Video Conferencing and Webinars
Optimal holds several logistical support contracts that require planning for technical working groups, peer reviewers, workshops, seminars, and national meetings.
As the government progresses towards more of an e-environment, Optimal strives to stay ahead of the curve by utilizing cost-effective video, web-conferencing, and teleconferencing technologies whenever possible.
Initially, these technologies should be used internally and then on a smaller scale with your audience and/or peers in an operational capacity. For instance, it is never the best time to learn and/or use a new emergency technology system during an emergency. Just the same, using a new video conference service and learning while conducting the call is not ideal either.
Also, plan to open up the call 10-15 minutes earlier than scheduled to ensure that all participants can sign on prior to the conference. Communicate to all participants the correct time and time zone.
Another significant action item is to provide conference call etiquette guidelines ahead of time, especially for larger groups. These guidelines are necessary, most notably when late callers may interrupt the speaker. All callers should also be instructed on the use of the “Mute” button, the importance of a quiet room, and correct lighting procedures to optimize web or video camera use.
Other items to consider would be the designation of a facilitator, providing an agenda and making sure all materials have been disseminated to participants prior to the meeting. A conference line option should be available to those who can not or do not have Internet access, or for those who are unable to sign on to the web-conference or videoconference.
Video conferencing over the Internet has improved dramatically and there are several software license packages offered by firms such as Microsoft, Citrix and WebEx that enable the organizer to share documents, collaborate, provide multiple webcam feeds and to instant message. An important feature of any video and/or tele-conference is the facilitator's ability to control the call, either through muting participants, queueing up questions, or the ability to control other desktops during the call.
When conferencing with various offices within government agencies, pre-planning with their IT departments proves to be useful in case there are any firewalls or hardware/software limitations to consider.
If you have any inquiries or comments, please feel free to contact: email@example.com or 301-606-1170 and ask for Tracye.