EDS and Lucent pitch VTC products to Army

Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Lucent Technologies plan to offer similar suites of products on the $75 million Army Video Teleconferencing-1 contracts awarded last month, but they have developed marketing plans and solutions that will allow them to differentiate their offerings.

EDS, which holds the National Guard Distance Learning contract, plans to concentrate its sales efforts on the regular Army, according to Michael Shadoan, the company's VTC-1 program manager.

Lucent, which does not have a vehicle for the National Guard, plans to hit the Guard, the Army Reserves and the regular Army in its marketing efforts, according to Van Henderson, Lucent's business development manager for Army programs.

Following a Good Example

Both companies built their winning bids for VTC-1 around suites of video teleconferencing hardware and software from the two major players in the market, PictureTel Corp. and Vtel Corp., but EDS and Lucent plan to take a different tack in delivering what Shadoan called a "total solution."

Shadoan said EDS teamed with Sprint Communications Co. on its bid and "hopefully can provide the Army with fully networked services."

Shadoan said the Army does not have a long-haul network requirement as part of the VTC-1 contract, but he said EDS anticipates the service could have such a requirement to support training and distance learning for the Army Training and Doctrine Command. Lucent believes VTC-1 will provide it with an entree to Army National Guard and Reserve units in all 50 states, according to Henderson, who views "distance learning as the biggest major application of this [blanket purchase agreement]."

Lucent also plans to heavily pitch its networking expertise as well as a number of its own products, including wireless local-area network systems that Henderson views as a "cost-effective solution" for desktop video in "environments where it is too costly and inefficient to run wire."

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