Virginia adds data conferencing
- By Brian Robinson
- Dec 16, 2001
Virginia has added visual and data capabilities to its statewide conferencing
offerings, changes that state information technology executives expect will
boost an already strong demand for conferencing services.
More than 21 million traffic minutes were booked via the system in the
past fiscal year, compared to just fewer than 19 million minutes in the
"We've seen a growth in demand for conferencing in just about every
one of the nearly 20 years we've had it available," said Anne Hardwick,
manager of telemedia operations at the Virginia Department of Information
Technology. "We are hoping the visual and data capabilities will provide
a more complete offering for those kinds of complex conferences where the
need to display information is a major requirement."
Voice is still the major driver of conferencing, she said, so such things
as an "always on" function where people can pick up a phone and be automatically
connected to a particular conference, and the availability of operator assistance,
will be perennial features of conferencing systems. But the evolving world
of data and Microsoft Corp. PowerPoint documents are forcing additional
"We're hoping that by adding data conferencing, we'll eventually see
things such as true data collaboration," Hardwick said.
Spectel was chosen as the single vendor for the conferencing upgrade.
The company's integrated system offers "native" solutions for voice, data
and Web conferencing all developed by Spectel, rather than a combination
of different vendor solutions. The company claims that structure provides
for a more cohesive package of interacting features than would be possible
The Web conferencing feature, which allows for call scheduling and the
managing of conferences online, should be an attractive feature, according
to Rebecca Tarantino, Spectel's director of global marketing. It provides
for better control and security, she said, as well as boosting the level
of interactivity possible during a conference session.
However, that Web capability has only been seen in demonstrations, Hardwick
said, and demand has still to be proven in actual use.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be
reached at [email protected]
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.