La. court chooses lower-cost videoconferencing option

A Louisiana state court has replaced a hardware-based videoconferencing system with a software solution that uses workaday PCs.

The 14th Judicial District Court installed WiredRed’s e/pop Web and Video Conferencing software for video arraignment and assignment-of-counsel proceedings. The e/pop software, which runs on PCs servers, replaces a $30,000 system that provided videoconferencing sessions between the court and a jail. The buildings are about 5 miles apart.

The new system uses the old system’s link: Frame Relay over a fractional T1.

“Once you establish the physical connection, it’s just a matter of adding a few peripherals to standard computers,” said Tim Leger, MIS manager for the 14th Judicial District and Lake Charles City Court, which also uses the video conferencing system.

Steven Peltier, WiredRed’s chief executive officer, said his company’s approach eliminates the expense of dedicated hardware for video encoding and decoding. “On the server side, it’s an off-the-shelf PC,” he said, referring to hardware requirements. Cameras and microphones are the only additional hardware elements a customer may need to purchase, he added.

E/pop pricing starts at $3,000 a year for a term license that permits as many as five concurrent users. The company also offers a hosted service, with prices starting at $350 a month.

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