Friday, May 24, 2013

RUS DLT Provides Grant Funding for Distance Learning and Telemedicine

The Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program (RUS DLT), administered by the USDA, supports equipment purchases for projects located in extremely rural and economically disadvantaged locations.  Applicants may apply for funding to support the acquisition of equipment, instructional programming, and technical assistance for using eligible equipment.

Eligible applicants, include, but are not limited to, K-12 schools and school districts, education service centers, higher education institutions, community colleges, education and training providers, hospitals, medical centers, health care providers, and faith-based community organizations.  USDA encourages applications from consortiums.

Video telepresence endpoints, bridging, network management, firewall traversal, and streaming solutions are eligible for funding through this program, as long as they are an essential part of a distance learning and/or telemedicine project, and used for eligible purposes.

DLT program director, Sam Morgan, issued an email today notifying potential applicants that although the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) has not yet been published, the program is making available the Grant Application Guide and Toolkit for this year's competition.  It can be accessed at

The program expects the NOFA to be published in the Federal Register soon, at which time the submission deadline will be published.

Several manufacturers and resellers of equipment, as well as technology integrators, will help organizations pay for grant writing fees for RUS DLT projects, and provide editing and review services, etc., as long as specific program requirements are met.  For example, companies like Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize, and Vidyo all have grant assistance programs, although types of assistance and program requirements vary. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Compass Business Solutions is offering $800.00 of Desktop Video Conference Implementation Training for as low as $99.00

                                        Special Offer by Compass Business Solutions May 23rd

Choose one of these classes:
      1. Reviewing Cisco Jabber Video Deployment
      2. Reviewing Polycom CMA Desktop Deployment
      3. Reviewing VidyoDesktop Deployment
      4. VCIG Members - $99
      5. Non VCIG Members - $125
      6. Normal price is $800

For information and to register click here.

What you and your organization will receive.
Setting Up Desktop Video:

No prereqs

Duration 2 hours (choose 1 session)
 - Cisco Jabber Video  8am – 10am PT
 - Polycom CMA Desktop 10:30am – 12:30pm PT
 - Vidyo Desktop 1:00pm – 3:00pm PT

Course content:
During this virtual training session, participants will learn how to configure and operate Desktop conferencing.
• Component Requirements
• Configuring Provisioning
• Functions and Features
• The top 5 things to do if it doesn't work

This $800 session is being offered at $125/person to non-VCI-Group members and $99/person to VCI-Group members.  Participants interested in provisioning Polycom CMA Desktop should contact for a private training session.
Compass Business Solutions provides a range of training, from assisting employees with using visual communication tools, to providing manufacturer telepresence certification training to your support staff. Courses provide the technical knowledge and practical skills to successfully use and deploy visual communication solutions. Telepresence training is offered globally and is provided by manufacturer-certified instructors with state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology lab equipment.

 The VCI-Group is the knowledge-sharing community comprised of 550+ end users and vendors focused on videoconferencing, telepresence, Unified Communications and/or collaborative technology.  VCI-Group provides education, training, learning programs and "hot-off-the-press" news and information to members.

To become a member of the VCI-Group, click here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Four Reasons Why Any-to-Any Video Conferencing is a Game Changer (and a special offer for VCI-G members)

Four Reasons Why Any-to-Any Video Conferencing is a Game Changer (and a special offer for VCI-G members)

For a limited time, Vidtel is making a special offer to the VCI-Group community.  If VCI-Group members purchase any-to-any cloud videoconferencing from Vidtel, a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to VCI-Group, allowing us to continue to provide you our content, education, and training programs.

Vidtel MeetMe cloud video conferencing is available with no capital expense required. And Vidtel's any-to-any® technology means that not only can you continue to use your existing SIP and H.323 based equipment, you can also connect into your video conference via Google Talk, Skype, web browsers (WebRTC), and more.   This service is provided for a very low-cost monthly operating expense - making it easier than ever for you and your team to start using video conferencing, or expand your use of video conferencing.

To sign up for this special offer, please use this special Vidtel promotion page, to ensure that VCI-Group benefits from your purchase.

Four Reasons Why Any-to-Any Video Conferencing is a Game Changer

1. It's a less expensive way to add video to your organization – many companies that use room-centric video conferencing love their solution and benefit from it, but the simply don't have the budget to expand their use of video.  It's expensive to add more rooms systems and more video phones.  But with any-to-any video, participants can join in using their laptop, using just their web browser (WebRTC), or tools they are used to like Skype or Google Talk.

2. It drives more video usage – often employees and partners want to collaborate with video, but they just can't do it: either they're unable to access a room system, or they're physically remote from a room system – or even more frequently, they can access a video system, but the person they want to meet with cannot!  With any-to-any video, it's much easier to start a video conversation, because all parties can easily access video – even from their smartphone!   Companies using any-to-any video typically report 300%-400% more video usage than companies that rely on hardware solutions.

3. It alleviates room congestion
– Let's face it – reserving a conference room or a video facility isn't always easy.  Rooms get reserved months in advance, and everyone ends up frustrated.  With any-to-any video conferencing, you're no longer limited by time or space.   Start conferences when you want – not just at 7:30am because that's the only time that is free!

4. It drives more B2B communication
– The real Achilles Heel of video conferencing has been that it has been great for intra-company collaboration,  but it has not been used for business-to-business or business-to-consumer collaboration.  This has really been because of technical limitations – different companies used different systems that did not interoperate.  With any-to-any video conferencing, now it is easy to invite customers, partners, suppliers, or other external parties to join your call.  They don't even need a video system – they can join via their web browser or Skype or Google.  And consumers can dial in too – which makes any-to-any a great application for interviewing, healthcare, and many other B2C applications.

Help VCI-Group today with your purchase of Vidtel MeetMe cloud videoconferencing!

Every purchase of Vidtel MeetMe any-to-any cloud video conferencing helps fund ongoing VCI-Group programs.

For more information on the Vidtel MeetMe service, please visit the Vidtel MeetMe service home page.

To sign up for service and start benefitting VCI-Group today, sign up for MeetMe service using your special VCI-Group referral code!

The Visual Communications Industry Group (VCI-Group)

The VCI-Group is the knowledge-sharing community comprised of 550+ end users and vendors focused on videoconferencing, telepresence, Unified Communications and/or collaborative technology.  VCI-Group provides education, training, learning programs and “hot-off-the-press” news and information to members.

To become a member of the VCI-Group, click here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

VCI-Group May Schedule of Events.

Announcing "Alliance Member Spotlight" Webinars!
Eric Murphy
Global Solutions Manager

VCI-Group is proud to announce a new monthly webinar series intended to introduce our Alliance members to our VCI-Group membership and guests. This series will allow you to get to know a service provider in more detail and increase your industry knowledge of available products and services. Our Alliance Members will leverage this forum to update you on their current offerings and how they can add value to your organization.

Our first presentation will take place on Thursday, May 9th, 2013, 1:00-2:00 PM ET. It will be an interactive session featuring Chorus Call/Compunetix, a leader in the visual communications industry. They are focused on providing a wide spectrum of conferencing solutions including Audio, Video, Web and Streaming components. This session will provide a brief background on the company and cover recent announcements made at Enterprise Connect. Chorus Call/Compunetix will also review their Total Solution Initiative highlighting their products and services. A special offer will be made specifically to VCI-Group members. The session will conclude with a Q&A session enabling you to participate directly.

Eric Murphy is the Global Solutions Manager for Compunetix and will lead the session. Mr. Murphy has served with key industry leaders including PictureTel, ViaVideo, Polycom and VBrick, and is now focused on developing strategic alliances and growing partnerships to promote and expand end-to-end communications and collaborative offerings.

Click here to learn more and to register for the first Alliance Member Spotlight.
VCIG Live! 

Register for the May "VCIG Live!" session focusing on "Integrating Desktop Video Into Your Organization" on Thursday, May 16th, 2013 at 1:00 PM ET.
Indika McCampbell, Video Services Application Specialist, Kansas Research and Education Network
Mark Noble, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Vidyo
Jules Trono, President, COMPASS Business Solutions 
Host - JD Vaughn, former talk show host and industry veteran
Join us for a session discussing the deployment and use of desktop video within various organizations. Our panelists will share their perspectives on the considerations that need to be addressed before deploying desktop video in an organization. They will share lessons learned from their experience with desktop video deployments. They will also discuss which aspects of their implementation worked well and which didn't, and how integration with existing room video systems is working

Date: Thursday, May 16th, 2013 - 1:00 PM ET
Topic: Integrating Desktop Video Into Your Organization
Register: Click here to register for this event

Indika McCampbell
Kansas Research and Education Network, Video Services Application Specialist

Mark Noble
Vidyo, Senior Director of Product Marketing

Jules Trono
Compass Business Solution, President
Registration is free to VCI-Group members and guests alike. The session will be recorded for future delivery as well. Please visit the VCI-Group Website for more information and to register.

This VCIG Live! event is sponsored and hosted by:


VCI-Group Distance Learning Special Interest Group (SIG) Meeting

Save the date for the next Distance Learning SIG meeting on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013, 1:00-2:00 PM ET.


Julie Best
Communications Director
Idaho Education Network - Department of Administration

This interactive discussion group will focus on practices and policies that are aiding in increasing adoption and usage of distance education technologies. Come and share your thoughts on this topic!

More information and registration will soon be available on our VCI-Group Special Interest Groups page.


VCI-Group Healthcare Special Interest Group (SIG) Meeting
Join us for the Healthcare SIG meeting on Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 1:00-2:00PM ET.


Chris DiFiglia
Senior Telecom Video Engineer
North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System

The Healthcare SIG will be a fast-paced lively interactive roundtable discussion with your healthcare VCI-Group colleagues. We will discuss the common, and not so common visual communication issues we have in each of our healthcare facilities.

You will have a chance to learn from your peers as well as share your solutions and best practices. So bring your problems and solutions and let's spend this time networking and learning from each other.

More information and registration please visit VCI-Group Special Interest Groups page.