Feds to Open Virtual Meeting Centers for Government Employees

Citing the federal government's desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as business travel spending, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will open 15 virtual meeting centers at federal buildings across the United States, it announced last week.

Scheduled to open in early 2011 at a cost of $18 million, the telepresence centers will be available for use by all federal agencies at a fixed hourly rate, as well as to military families that want to conference 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."

Powered by AT&T, GSA's virtual meeting centers will be equipped with high-definition video and advanced audio equipment, as well as collaboration tools designed to facilitate "live, face-to-face, immersive meeting experiences." Located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., meeting rooms will be available for "pay-as-you-go" booking 24/7 via a secure, web-based portal.