Virtual meetings can help with traffic, parking
February 26, 2010
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- January 28 was a memorable day for the Fort Belvoir Garrison Travel Demand Management Working Group. Usually, the TDMWG meets in the Directorate of Logistics conference room. However, that Thursday, the team members deviated from the norm and participated in their first virtual meeting.
Although the team couldn't physically see each other, as in a conference-room setting, they could get the same information as if they were all present. All the members had to do was log in to a provided Web link and wear a headset or use speakers to listen to and view a PowerPoint presentation.
They tested the Defense Connect Online system, the virtual technology that allowed them to conduct the meeting, to gather lessons-learned and apply them toward possible future implementation.
Mark Loyola, with Belvoir's Plans, Analysis, Integration Office, said the initiative aligns with travel-reduction options.
"One of the primary advantages of this virtual meeting tool is it can keep vehicles off the road," he said " Although it's not the only solution to reducing vehicle congestion, it's a component to meeting that intent."
Loyola recalled previous parking scenarios where garrison employees could benefit.
"There are employees who have commuted across post or off the garrison to attend a meeting in person," Loyola said. "At times, these same employees lose their parking spaces and use valuable time just to find another one. DCO is a platform that can prevent employees from experiencing the inconvenience. Additionally, if personnel are performing duty in another city or state, they can still attend the meeting and receive the same information."
Heather MacTavish, also with PAIO, managed the virtual meeting and commented on its three core capabilities.
"The DCO system enables the personnel to achieve a variety of functions," she said. "The first is communicating ideas using a DoD-approved site. Second, virtual meeting participants can securely share presentations and multimedia right from their office workstations.
"Finally, the DCO enables all participants to share feedback instantaneously among meeting members," MacTavish said.
There are a variety of capabilities that DCO offers, including:
Aca,!Ac File Share
Aca,!Ac Polls: can instantaneously survey attendees during or after the meeting
Aca,!Ac Web Links
A highlighted feature is DCO's ability to record meetings. Whenever there is a question about information provided at meetings, DCO can replay the meeting at the users' convenience.
Will DCO replace personal meetings' Probably not. But, when leaders and managers need another tool to maximize their time and enhance information exchanges, DCO provides it.