GSA Moves to Establish Telepresence Centers for Government Use
Virtual meetings help federal agencies meet sustainability and cost-cutting goals.
GSA # 10688
October 25, 2010
Contact: Gregory Romano, (202) 219-1084
WASHINGTON – In a significant step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving federal travel dollars, the U.S. General Services Administration announced today it will establish virtual meeting centers at federal buildings across the United States. When operational in early 2011, the centers will be available for use by all federal agencies at a fixed hourly rate, making it easy for federal employees to conduct important face-to-face meetings without the need to travel. The centers will also be made available to stateside military families so that they can meet virtually with service members overseas.
“As the federal government’s workplace solutions expert, GSA is exploring new ways to create a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable government for the American people,” said GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson. “This includes incorporating innovative and collaborative technologies like virtual meeting centers to create seamless connections around the world. Availability of virtual meeting technology will help launch our government to the next level of productivity.”
The centers will be built at each of GSA’s 11 regional headquarters offices in federal buildings in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., as well as four headquarters locations in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. The centers will be specially constructed and equipped to provide live, face-to-face, immersive meeting experiences to all participants across the network. Each room will contain high-definition video and advanced audio equipment, as well as state of the art collaboration tools to enhance the immersive experience and facilitate participant productivity. The network will allow any subscribing agency to meet with counterparts in any of these cities as well as with counterparts in other telepresence-type networks nationally and internationally.
AT&T will develop and manage the virtual network through an estimated $18 million task order under GSA’s Networx Enterprise contract. The contractor’s infrastructure costs will be rolled into a set hourly rate that is then purchased by GSA and customer agencies in a “pay as you go” model, avoiding the need for individual agency start up costs. Once the network is operational, agencies will be able to order and schedule virtual meeting sessions through a secure web-based portal as well as through a valet that will be available around the clock.
As the federal government's workplace solutions provider, the U.S. General Services Administration works to foster an effective, sustainable and transparent government for the American people. GSA’s expertise in government workplace solutions include:
• Effective management of government assets including more than 9,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 210,000 vehicles in the federal fleet, and preservation of historic federal properties;
• Leveraging the government’s buying power through responsible acquisition of products and services making up more than 11 percent of the government’s total procurement dollars;
• Providing innovative technology solutions to enhance government efficiency and increase citizen engagement; and,
• Promoting responsible use of federal resources through development of governmentwide policies ranging from federal travel to property and management practices.