Video technology over ISDN, and recently IP, has slowly and quietly crept to the forefront as a killer app that saves our organization tens of thousands of dollars per day. Let me describe.
Our court system spans two counties and four jail sites. Before videoconferencing, hundreds of inmates had to be transferred twice a day to the courthouse.
Now, all four jail sites are connected via fiber to a courtroom more than 30 miles from the farthest jail site, allowing a single judge to arraign hundreds of inmates and saving both counties up to $10,000 per day in security and transportation costs.
Using our ISDN infrastructure, attorneys are now able to depose out-of-state witnesses without leaving the courthouse. We are also able to have witnesses, such as medical experts, appear in court without having to travel. These examples all represent great cost savings.
Our two counties are connected via an OC3 ATM backbone, which has opened the door to the economies of video over IP. We have purchased several Polycom video systems that enable court administrators, judges or county officials to simply walk into a conference room, connect, hold a 20-minute meeting and then walk back down the hall to their offices. Before video, a minor meeting usually required a 45-minute drive in both directions.
Each month, more and more functions are discovered for our videoconferencing technology; the A/V side of my technology department is now just as essential as the computer side.
If your enterprise is considering videoconferencing, remember that its important to cover as much of the room as possible, and that may require a wide-angle lens or adapter, costing between $80 and $350, depending on the angle you desire.
Many of the popular videoconferencing systems come with the standard Sony camera with a 37mm thread that allows you to screw on a wide- angle lens. Check out some of the wide-angle solutions at companies such as Century Precision Optics. They have a new 0.55X wide-angle (DS-55WA-37) adapter for only $95 that in a fixed position can open a room like you wouldnt believe.
Brett Arquette is chief technology officer for the 9th Judicial Circuit Court, Orange and Osceola counties, in Florida. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.