WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 14, 2006) - Deployed Soldiers can now communicate with loved ones via video e-mail through Army Knowledge Online, the Army's intranet portal.

More than 3,500 video e-mails were created when the new option debuted Dec. 5.

"Thank you for allowing me to see my family. Your technology helps boost not only my morale, but thousands of Soldiers' morale," wrote one user.

AKO video messaging allows deployed active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers to create video messages on a computer with a webcam. The message is then stored on a server, and only the URL link is sent to the recipient.

Upon opening an -mail, the user clicks on the link to get streaming video and sound. The video-streaming software allows users to hear and view video e-mail even in limited bandwidth environments. The link can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

Instructions can be found at the AKO home page at <a href="https://www.us.army.mil"target=_blank> https://www.us.army.mil</a>. Users must follow DoD security measures used for standard e-mail, and webcams may not be used in secure areas.

Families with an AKO account can send video e-mails from home with a personal computer and a webcam. Many family support centers on military bases also offer webcams for families' use. In theater, military bases typically have webcams available at cyber cafes.

"Families no longer need to coordinate times to ensure everyone is available to see each other," said Gary L. Winkler, director for Governance, Acquisition and Knowledge in the Army Chief Information Office/G-6, who initiated the project. "This will help geographically separated families stay closer during deployment, and we also expect other benefits from this capability as users become more familiar and comfortable with it."

Page last updated Thu December 14th, 2006 at 09:31