be able to see.

In London, the most ethnically diverse city in the world, Broadwater Farm Health Centre uses video to connect non-English speaking patients with translators, removing the language barrier to help ensure successful treatment.

Universtiy Hospital of Umea, Sweden used video conferencing to facilitate long-distance speech therapy from local centres and patients’ homes. The removal of lengthy travel has enabled increased sessions, resulting in faster time to recovery.

Specialists on Call have significantly shortened the time to treatment for stroke victims by making remote specialists available via video to approve the administration of life-saving medication. Watch the video:

See how other healthcare organizations are using video conferencing to help people.

Buzz from the GSA Networx conference — carbon footprints, unified comms and brownies

I’ve been at the GSA Networx Conference in Chicago for the past few days, where we have been showing how high-definition video conferencing and mobile video products can increase collaboration among government employees regardless of the distance between them.

The show is as big as last year, if not bigger, and there has been a lot of traffic on the exhibit floor. The goal of the show has been to help federal, state and local IT professionals learn more about the latest network technologies and services that are enabling a global, fully interoperable, secure, and seamless government network services infrastructure.

During stops by our booth, we’ve heard some interesting tidbits, including hearing that attendees want ways to reduce their carbon footprint. There’s also been a big focus on unified communications, and how it can provide easier ways to streamline collaboration by allowing workers to use communication tools – desk phone, mobile phone, IM, video conferencing or another – and reach a colleague on any device they are using. With UC, your desktop phone and mobile phone are one and the same, for example, making it easier to find colleagues and collaborate with them to make agencies and organizations work more efficiently.

Attendees have had a lot of great educational opportunities here on a variety of topics, including complying with Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-12), which calls for a mandatory, government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification issued by the federal government, to its employees and employees of federal contractors for access to federally-controlled facilities and networks.

After sessions, attendees are lured back to the show floor with the best brownies I’ve ever tasted – after all the brownie was invented in Chicago! It’s been a great week for learning from attendees and sharing information with them.

Reporting by Chris Helms, TANDBERG Federal Channel Account Manager