Navy ships video over phone lines

Using a video collaboration tool that does not gobble up bandwidth on its local-area network, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is visually connecting its employees during emergency situations.

Video Network Communications Inc. (VNCI), a provider of visual networking solutions, recently completed the initial installation of its Visual Networking Systems solution at the shipyard. The product uses telephone lines to deliver point-and-click, TV-quality video capabilities for multipoint video communications, on-demand access to camera feeds and data collaboration.

"There are 35 workstations using our technology to communicate with one another during an emergency—whether it's staged or real," said Mike Bennis, director of government sales at VNCI. "They are in several rooms [in two buildings], and everyone can see one another and collaborate with one another."

The shipyard's primary mission is to overhaul, repair, modernize and refuel nuclear-powered submarines. No one from the shipyard was available to comment for this story.

Feeds from individual video stations can be transmitted to large screens throughout the complex or to the rest of the stations. As briefings take place, users "don't have to leave their stations to get the latest and greatest information from the control center," Bennis said.

Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst for multimedia at Cahners In-Stat Group, said using telephone lines to deliver its solution would serve VNCI well in its continuing relationship with the Navy because ships are wired with phone lines, but not necessarily with Ethernet.

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