TRADOC video teleconferencing update and tips
May 3, 2012
FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command G6 Video Teleconference Team strives to provide the command and staff with the best video teleconferencing capability employed across the Army.
From the Maneuver Center of Excellence to the Sergeants Major Academy to the Headquarters - VTCs connect TRADOC organizations.
"VTCs are an important way to support TRADOC's ability to share information across all levels of the organization," said Luis Blanco, TRADOC G6 VTC Team Lead. "We can sometimes have more than 70 VTCs every week, and our mission is to make sure the technology is ready."
Blanco believes that VTCs are lower cost alternatives to face to face meetings, and a cost effective way to include many participants worldwide in both classified and unclassified settings.
"We pride ourselves with our motto - we are the standard, all else follow," said Blanco. "Our movement from analog to digital connectivity has not come without a few challenges, but it has given us with more capability and versatility."
He believes the command's current movement toward EOIP [Everything over Internet Protocol] will expand its means to connect VTCs in various modes.
Much success depends on the VTC team's ability to simultaneously handle numerous requests, manage scheduling issues with conference room owners and action officers, and troubleshoot technical issues, according to Col. Charles Harris, TRADOC G6.
The G6 VTC team has addressed several challenges, both technical and non-technical, resulting from the Headquarter's move from Ft Monroe to Ft. Eustis, and identified lessons learned along the way.
"One of the team's most significant challenges has been managing the increased number of centrally managed VTC conference rooms from three to more than 80 spread across multiple buildings," said Davis.
The team currently manages upwards of 14 sessions a day and 64 sessions a week. Since March, the team has conducted more than 467 sessions with a 98 percent success rate.
"That is not perfect but we are striving to improve to get as close to 100 percent as possible," said Davis.
To meet the demand of increased VTCs, the TRADOC G6 team is acquiring additional operators and coordinators to provide immediate support to TRADOC customers and onsite VTC network engineers. The new personnel will make technical modifications and upgrades, and will test future capability developments as the command transitions to a new internet protocol based environment.
Steps to a successful VTC:
1. Add a 30 minute buffer before and after each General Officer/Senior Executive Service scheduled session.
2. Identify the senior participant to the hosting coordinator to ensure appropriate level of support.
3. Identify the actual sit-down time for the session.
4. Execute audio/visual checks five minutes after initial connection from the location of the actual meeting.
5. Identify in advance any backside connection coming in from a primary VTC participant and ensure such sites conduct audio/video checks. (Note: The TRADOC HQ does not allow backdoor connections)
6. Mute microphones unless you are speaking and re-mute when the meeting is complete.
7. Do not dial into a video conference using a cellular device.
Report any VTC issues to the TRADOC G6 VTC Team immediately at 757-501-5198.
These tips have also been shared with VTC operators from across the Army and are being implemented as best practices to ensure better quality sessions.
"The G6 VTC team looks forward to supporting your organization's mission by providing it world-class VTC support," said Harris.