Penn State Intercom......October 4, 2001

Videoconferencing a
convenient alternative to travel

Faculty and staff reluctant to travel long distances to conferences and meetings are reminded that there is an alternative to traveling outside of the area. ˝We have the technology. This should be somethin

Videoconferencing is the next best thing to being at that important meeting, and in some cases, might be better. In today's world, the whole culture of the way people meet professionally is changing.

"Every organization is evaluating travel policies and trying to give employees multiple options, given that travel might be a little more cumbersome," said Judy Olian, dean of The Smeal College of Business Administration. "We have the technology. This should be something people consider before they automatically travel."

Videoconferencing makes it possible for people at different sites to participate in the same conference simultaneously through two-way audio and two-way video. Because of special equipment at each location, often including special cameras, it is easy to interact with those at distant sites.

"This is just one way of enlarging the range of options," Olian said. "We might be joining people who are meeting virtually anyhow."

Using videoconferencing yields many benefits. Virtual meetings are cost- and time-effective, increase meeting participation and enable meetings to occur on a more frequent basis.

The Office of Telecommunications both recommends and provides training, free of charge. The training will introduce the video user to the equipment and its capabilities as well as explain the keys to a successful and productive videoconference.

All Penn State campuses have at least one interactive video set with numerous sets located on the University Park campus.

Faculty and staff will have the opportunity to learn more on this topic at the Office of Telecommunications' Open House, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at University Support Building 2, University Park.