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Pentagon paying $200-500K to upgrade a videoconferencing room

November 24, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Jared Serbu / Federal News Radio

In many federal agencies, video conferencing began to catch on only when travel budgets began to plummet, but in the Pentagon it's been a mainstay for decades. The downside is that much of the equipment and technology DoD relies on for video teleconferences (VTCs) has been around for decades.

So the outfit that manages most of the Pentagon's IT, the Army Information Technology Agency (ITA), is starting a pilot program that is examining the possibility of replacing the current infrastructure -- which relies on expensive point-to-point ISDN circuits and dedicated, purpose-built appliances -- with a software based, IP-based solution.

Tom Sasala, ITA's chief technology officer says the agency is looking at multiple software packages right now in the pursuit of a potential everything- over-IP approach. While the Pentagon has been upgrading the equipment within its 584 VTC-equipped conference rooms at a pace of about 20 installations per year, the projects are essentially replacing old equipment with newer versions that still rely on the same legacy technical architecture.

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