Section 1: Project Overview

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  • 1. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Final Report December 2000 133 Front Street Vestal, NY 13850 TEL 607 754-5037 FAX 607 754-6975 www.myersgroup.com info@myersgroup.com
  • 2. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey TABLE OF CONTENTS Section 1: Project Overview.................................................................................................. 1 A. Study Background ........................................................................................................ 1 B. The Digital Divide ......................................................................................................... 2 C. The ARC ...................................................................................................................... 3 D. Videoconferencing Basics ............................................................................................ 3 Section 2: Project Summary and Methodology ..................................................................... 7 A. Phase I: Discovery Period ............................................................................................ 7 B. Phase II: Development Period ...................................................................................... 9 1. Local Development District Surveys.......................................................................... 9 2. Public Videoconferencing Site Survey....................................................................... 9 C. Phase III: Data Collection and Mapping ..................................................................... 11 D. Phase IV: Analysis ..................................................................................................... 12 E. Phase V: Plan, Recommendations and Documentation.............................................. 13 Section 3: Findings ............................................................................................................. 14 A. Public Videoconferencing Sites .................................................................................. 14 1. Introduction ............................................................................................................. 14 2. Technology ............................................................................................................. 19 3. General and Facility Information ............................................................................. 42 4. Key Observations Regarding Public Site Information .............................................. 51 B. Local Development Districts ....................................................................................... 52 1. Introduction ............................................................................................................. 52 2. Local Development District Information................................................................... 53 3. LDDs with In-House Videoconferencing Systems ................................................... 55 4. LDDs that use Videoconferencing Elsewhere ......................................................... 57 5. LDDs that do not use Videoconferencing ................................................................ 58 6. Key Observations.................................................................................................... 60 Section 4 - Analysis ............................................................................................................ 62 A. Appalachia, Videoconferencing and the Digital Divide ................................................ 62 B. Access to Videoconferencing in Distressed Counties ................................................. 64 2. Square Mileage Analysis........................................................................................ 68 C. Access to Videoconferencing by Population............................................................... 73 D. Organization Types .................................................................................................... 75 E. Areas Where Videoconferencing Does Not Exist........................................................ 77 F. Local Development Districts ....................................................................................... 79 Section 5 - Recommendations............................................................................................ 82 A. Organization and Communication Among LDDs and the ARC ................................... 84 B. Capitalizing on Competition and New Developments ................................................. 86 C. Promotion of H.320 Equipment as a Standard for Interconnection ............................. 90 D. Targeting Videoconferencing Development................................................................ 93 © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com
  • 3. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey TABLE OF FIGURES Figure 1 - Percentage of Total Sites in each ARC State ......................................................................15 Figure 2 - Concentration of Sites within each State..............................................................................16 Figure 3 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code ......................................17 Figure 4 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by County..........................................18 Figure 5 - Public Videoconferencing Site System Types......................................................................20 Figure 6 – Map of Videoconferencing System Types by Zip Code ......................................................21 Figure 7 - Public Videoconferencing Site Equipment Manufacturers ...................................................22 Figure 8 - Switched Network Connection for Videoconferencing .........................................................23 Figure 9 - Dedicated Network Connection for Videoconferencing........................................................23 Figure 10 - Hybrid Switched/Dedicated Connection for Videoconferencing.........................................24 Figure 11 - Public Videoconferencing Site Connection Capabilities.....................................................25 Figure 12 - Technical Standards: System Interoperability ....................................................................26 Figure 13 – Map of H.320 Capability of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code.....27 Figure 14 - Summary of Videoconferencing Transmission Technologies ............................................28 Figure 15 - Network Capabilities of Public Videoconferencing Sites in the Appalachian Region ........29 Figure 16 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Capabilities..........................................................31 Figure 17 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Methods ..............................................................32 Figure 18 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites with Bridging Capabilities by Zip Code..........................33 Figure 19 - Public Videoconferencing Site Media.................................................................................34 Figure 20 - Public Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds........................................................37 Figure 21 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds by Zip Code .................................38 Figure 22 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (T-1).............................................39 Figure 23 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (Broadband Fiber) .......................40 Figure 24 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (ISDN)..........................................41 Figure 25 - Public Videoconferencing Site Organization Types ...........................................................43 Figure 26 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites by Organization Type by Zip Code................................45 Figure 27 – Map of Health Videoconferencing Sites by Zip Code........................................................46 Figure 28 – Map of Government/Public/Non-Profit Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code .............................................................................................................................................47 Figure 29 – Map of Education Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code ...................48 Figure 30 – Map of Business Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code.....................49 Figure 31 - LDD Videoconferencing Capabilities..................................................................................53 Figure 32 – Map of LDD Videoconferencing Use in the ARC Region by County.................................54 Figure 33 - LDD In-House Frequency of Use .......................................................................................55 Figure 34 - LDD In-House Primary System Uses .................................................................................56 Figure 35 - LDD In-House Equipment Manufacturers ..........................................................................57 Figure 36 - LDD Use of Videoconferencing Systems Elsewhere .........................................................57 Figure 37 - LDD Frequency of Use of Videoconferencing Systems Elsewhere ...................................58 Figure 38 - LDD Reasons for Not Using Videoconferencing ................................................................59 Figure 39 - LDD (non-using) Knowledge Level of Videoconferencing..................................................59 Figure 40 - LDD (non-using) Potential of Using Videoconferencing.....................................................60 Figure 41- Comparison of Sites per County and Distressed Counties .................................................65 Figure 42 - Site Distribution Among Populations of Distressed and Non-Distressed Counties ...........68 Figure 43 - Square Mileage per Videoconferencing Site......................................................................71 © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com
  • 4. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 44 - Percentage Increase in Distressed Counties over Non-Distressed Counties (Square Mileage and Population)...............................................................................................................72 Figure 45 - Comparison of the average number of people per videoconferencing site based on county population categories ...................................................................................................................73 Figure 46 - Comparison of the average square mileage per videoconferencing site based on county population categories ...................................................................................................................74 Figure 47 - Organization Types of Videoconferencing Sites within Distressed Counties.....................76 Figure 48 - Organization Types of Videoconferencing Sites within Non-Distressed Counties.............76 Figure 49 - Percentage of Counties with No Videoconferencing Sites.................................................77 Figure 50 - Percentage of Total Counties without Videoconferencing .................................................78 Figure 51 - Percentage of Population without Videoconferencing Facilities in their County ................79 Figure 52 – Patterns of Videoconferencing Use in Among LDDs by Availability of Videoconferencing in the LDD Territory ......................................................................................................................80 Figure 53 – Average Sites per County vs. Patterns of Use ..................................................................81 © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com
  • 5. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 1: Project Overview A. Study Background In August of 1998 the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) agreed to support a proposal from the Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) to fund a number of activities to assist the Association’s 71 component Local Development Districts (LDD's). The activities were designed to help the LDDs in the development of enhanced telecommunication applications/technologies, become more capable in the use of these technologies and assist in the provision of technical services in telecommunications. The DDAA proposal included the provision of comprehensive technical assistance on the use of various types of telecommunication services, the use of the Internet and development of individual Web sites. The proposal also included the support of a demonstration program by some of the LDDs in the use of their existing videoconferencing equipment to address regional information gathering, receiving and transmitting training programs, and other collaborative efforts between LDDs, State ARC offices, and the ARC headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose in conducting this study is to further the DDAA’s overall project by identifying publicly accessible, interactive video teleconferencing sites in the region that would permit the 71 LDDs, State ARC personnel, and the ARC headquarters facility to jointly participate in regional videoconferencing using modern telecommunications technologies and facilitated videoconferencing techniques. The rationale for this survey is to identify facilities in the region that can be used by the region's 71 LDDs, as well as citizens groups, and organizations to originate, and participate in videoconferencing opportunities of all types. The ARC and the DDAA are cognizant of the fact that the government, business, education, and medical sectors are all in need of using videoconferencing that is both economically and practically feasible to use. The DDAA and ARC are interested in answering four central research questions: 1. Are there adequate numbers of geographically dispersed videoconferencing sites in the region to permit easy access to routine "point-to-point" videoconferencing? 2. Is there adequate "Bridging" equipment - equipment that permits more than 2 sites to be able to participate in simultaneously in joint videoconferencing? 3. Are there significant gaps in the dispersion of videoconferencing sites? © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 1
  • 6. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 4. Are there significant issues of interoperability between systems that exist throughout the region that will render a number of sites unusable for major regional videoconferencing purposes? 5. Is it practical for all 71 LDDs to be able to communicate with each other on a routine basis using videoconferencing equipment? 6. Are there significant challenges that need to be overcome in order to set up such a network? Challenges could include problems of interoperability between existing systems, practices, equipment standards, and lack of telecommunication infrastructure. 7. Is it economically practical to set up such a network? B. The Digital Divide The availability of videoconferencing in the most rural reaches of the United States has been brought to the forefront in recent years as the deployment of technology in well-to-do urban and suburban areas has out-paced technology growth in rural regions. This concept has been addressed more formally as a social and economic issue in the federal government’s recent report on the “Digital Divide”, which has brought into light inequities in regard to access to the Internet and other information technologies that are crucial to the economic growth and personal advancement of geographic regions. The Clinton Administration has defined the Digital Divide in this way: "In just about every country, a certain percentage of people has the best information technology that society has to offer. These people have the most powerful computers, the best telephone service and fastest Internet service, as well as a wealth of content and training relevant to their lives.” Another percentage of people exist who “…don't have access to the newest or best computers, the most reliable telephone service or the fastest or most convenient Internet services. The difference between these two groups of people is what we call the Digital Divide."1 To live in the rural hills and mountains of Appalachia is to be on the less fortunate side of the divide. This means that there is less opportunity to take part in the new information-based economy, and to take part in the education, training, and communications opportunities that are available through modern telecommunications facilities. Videoconferencing is one technology that could help bridge this gap. 1 http://www.digitaldivide.gov. Published on the World Wide Web. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 2
  • 7. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The full implications of the Digital Divide in Appalachia and other rural regions throughout the United States is unknown. Information is spotty, at best, and difficult to collect on a wide scale basis. The Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey is an effort on the part of the ARC to examine this one component of the issue, assess the impact and significance in Appalachia and implement a strategy for regional videoconferencing throughout the 13-state region. C. The ARC The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal/state partnership established by the Appalachian Regional Development Act to promote economic and social development of the Appalachian Region. The Act defines the Region as 406 counties comprising all of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia - an area of 195,000 square miles and about 21 million people. To promote local planning and implementation of ARC initiatives, the Commission supports 71 Local Development Districts (LDDs) comprised of groups of counties within each of the 13 states. The Commission has 14 members: the 13 Governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a Federal Co-chairman, who is appointed by the President. For over 35 years, the Commission has assisted a wide range of programs in the Region, including highway corridors; community water and sewer facilities and other physical infrastructure; health, education, and human resource development; economic development programs, local capacity building and leadership development. Recent analysis of the 406 counties within the ARC region, based on the Commission's 1998 definitions of economic development levels, indicate that 108 counties were designated distressed because of high rates of poverty and unemployment and low rates of per capita market income compared to national averages; 264 counties were designated transitional, with higher than average rates of poverty and unemployment rates and lower per capita market income; 24 counties have nearly achieved parity with national socioeconomic norms and are now designated as competitive, and 10 counties have reached or exceeded national norms and are now designated as attainment counties. In keeping with changing regional conditions, the Commission periodically alters its specific program policies to address current development priorities. ARC also continuously evaluates its programs and policies to assure that its constituents needs are satisfied in the most optimum way possible. D. Videoconferencing Basics For the purposes of this study, videoconferencing is defined as the commonly accepted methods of communication via two-way, interactive video in which a participant at one geographically distinct location can view a video image of, and speak with, at least one other participant at a different geographic location (and visa versa). While the quality of video and audio may vary widely from one type of videoconferencing session to another, when © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 3
  • 8. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey engaged in a videoconferencing session, all participants must be experiencing an equivalent level of communication which includes live interactive video and real-time interactive audio communication (with no more than a few seconds of delay from the time of the origination of the signals to the time of the receipt of the signals at the far end). Several types of video communication were considered to be outside the scope of this analysis. For example, some forms of satellite video communication or broadcast video, it can be argued, can be interactive if persons viewing the program can interact via some other means (such as a telephone or fax machine). For the purposes of this study, these types of conferencing arrangements were not considered. Videoconferencing, in this report, is a collection of technologies that form the foundation for a wide variety of applications. The term videoconferencing refers to these applications and, to a lesser degree, the technologies that support them.2 In a videoconference, the picture and sound travel from place to place as computer data or as analog video signals. Analog Videoconferencing Analog videoconferencing technology is typically associated with an “older” form of interactive video, however, many analog videoconferencing networks still exist and provide extremely good quality video and audio. An analog video typically operates on a closed- circuit basis among several sites. In other words, a site employing analog interactive video technology can not “dial-up” another location unless it is one of the sites on the “closed- circuit” network. An analog videoconferencing network provides full-motion video signals using the standard for broadcast television originally developed in 1948 (NTSC). This is the standard that all standard (non-HDTV) televisions in the United States use. Because NTSC video signals consume so much bandwidth, analog interactive video is typically provided via dedicated coaxial or fiber optic cable. Generally these type of connections are costly. Each individual video signal and audio signal at the point of origination is modulated onto the cable and then demodulated at the other end to be viewed on a television monitor. Digital Videoconferencing In digital videoconferencing systems, captured video and audio signals are converted to computer data, processed by computer circuits (or coded), routed through phone lines made for computer data, and finally converted back (decoded) into video and audio. Since video contains too much information to be sent through traditional types of dial-up telephone lines, video signals must be converted into computer data and converted back into a video signal again at the other end. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 4
  • 9. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The flood of raw data generated by live video and audio could fill hundreds of digital phone lines to capacity. Therefore, digital videoconferencing relies on compression to fit all that data onto a single telecommunications circuit. The device that performs the compression (and decompression) is called a CODEC (which is a concatenation of the words COder and DECoder). Video, audio and data all connect into the codec, which transmits a single, digital signal over the network to the remote location(s). The network consists of digital lines that are similar to, but different from, regular telephone lines. The growing worldwide network of dial-up digital phone lines provides this compressed audio and video a way to move from place to place. The two most common kinds of dial-up digital services are called ISDN BRI (Integrated Services Digital Network, Basic Rate Interface) and switched-56. ISDN BRI provides two data channels, each with a capacity of 64kbps (for a total of 128Kbs). Switched-56 has a pair of 56-kpbs data channels instead. Higher capacity is also available in a different kind of line, such as ISDN PRI (Primary Rate Interface). This offers up to twenty-three (23) 64kbps channels (plus one 64Kbs channel for signaling) that can be used to gain greater capacities. Often, a single codec can accept multiple ISDN BRI lines or multiple switched 56 lines which improves the overall bandwidth that is used (i.e. three (3) BRI lines @ 128Kbs = 384Kbs) and thus improves the quality of the video and audio. Many systems use a common set of standard techniques, so they can communicate with systems made by other manufacturers. The standards include H.320, H.323, H.261, T.120 and many others. The most common standard is H.320, which covers a suite of standards for videoconferencing over ISDN, switched-56, and other kinds of digital phone lines. It deals with data rates between 56 kbps and 2048 kbps. T.120 is a standard that compliments the H.320 standard allowing for computer-based meeting tools - such as computerized slide displays, WindowsTM application sharing, and digital whiteboards. These tools work by sending and receiving data through the same line that carries the H.320 video and audio signals. Another standard gaining in significance is H.323, which covers video communication via IP (Internet Protocol). The H.323 suite of standards allows for interactive video communication over any variety of data network that communicates via IP and, of course, the internet. Several proprietary standards also exist in which only devices of the same manufacturer (and in some cases model) can communicate with one another. One example includes 2 Trowt-Bayard, Toby and Wilcox, Jim. "Videoconferencing and Interactive Multimedia: The Whole Picture," Flatiron Publishing. 1997. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 5
  • 10. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Tektronix J-Series equipment that operates using a protocol called Motion JPEG. Using this equipment, all sites must be equipped with J-Series codecs to communicate with one another. Multi-point videoconferences (3 or more videoconferencing systems participating together in a session) are possible with the use of a videoconferencing bridge. A bridge works by either switching the video and audio from one site to another or by dividing the participants’ television screens into four quadrants and placing the video image of each participant in one of the quadrants of the screen. Television monitors are used for viewing the distant site(s) as well as any documents or video being exchanged. Other devices, such as a document camera, can be used to share graphics, and other peripherals such as laptop computers can be connected to the system as well. The local and distant participants view these simultaneously on the monitors. Videoconferencing systems are available in a variety of formats. A set-top system allows a camera to mount directly on top of a television monitor. A roll-about system is the same as a set-top system, except that the television monitor is integrated with the entire system on a moveable cart - allowing for its use in different locations. A desktop system integrated with a personal computer relies on the hardware and software of the PC for videoconferencing. Finally, some locations maintain dedicated videoconferencing rooms specifically for videoconferencing and contain permanently mounted equipment. These system types are further discussed in Section 3 of this document. Videoconferencing systems usually have one or a combination of the following three connection capabilities. A switched connection can dial-up any other compatible videoconferencing system and uses the public network via ISDN, switched 56, an internet connection, or other method. A dedicated connection can only interact with other sites on a particular network and connects using one of a host of various connections (i.e. dedicated 56Kbs, broadband fiber, T-1, DS-3, coaxial cable, Virtual Private Network, ATM, frame relay, or a private IP network). A broadcast-type system, such as a satellite-based, broadcast, or cable television system only has the capability to receive (or send) video signals from the outside and to interact requires the use of a telephone, fax machine or other device. As stated earlier, these types of systems were excluded from this study. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 6
  • 11. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 2: Project Summary and Methodology This section provides a detailed summary of the work completed on this project. A five- phase plan was developed and carried out to collect, document and analyze information related to videoconferencing in the Appalachian Region. Throughout the entire project, a regular reporting schedule was followed to report the study's progress. Feedback was sought from the ARC during these interactions regarding the quality and completeness of the information obtained. The videoconferencing facilities located in the Myers Group offices were used to regularly communicate with the ARC and project partners. Written "Status Reports" were submitted to the ARC in August, September, December, and March, and additional regular updates were provided through e-mails, faxes, phone calls, and videoconferences. Circumstances arising during the data collection and mapping phases pushed the project off of the original proposed schedule. However, the additional time used to verify data and emphasize thoroughness and quality have resulted in a more complete and accurate study. The information presented below details the process and resulting action steps that were taken in the videoconferencing analysis. A. Phase I: Discovery Period The goal of this phase was to gather the essential information that formed the platform for the study. This research helped to define the information collected in the survey instruments (created in the Development Phase) and helped generate important leads (pursued in the Data Collection Phase). Finally, the information gathered helped to further define the study and thus helped to ensure that the information collected was relevant and valuable to the ARC. The following steps were completed in gathering information during the Discovery Period: • Review of Myers Group Relevant Files and Reports − The Myers Group has conducted numerous videoconferencing and distance learning research studies in the Appalachian Region. A review of existing archives was completed which produced some initial investigative information. • Review ARC Project Files − The Myers Group received information from the ARC concerning relevant initiatives in the region. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 7
  • 12. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey • Key State-Level Contacts − The Myers Group was provided with listings of critical stakeholders from the ARC that were asked to provide input into the project in the Data Collection Phase. • Internet Searches − Broad WWW internet searches were carried-out as an initial secondary research step to collect background information and identify other sources of information. • Review of Existing Videoconferencing Directories − Another secondary research activity included a review of existing videoconferencing directories available on-line, commercially or through videoconferencing service providers. An attempt to verify the accuracy of all secondary research information was completed via primary research methods (i.e. telephone or written interviews). • Interview ARC Officials, LDD Staff and Key Contacts − The Myers Group completed interviews of appropriate representatives from identified project partner groups to seek input on the type of information to be collected, methods for data collection, other sources of information, etc. • Identification of Potential Public Videoconferencing Facilities (Universities, Commercial Sites, etc.) − Potential public videoconferencing sites including (but not limited to) universities, community colleges, schools, corporate service facilities, government entities, hospitals, technical schools, libraries, etc. were identified and contact information collected for use in data collection. • Survey/Interview of Industry Contacts − Contacts within the videoconferencing industry were mined and contacted to identify potential public videoconferencing facilities and additional leads. This first pass "forecasted" the type of information that would be gathered during the data collection phase. This forecasting provided a preview of the content, style, and amount of related information already available. This information spanned a tremendous range; from a web site simply stating that videoconferencing is available in Pittsburgh, PA to a web page providing numerous technical details and contact information about sites all over the world. This information was later used to create survey instruments in the Phase II: Development Period and helped to form the platform for the study as a whole. This phase also marked the beginning of a "snowball effect" for the Data Collection Phase (Phase III). The Discovery Phase generated many important leads that were used during Data Collection. As these leads were pursued, more were generated. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 8
  • 13. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey B. Phase II: Development Period During this phase the critical infrastructure was established that enabled the collection of relevant and valuable information as articulated by the project partners in the Discovery Phase. During this phase, the survey and interview instruments were created to collect data and database structures were established. To capture and manage the collected information, a database was designed using Microsoft Access. Data entry forms were developed with input masks and drop down boxes designed to control error during the data entry process. A relational database design was selected to provide the flexibility needed for data analysis in Phase V. Attachment A provides a sample view of the data entry form. Two sets of survey instruments were created: one set for the Local Development Districts (LDDs) and one set for information collection and verification of public videoconferencing sites. The content and the form of each survey were based on an assessment of the information gathered during Discovery. The goal was to design survey forms that concisely captured the information determined to be most critical to the study. The LDD surveys were designed to assess the current needs and capabilities of each LDD. The Public Site surveys were designed to gather very specific contact, technical, and facility information that would populate the database. 1. Local Development District Surveys The LDD surveys were designed as telephone surveys. Each survey was preceded by a letter to each LDD to introduce the project, introduce The Myers Group and to inform each of the project partners of the goals, process and anticipated results of the project. The introductory letter and LDD Telephone Survey are included as Attachments B and C, respectively. The completion response target was 100% of the Local Development Districts. As with any mass data collection effort, a challenge arose in having all LDDs complete the survey. However, all 71 LDDs were interviewed and the results of the survey are provided in Section 3 of this document. 2. Public Videoconferencing Site Survey Several methods were chosen to administer the Public Site Survey. The goal was to contact as many sites as possible, as quickly as possible to verify existing information and collect additional information as appropriate. Based on an assessment of the data compiled during the Discovery Period, four (4) methods of executing the Public Site Survey were created: © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 9
  • 14. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 1. Web Survey − A web site was designed with linked web pages including an online survey form and a description of the project and players. It was determined that web access to the survey was highly desirable for four reasons: 1) it made the survey easily accessible via a public medium (the internet); 2) respondents could access the survey at a time that was convenient for them; 3) it reduced the potential for data entry error (users entered the data themselves); 4) it saved data entry time (data was imported directly into the database). All potential respondents were encouraged to utilize the web page. The URL of this web site was referenced on each of the other survey types described below. 2. E-mail Survey − An email survey was developed that was both text-based − to which a respondent could reply by using the reply feature − and included a hyperlink to the web survey URL. This survey was sent to all contacts with known e-mail addresses. 3. Written Survey − A written survey was designed and mailed to those sites without e-mail addresses but with complete mailing addresses. Each survey referenced the web page URL and encouraged respondents to use the Internet as the mode of response. Separate written surveys were drafted for mass mailings to all higher education institutions and hospitals within the Appalachian Region. 4. Telephone Survey − a survey was designed for the remaining sites which had no other information available except for a phone number. Each survey instrument was pre-tested on a small population of subjects to identify and correct survey flaws and awkward/unclear questions. The instruments were also forwarded to the ARC for review and comment. The instruments were then reworked prior to final data collection. The initial search for sites in the Discovery Period yielded a large amount of information. This data was filtered for regional appropriateness (only those sites within the ARC region), technical appropriateness (only two-way interactive video) and other factors which may have a bearing on the accuracy and relevance of the data. After filtering numerous listings, a total of 1,800 entries were recorded in the database. After further data cleaning throughout the project, the number of entries was reduced further to less than 1,400. Prior to data collection, contact lists were prepared for each survey type. This involved assessing the available contact information, determining the most appropriate survey type to administer, and formatting the data appropriately to distribute each survey. The design of the existing database was altered to manage, record and track contact responses throughout the rest of the project. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 10
  • 15. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The web survey can be viewed at http://www.myersgroup.com/survey. Samples of the written, phone, and e-mail survey are included as Attachment D. The data collected using these surveys is detailed in Phase III: Data Collection. C. Phase III: Data Collection and Mapping The goal of this phase was to collect and compile all of the information specified for the study in an efficient and effective manner. The central objective was two-fold to verify and/or correct information compiled during Discovery and Development and to collect additional information relevant to the project. Many of the sites that passed the filtering processes completed during the Development Phase proved to have outdated or incomplete information. As a result, many initial survey attempts resulted in returned surveys or failed responses. Also, approximately 425 sites were eliminated due to the following reasons: initial contact information was incorrect and actual videoconferencing site fell outside of the ARC region; the site had no public videoconferencing facility available at that location; sites that initial research reported had videoconferencing in fact only had satellite transmission capability; no contact could be reached to verify the initial site listing. Any surveys returned electronically or via US mail were tracked and held for follow-up attempts. Sites that were unreachable after all available avenues for contact (email, us mail phone calls) were exhausted were removed from the list. Surveys were submitted with information in varying levels of completeness. Typically, most sites provided complete contact information. Often, however, the Technical or Facility Information sections were incomplete or questionable in their degree of accuracy. For example, several surveys were submitted by sites mistaking their satellite downlink capability for videoconferencing. Incomplete surveys were set aside for a follow-up phone call or e-mail. Two attempts were made to research any missing information. Consequently, several site listings have incomplete Technical or Facility information. However, the Contact Information, the most crucial piece of information for this project, is complete for nearly all 1,375 remaining records. These were the primary challenges encountered during data collection. As data was reported, it was entered into the database. Once the bulk of the data was recorded, filters were created to highlight remaining inaccurate, incomplete, or unclear information. Most of the inaccuracies fell under the Technical Information Section of the survey. Some sites contacted The Myers Group for help in completing this section. The Myers Group also contacted many sites that submitted inaccurate information and corrected the database. Filtering the data to eliminate errors resulted in a disappointingly low response rate. The Myers Group was dissatisfied with the number of responses received and thought it was necessary to distribute another round of surveys. These surveys were sent to the additional leads and contacts that were generated from the first phase of data collection. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 11
  • 16. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey One additional challenge resulted from the timeliness of many responses. A December 1999 deadline was highlighted on each survey, but completed responses continue to arrive at The Myers Group offices through July, 2000. The data that was collected was graphically represented on maps as well as in database form. D. Phase IV: Analysis The goal of the Analysis Phase of the study was to process the raw information, gathered in the Data Collection Phase, and transform it into meaningful information directly addressing the stated goals of the study. Significant emphasis was placed on crafting appropriate database queries and statistical analyses to represent the data in a manner that is meaningful to the project partners and specific to the goals of the study. Queries and analyses were carried out individually for the LDD needs/requirements evaluation and the videoconferencing site surveys and cross- queries were generated so that relationships between LDD needs/requirements could be compared with videoconferencing site availability. Specifically, the following points were examined: • Need/Requirements/Criteria for Videoconferencing in LDD sites − This analysis was based on the survey data collected from the LDDs. A full assessment of each LDD’s current videoconferencing capabilities, their need for videoconferencing, and the suitability of this technology to meet current communication requirements was made. • Identification of Significant Gaps in Videoconferencing Service Availability in the ARC Region − Gaps in videoconferencing services were identified and represented graphically in maps identifying potential users and existing services. • Determine Interoperability Between Existing Videoconferencing Systems − All detailed technical information regarding standards (i.e. H.320 and H.323) and technology (i.e. RF, M-JPEG, MPEG, MPEG-2, ISDN) collected throughout the study was compared. An “Interoperability Map” that graphically demonstrates which sites can presently communicate was prepared. This information was used to formulate a strategy for interconnection in the Plan, Recommendations and Documentation phase of the study. • Determination of the Practicality of Using Existing Videoconferencing Systems for the 71 LDD's − This analysis was a culmination of many components of the study and prepared on a regional and individual basis for the LDDs. • Identification of Challenges for Establishing a Network − Potential barriers and existing challenges for establishing a network were documented. This information © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 12
  • 17. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey was critical for the Plan, Recommendations and Documentation Phase of the study in which methods for overcoming the challenges identified were proposed. The conclusions drawn from this phase are detailed in Section 3: Data Summary of this report. E. Phase V: Plan, Recommendations and Documentation The goal of this phase was to develop an overall plan for videoconferencing in the Appalachian Region including specific strategies for the LDD organizations. This phase involved reviewing all previous work done on this project, devising a strategy for improving videoconferencing access and generating detailed recommendations. Also provided are details on videoconferencing access and costs for LDD sites and for interconnection of other networks. Results of Phase V are detailed in Section 5 “Recommendations" of this report. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 13
  • 18. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 3: Findings A. Public Videoconferencing Sites 1. Introduction As stated earlier, one of the primary goals in conducting this study was to identify publicly accessible, interactive video teleconferencing sites in the region that will permit the LDDs, State ARC personnel, and the ARC headquarters facility to jointly participate in regional videoconferencing. It is expected that videoconferencing facilities can be used by the region's 71 LDDs, as well as citizens groups, and organizations to originate, and participate in videoconferencing. In this section, the information gathered about these publicly accessible is presented. The information gathered on each site is in various levels of completeness. As much information as possible for each site was recorded using the methods described in the previous section. Following these best efforts, some of the sites are extremely well documented, some are moderately documented and still others are incomplete. This resulted from several factors, including the failure of the site to respond to the survey and the follow-up attempts, a lack of knowledge on the part of the respondent concerning the technical aspects of the system, recent changes in technology or services at the site, etc. All information that was available from each site at the time of data collection was recorded and is presented included in this section. The comprehensive survey of public sites examined a wide variety of system types and organizations in all 13 states to ascertain the suitability of the respective site to participate in videoconferencing. Each site was asked to provide the following information applicable to the site participating in regional videoconferencing: • Location of site, to include county, city, ownership of site, and complete mailing address. Name of contact person, with telephone number, fax, email and web page URL • Availability of site to accommodate different types of original signal transmission over various types of high speed and wide band network services. Information includes specific line speed particulars for sites, compression and standards capabilities, access to "Bridge" facilities, network interface flexibility, and potential system upgrade capabilities. • An analysis of what types of videoconferencing equipment components are at each site: including, name of equipment and model type, ancillary supporting services such as computer access, fax, whiteboard, overhead camera, etc. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 14
  • 19. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey • Cost of use of site, if available and any special use conditions. The information contains times of day equipment is available, and days of the week, scheduling requirements, seating capacity of facility, etc. A total of 1,375 sites are included in this report. This does not imply that there are not additional sites within the region. The sites included in this survey were found via the research methods described in this report, and the information included herein is based on available survey information. With the cost of videoconferencing falling and the increased availability of ISDN and internet access throughout the US and the ARC region, it is not possible to capture every site that maintains interactive video capabilities. The data represents a best effort to gain a snap shot of a period of time in the 4th quarter of 1999 and 1st quarter of 2000. The information is dynamic as more sites implement videoconferencing technology, some decommission it and still other upgrade existing facilities. 2. Public Videoconferencing Site Information The number of public videoconferencing sites within each state within the ARC region is reflected below. As expected, Pennsylvania has the overwhelming majority of public sites – this mostly due to the concentration of sites in the Pittsburgh area and the fact that Pennsylvania has the greatest number of total counties in the ARC region. Sites by State MS SC 2% PA 1% NC 45% 3% MD 3% OH 3% VA 4% TN 5% WV 5% KY 5% NY AL 10% GA 6% 8% Figure 1 - Percentage of Total Sites in each ARC State Within each state in the ARC region only designated counties fall within the Appalachian Region – this is true for all states except West Virginia. In the case of West Virginia, the entire state (all counties) fall within Appalachia. The distribution of Appalachian counties © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 15
  • 20. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey varies widely across the states. For example, Pennsylvania contains 52 Appalachian counties, whereas South Carolina contains only 6. In an attempt to gain a more complete picture and gauge the concentration of videoconferencing sites within each state, a ratio of the number of sites vs. the number of Appalachian counties in each state was developed. The three northern-most states (New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland) were shown to have a significantly higher concentration of sites (3 to 4 times the concentration), when compared with the states with the next highest concentration (Georgia and South Carolina). The ratio of public videoconferencing site to Appalachian county (by state) are presented in the chart below. Concentration of sites 14 12 12 12 Ratio = sites/counties 10 10 8 6 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 SC MS WV TN KY OH VA AL SC GA NY MD PA State Figure 2 - Concentration of Sites within each State The distribution of public videoconferencing sites is also plotted on Map 1: Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region (by zip code). Due to variances in street names, numbers, and other address features, zip codes were used to plot the sites. Each point on the map represents a unique zip code, and each symbol depicts the number of sites within that zip code. The videoconferencing site data is also represented in Map 2: Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region (by County). These maps point out the distribution and approximate geographic location of all 1,375 public videoconferencing sites within the ARC region. Each of these sites are characterized by different system types and manufacturers, interconnection, media, and transmission speeds, and this information is detailed in the following sections. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 16
  • 21. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 3 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 17
  • 22. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 4 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by County © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 18
  • 23. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2. Technology 2.1 System Types Videoconferencing systems are available in a variety of formats. A set-top or roll- about system that works with a television set allows a camera to mount directly on top of a television monitor. The monitor may sit on a moveable cart - allowing for its use in different locations. A desktop system integrated with a personal computer relies on the hardware and software of the PC for videoconferencing. A dedicated videoconferencing room is often a custom-designed room with ancillary equipment for specific purposes (tracking cameras for teachers in distance learning environments, document cameras, room control systems, VCRs, etc.). Set-top system Desktop system integrated Dedicated Videoconferencing with a PC Room These system types are found throughout the ARC region. Based on available survey information, of 1,375 public sites, the majority of the sites list an "unknown" videoconferencing type because the contact or individual completing the survey did not know this information or the survey was not completed (or not completed in its entirety). Although the primary system type found was Dedicated Videoconferencing Rooms (16%), it is suspected that the overwhelming majority of the sites listed as unknown are in fact either set-top/roll-about systems or desk-top systems. This can be inferred from other data included for each record – including the equipment manufacturer, videoconferencing standards listed, the seating capacity of the facility, transmission speeds, etc. Most of the sites that reported "Other", in fact, had multiple types of systems, and did not specify their primary system type. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 19
  • 24. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Public Videoconferencing System Types Dedicated Room 16% Desktop System 2% Other unknown 1% 78% Set-Top or Roll- About 3% Figure 5 - Public Videoconferencing Site System Types The distribution of sites is plotted on Map 3: Videoconferencing System Types (by zip code). Using the zip codes of each site proved the most accurate way of plotting the collected data, due to variances in street names, numbers, and other address features. Each point on the map represents a unique zip code, and each symbol indicates that at least one videoconferencing system of that type is located within that zip code. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 20
  • 25. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 6 – Map of Videoconferencing System Types by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 21
  • 26. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2.2 System Manufacturers Many manufacturers produce videoconferencing systems. Some of the most popular equipment manufacturers include Intel, which focuses on desktop computer conferencing; PictureTel and VTEL, which offer a variety of products but concentrate on roll-about and set-top type systems. Tektronix and ADC Communications manufacture broadband fiber and DS3 (high bandwidth) codecs targeted toward high-bandwidth networks. Of the dozens of manufacturers of videoconferencing equipment, 7 primary manufacturers were included in the chart below. Additional manufacturers (primarily with fewer than 10 references) were grouped in the 'other' category of the chart. Equipment Manufacturer PictureTel 27% Sony Intel 1% CLI 2% 2% Tektronix ADC 4% 2% VTEL 15% Other Unknown 2% 45% Figure 7 - Public Videoconferencing Site Equipment Manufacturers 2.3 Interconnectivity Videoconferencing systems usually have one or a combination of the following three connection capabilities. A switched connection provides the videoconferencing system with the capability to dial-up any other compatible system regardless of the location and uses the public switched network via ISDN, switched 56, an internet connection, or other method. The two systems communicating together can literally be located anywhere in the world (Birmingham, Alabama and Sidney, Australia for example), provided the two systems are compatible and operating according to the same technical standards. Because the connections are typically established via the public switched telecommunications network, video compression must be used over narrow bandwidth lines (i.e. ISDN lines at 384Kbs or lower). This degrades the video signal, to some extent, based on the bandwidth available. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 22
  • 27. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Site A Public Site B Telephone Network CODEC CODEC Figure 8 - Switched Network Connection for Videoconferencing Unlike a switched connection, a dedicated connection can only interact with other sites on a particular network and connects using one of a host of different technologies (i.e. dedicated 56Kbs, broadband fiber, T-1, DS-3, coaxial cable, Virtual Private Networks, ATM, frame relay, or a private IP network). Typically, these dedicated networks are dedicated to a particular function (several school districts sharing courses via distance learning, hospitals operating a private video network for telemedical applications). What these dedicated networks give up in their ability to connect only a limited number of sites, they typically make up for in video and audio quality. Generally speaking, these networks employ high bandwidth network connections via fiber optic cable and/or circuits. These networks usually are capable of reproducing very high quality video and audio and often allow for many sites to participate together simultaneously. Site B CODEC Site A CODEC CODEC Site C CODEC Site D Figure 9 - Dedicated Network Connection for Videoconferencing © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 23
  • 28. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Some videoconferencing facilities have hybrid systems that operate with both capabilities (switched and dedicated). Often sites connected together on a closed- circuit (dedicated) system share a codec that has dial-out capabilities – in a manner similar to a printer being shared by a number of computers on a local area network. In this way, the dedicated sites can reap the benefits of both types of systems. Site B CODEC Site A CODEC CODEC Site C CODEC Gateway CODEC Site D Public Telephone Network Remote Site CODEC Figure 10 - Hybrid Switched/Dedicated Connection for Videoconferencing © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 24
  • 29. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Broadcast-type systems, such as a satellite-based, broadcast, or cable television systems only have the capability to receive (or send) video signals from the outside and to interact requires the use of a telephone, fax machine or other device. Broadcast systems such as this were not included as part of the study. The chart below reflects the distribution of the system types that are known in the Appalachian Region. Connection Capabilities Dedicated and Dial- up Capabilities Dial-Up Only 5% 54% Dedicated 'Closed Circuit Networks' 7% Unknown 34% Figure 11 - Public Videoconferencing Site Connection Capabilities 2.4 Videoconferencing Standards: Interoperability of Systems Most videoconferencing systems subscribe to a common set of standard technical specifications, so they can communicate with systems made by other manufacturers. There are today several major standards that apply to business-quality videoconferencing. Some of the more predominant include H.320, H.323 and H.310. H.320 has been by far the predominant standard to-date; it is used by 90% of the existing business videoconferencing equipment and it is the standard for component- to-component communication in such videoconferencing equipment. Another standard gaining in significance is H.323, which covers video communication via IP (Internet Protocol). The H.323 suite of standards allows for interactive video communication over a variety of data network types that communicate via IP (including ethernet local area and wide area networks and the internet). While widely used in private networks, this standard will more than likely gain in significance for public use as standards for the internet evolve allowing for guaranteed video quality. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 25
  • 30. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Another standard that is beginning to make substantial inroads is H.310. This standard dictates the way in which the MPEG encoding schemes inter-operate together. MPEG and MPEG2 are encoding schemes often used on Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks and is targeted for use for distance learning, telemedicine and other areas where high quality video is required. Several proprietary standards also exist in which only devices of the same manufacturer (and in some cases model) can communicate with one another. One example includes Tektronix J-Series equipment that operates using a protocol called Motion JPEG (M-JPEG). Using this equipment, all sites must be equipped with J- Series codecs connected to a central J-Series switch (DCC45) via a DS-3 circuit to communicate with one another. Technical Standards: System Interoperability MPEG-2 H.323 0% 1% Unknown 33% Analog 2% M-JPEG 4% H.320 60% Figure 12 - Technical Standards: System Interoperability Although there is a large percentage of sites for which the technical standards are not known, it can be inferred from other data that a good portion of these sites are H.320 compliant. While very few (8 out of 1,375 identified sites) were listed as having H.323 compliant videoconferencing equipment (operating via the internet and data networks), this more than likely does not provide an accurate picture of the actual distribution of this equipment. Because much of this gear is deployed in internal corporate networks and used in households for personal videoconferencing applications, it is not available for public use. Information regarding these systems would therefore not have been recorded for this study and quite difficult to obtain. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 26
  • 31. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 13 – Map of H.320 Capability of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 27
  • 32. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Each technical standard, circuit type and technology for videoconferencing has its advantages and disadvantages as well as cost differences. The table below describes some of the more common videoconferencing standards, applications and costs. STANDARD TELECOM TYPICAL QUALITY COMPATABILITY ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES COST MEDIUM APPLICATION M-JPEG FIBER Distance Learning High Quality & Can only connect to other Extremely reliable and Connections with other Flat rate ~ MPEG 2 DS-3 Reliable sites using the same easy to use sites limited only to those $1,800 to Analog (NTSC) Coaxial Cable Telemedicine technology on the same on the same network. 3,000/mo Broadcast network. Can connect multiple unlimited usage Multi-site Television Quality sites Interactive Typically used for Programs dedicated networks connecting several sites in the same geographic region H.320 ISDN or Videoconference Good Quality Can connect with any Universal connectivity Requires additional Usage sensitive Switched 56 Meetings, H.320 compatible system equipment and services Via Public Training, Virtual worldwide Uses existing public for multi-point Flat rate ~ $60 to Switched Field Trips, Video network with familiar videoconferencing 180/mo based on Telephone Arraignments dialing scheme bandwidth used Network Usage costs can add up quick with frequent, Usage extended calls $20-75/hr H.323 Ethernet/ Personal Quality Can connect with any Can turn almost any Requires significant Uses existing IP Network Videoconferencin determined by H.323 user connected via desktop computer into network management Internal g via internet bandwidth local IP network or via an a videoconferencing oversight to guarantee corporate data available on the Internet connection system bandwidth networks or Internal corporate network for video Internet videoconferencin transmission Can not guarantee quality connection g via data over Internet connections network Figure 14 - Summary of Videoconferencing Transmission Technologies © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 28
  • 33. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey % of Sites with Both Dedicated (“Closed-circuit”) and Dial-up Capabilities % of Sites Connected to a Dedicated “Closed-circuit” 100 Network Only % of Sites with Dial-up Capabilities 80 60 40 20 0 PA MS WV AL OH TN KY GA SC NC MD NY VA Figure 15 - Network Capabilities of Public Videoconferencing Sites in the Appalachian Region © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 29
  • 34. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2.5 Bridging Bridging allows for three or more videoconferencing sites to communicate simultaneously in a session together. Bridging can be achieved in a variety of ways depending on the type of technology that is being used for videoconferencing. Some of the more popular forms of bridging are described below. Bridging via H.320 and H.323 dial-up type systems is often achieved using a device called a multipoint conferencing unit (MCU). In this scenario, separate videoconferencing units typically “dial-in” to a MCU. MCUs have multiple ports – the number of ports determines how many outside systems can dial in. They also have varying transmission speed capabilities – some can only operate at speeds of 128Kbs, others can operate at higher speeds, such as 384Kbs. Regardless, participants can only interact at the speed of the weakest link. For example, if one site dials the MCU at a speed of 384Kbs (high quality video) and two others dial at a speed of 128Kbs (low quality video), all sites will interact at the lower quality 128Kbs rate. How participants view one another is also a function of the capabilities of the particular model of MCU that is being used. Some MCUs can automatically detect which site is speaking, keying in on audio signals, and will display the video image of that site for the other participants. This image will continue to be displayed until another site begins to speak – at which time the video image will change to that site, allowing that site then to “take the floor”. Other MCUs have the capability to “quad-split” the screen (dividing the participants’ individual television screens into four quadrants) and placing the video image of each participant in one of the quadrants of the screen. The diagram below depicts four video conferencing units bridged in a videoconferencing session via an MCU. Site A Site C MCU CODEC CODEC Site B Site D CODEC CODEC Bridging on a dedicated video conferencing network is typically achieved in a different way – usually via the use of scheduling software that runs on the network. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 30
  • 35. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Through the use of this software, a network administrator can configure the network to establish sessions between particular sites at particular times. The software, when programmed with this information, then communicates with the network equipment at the appropriate time to establish the sessions as programmed. This software can be web-based and accessible from all locations or it may reside on a controlling network switch and accessible only through a hard-wired terminal. The diagram below represents one way in which a dedicated network sites may be bridged and sessions scheduled. SITE SITE TV TV TV TV TV TV SITE TV Network Switch TV TV Scheduling Computer Throughout the ARC region, the various forms of bridging discussed above exist. In the survey, respondents were asked if bridging capabilities existed for their system or associated network. The chart below summarizes the responses. Bridging Capabilities Yes 22% No Don't Know 58% 2% No Response 18% Figure 16 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Capabilities © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 31
  • 36. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey In addition to indicating whether or not bridging exists, respondents were asked how bridging is achieved. For example, does the facility maintain an MCU on site or do they use an MCU located elsewhere? Typically there are hourly usage charges associated with the use of an MCU located at a remote location. Many telephone companies and private telecommunications businesses maintain MCUs and make them available to organizations that desire multi-point capabilities for scheduled meetings, training sessions, interviews, etc. The companies that offer bridging facilities typically require reservations to be made ahead of time and charge an hourly rate and possibly a set-up charge. It is important to note that unlike switched (dial-up) bridging systems, dedicated videoconferencing networks have bridging capabilities that can not be shared with anyone outside of their “closed-circuit” networks. Methods in which organizations within the Appalachian Region establish bridged, multipoint capabilities are described in the chart below. The chart below only reflects those sites for which information existed (does not include those sites that did not respond to the survey). Bridging Method Own Bridge 20% Dialing-in No Response 42% 2% Network Software 1% Don't Know 4% Scheduling Computer 31% Figure 17 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Methods A full listing of the bridging locations identified in Appalachia is provided in the appendices of this document. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 32
  • 37. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 18 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites with Bridging Capabilities by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 33
  • 38. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2.5 Videoconferencing Carriers The telecommunications connections that allow the videoconferencing units to intercommunicate can be provisioned by a number of different providers. These may be telephone companies, cable companies, internet providers or private customer wide area or local area networks. The service providers providing interconnectivity throughout the ARC region are listed in the chart below. Videoconferencing Carriers Other 0% Public Telephone Network 22% Private computer network 2% Cable 1% Internet 0% Satellite Unknown 0% 75% Private wireless network 0% Figure 19 - Public Videoconferencing Site Media While a large percentage of this information is unknown, it can be inferred from other data within each record that the vast majority of these sites employ the public telephone network to establish telecommunications connectivity for videoconferencing. 2.6 Transmission Speeds While there are many different carriers that provide interconnectivity, there are even more types of telecommunications lines that are provided by the service providers that are used for videoconferencing. Some of the more common types of circuits are discussed below. ISDN – Perhaps the most common kind of digital telecommunication line is called ISDN BRI (Integrated Services Digital Network, Basic Rate Interface). ISDN BRI is a dial-up (switched) telecommunication service that can be ordered from a local telephone company. While it is widely available in most urban and suburban areas, it may or may not be available in rural locations. The technology provides two data channels, each with a capacity of 64kbps (for a total of 128Kbs). Often, a single codec can accept multiple ISDN BRI lines which improves the overall bandwidth that is used (i.e. three (3) BRI lines @ 128Kbs = 384Kbs) and thus improves the quality © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 34
  • 39. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey of the video and audio. Generally speaking, modern videoconferencing units that operate on an ISDN line also operate using the H.320 standard. Appalachian Region-wide, 26% of the total identified units employed ISDN connections. It is suspected that the majority of those sites for which the connection type was unknown (52%) use ISDN as well. Switched 56 – Switched 56 is an older technology that also offers dial-up (switched) connections similar to ISDN – but operates at the lesser transmission speed of 56Kbs, instead of 128Kbs. Like ISDN, multiple switched 56 lines can be combined to improve quality and systems using switched 56 typically operate on the H.320 standard. This means that ISDN users can connect to videoconferencing systems using switched 56 and visa versa. As discussed earlier, the quality of the video and audio during a session is determined by the lowest bandwidth user. T-1 – A T-1 line consists of 24 individual channels each of which operates at 64Kbs. These channels can be combined together supporting data rates of roughly 1.5Mbs (24 channels @ 64Kbs = 1536Kbs). Each 64Kbit/second channel can be configured to carry voice or data traffic. Many telephone companies allow purchasing of just some of these individual channels, known as fractional T-1 access. T-1 lines are sometimes referred to as DS1 lines. T-3 – A T-3 line (sometimes referred to as DS3) is a dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of about 43Mbps. A T-3 line actually consists of 672 individual channels, each of which supports 64Kbs. T-3 lines are often used for dedicated videoconferencing and distance learning networks. Frame Relay – Frame Relay is a technology used for connecting devices on a Wide Area Network (WAN). Most telephone companies now provide Frame Relay service for customers who want connections at 56Kbs to T-1 speeds. This bandwidth is shared among many sites so the full bandwidth that the customer subscribes to may be available all the time. In the U.S., Frame Relay is quite popular because it is relatively inexpensive. However, it is being replaced in some areas by faster technologies, such as ATM. ATM – Current implementations of ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) support data transfer rates of from 25 to 622Mbs (megabits per second). This compares to a maximum of 100Mbps for Ethernet, the current technology used for most local area networks (LANs). One of the advantages of ATM technology is that multiple types of communications (voice, data and video) can be carried on an ATM network and that bandwidth can be guaranteed for applications such as video to ensure stable and predictable quality. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 35
  • 40. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The Internet – H.323 compliant videoconferencing systems are designed to work with Internet Protocol (IP). If connecting to the internet, users can benefit from a high speed internet connections – the faster the connection, the better. Unfortunately, no matter how fast a connection a site has, this bandwidth can not be guaranteed as the signals traverse scores of switches and routers that make up the internet connection to the remote site. As is the case with other telecommunications services, you are only as fast as the weakest link in the connection. Depending on the location of the remote end and all of the equipment and services in between, you may have acceptable quality video or poor quality. Standards bodies are currently working in an attempt to solve these problems. Cable Modem – A cable modem is a device designed to operate over cable TV lines and offers speeds, usually to the internet, in the range of 5 to 10Mbs. Because the coaxial cable used by cable TV provides much greater bandwidth than telephone lines, a cable modem can be used to achieve extremely fast access to the internet. The same issues related to the internet apply however. DSL – Like a cable modem, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology offers high speed connectivity, typically to the internet, at speeds in the range of 1 to 6Mbs. Unlike cable modems, however, DSL modems work on standard copper telephone lines. The service is typically offered by internet service providers (ISPs) and telephone companies and often competes with cable modem services offered by cable television companies. The same issues related to the internet apply for DSL access to the internet. Sites within the ARC region reported a wide range of technology types and transmission speeds for videoconferencing. The speeds included in the chart on the following page include 128kbps, 384kbps, ISDN, T-1, and Broadband Fiber. Other reported speeds are included in the 'other' category and the remaining sites reported 'unknown' transmission speeds. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 36
  • 41. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Transmission Speeds ISDN (128Kbps) 2% ISDN (384Kbps) 10% ISDN (Unspecified) Unknown 14% 52% Broadband Fiber 7% T-1 9% Other 6% Figure 20 - Public Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds The distribution of transmission speeds are represented on Map 6, 6B, 6C and 6D: Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (by zip code). Using the zip codes of each site proved the most accurate way of plotting the collected data, due to variances in street names, numbers, and other address features. Each point on the map represents a unique zip code, and each symbol indicates that at least one videoconferencing system with that transmission speed is located within the representative zip code. Based on the data collected it is not possible to create a map that demonstrates all of the various types of circuits available across the region. This would require a survey of all companies providing telecommunications services in Appalachia including local exchange carriers, competitive local exchange carriers, cable television companies, etc. With the increase of competition within this market in recent years, this information is often considered to be strategically significant by these companies and they are often reluctant to share such information in detail. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 37
  • 42. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 21 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 38
  • 43. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 22 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (T-1) © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 39
  • 44. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 23 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (Broadband Fiber) © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 40
  • 45. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 24 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (ISDN) © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 41
  • 46. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 3. General and Facility Information 3.1 Organization Type A diverse array of organizations, from institutions of higher education to state governmental agencies to small businesses, employ videoconferencing for a variety of purposes. In this study, each of the 1,375 public videoconferencing sites found within the ARC region was classified in 1 of 4 sectors/organization types. These sectors included: • Government/Public/Non-Profit – including a range of local, regional, state and federal government agencies; public service agencies such as police departments and courts; and miscellaneous not for profit organizations. The Local Development Districts with in-house videoconferencing capabilities were included in this category. Interactive video is used for a variety of purposes in this sector including distance training sessions, meetings and arraignments via videoconference. • Health – This category includes hospitals, clinics and health administration groups associated with the medical community in the Appalachian Region. Videoconferencing is used for a variety of purposes including administrative meetings, continuing medical education and telemedicine. For the purpose of this study, telemedicine includes the various forms of “dynamic imaging” involving the provision of interactive, two-way healthcare services via videoconferencing. One way transmission, or “static imaging” technologies, such as the electronic transfer of radiological images, were not included. • Business – This classification encompasses a wide range of private industries from small businesses to large corporations. All sites in this category are for profit companies associated with the commercial sector. The most frequent usage of videoconferencing in business is for meetings. Other uses include training, recruitment and customer relations. • Education – This sector includes k-12, vocational schools, community colleges, and all 2 and 4-year colleges and universities. This classification includes the myriad of distance learning networks and facilities that dot the Appalachian region. Distance education and course sharing are the prominent videoconferencing applications for these organizations. Some videoconferencing sites spanned multiple categories. For example, teaching hospitals are associated with both the Health and Education sectors. In these instances, a judgement was made (on a case-by-case basis) and the organization was classified in either one sector or the other. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 42
  • 47. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The vast majority of public sites that were identified were associated with education. The distribution of sites is reflected below: Organization Type Government/Public/ Non-profit 9% Education 68% Health 11% Business 12% Figure 25 - Public Videoconferencing Site Organization Types The distribution of sites by sector are represented on the maps 7 - 7D. Using the zip codes of each site proved the most accurate way of plotting the collected data, due to variances in street names, numbers, and other address features. Each point on the map represents a unique zip code, and each symbol indicates that at least one videoconferencing system of that organization type is located within that zip code. As demonstrated on the maps that follow, the distribution of sites varies according to sector. An initial evaluation of the data reveals the following: Business Sector Videoconferencing Sites – These sites show grouping around the urban and more populated geographic regions. This is logical in that most of these organizations lease their videoconferencing facilities to individuals and organizations for profit and there are higher concentrations of these individuals and organizations in urban areas. Health Sector Videoconferencing – These sites appear to be grouped regionally. It may be that some of the larger regional medical organizations and health networks have looked to videoconferencing as a communications solution among regional sites. Education Sector Videoconferencing – The videoconferencing sites associated with the educational sector show a fairly even distribution across the region, corresponding to campus locations. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 43
  • 48. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Government/Public/Non-Profit Sector Videoconferencing – While there are fewer sites in this sector than the others, the distribution of sites in this category are also fairly evenly spread. Alabama has many videoconferencing systems within county offices throughout the state that are reflected in the maps that follow. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 44
  • 49. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 26 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites by Organization Type by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 45
  • 50. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 27 – Map of Health Videoconferencing Sites by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 46
  • 51. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 28 – Map of Government/Public/Non-Profit Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 47
  • 52. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 29 – Map of Education Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 48
  • 53. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 30 – Map of Business Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 49
  • 54. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 3.2 Ancillary Equipment Each videoconferencing site was asked to provide a list of equipment above and beyond the actual videoconferencing system and codec in place within their facility. Listed equipment included document cameras, automatic tracking cameras, VCRs, Satellite Downlink capabilities, Computers with Internet access, Scan converters, telephones, fax machines, and photocopiers. A description of some of this ancillary equipment is provided below. Document Cameras – Includes eyeball cameras and “Elmo”-type cameras capable of zooming in and out on documents or small objects. Units are typically placed on a flat surface and often include a staging area (similar to an overhead projector) with a camera pointed downward at the stage. Document cameras are often equipped with auto and manual iris and focus controls and have staging areas that can be back-lit to display slides. Tracking Cameras – Some videoconferencing systems are equipped with cameras that are capable of locking onto and following an individual as they move about the room. These cameras are often used in distance education settings so that instructors may move freely about while teaching. VCRs – For displaying videotapes or recording video on a videoconferencing system, some form of video playback/record device is necessary. The most common is a VCR. Often facilities maintain two VCRs – one dedicated for playing tapes and another dedicated for recording – so both functions may be used at the same time. Computer – Systems are often capable of displaying computer screens via the videoconferencing system. Typically, a scan converter is employed which translates the computer display (VGA) to video (NTSC) so that it may be displayed and transmitted. If the computer is connected to the internet, then on-line information can be displayed as well. Auxiliary Inputs: Virtually all systems have auxiliary video and audio jacks that allow for the connection of other video devices such as: • Video disk players • Video microscopes/telescopes • Camcorders • CD players • Satellite Downlink feeds • Other © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 50
  • 55. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey This information was tracked for use on a site-by-site basis and may be beneficial for the publicly accessible database. Because this information is site specific, it is not summarized here. 4. Key Observations Regarding Public Site Information Several general themes emerged from a top level analysis of the public videoconferencing site survey data. Each is identified below for further treatment in the Analysis and Recommendations sections of this report. • There appears to be a concentration of public videoconferencing sites in the northern states of the Appalachian Regional Commission, including Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland. It should be noted that while efforts were made to be as thorough as possible in the collection of data, it is possible that information for these states was simply better documented and/or available and thus able to be recorded more thoroughly for these states than other states. • The major gaps in public videoconferencing are in West Virginia and Tennessee. West Virginia in particular has a preponderance of counties, many of which are grouped together, without videoconferencing capabilities. • At least 60% of the public sites identified have the ability to dial-out to other videoconferencing systems (switched connections) via the H.320 standard over the public switched network. By far the most widely used standard in the Appalachian Region is H.320. • The distribution of H.320 capable systems varies according to state. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, have an extremely large percentage of H.320 systems (almost all). Other states have much more of a variance of H.320 and other dedicated network standards in place. • The distribution of sites by sector varies widely, with business sector sites grouped in urban locations, health sites grouped regionally and education and government sites distributed evenly throughout the region. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 51
  • 56. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey B. Local Development Districts 1. Introduction To ensure that funds are used effectively and efficiently, and to strengthen local participation, ARC works with the states to support a network of multi-county planning and development organizations, or local development districts (LDDs), throughout the Region. The 71 LDDs cover all 406 counties in the ARC program. The LDDs' most important role is to identify priority needs of local communities. Based on these needs, the LDDs work with their board members and other local citizens to develop plans for their communities' economic development, to target and meet the most pressing needs, and to build community unity and leadership.3 A key component of the videoconferencing study included a collection of information from these project partner organizations concerning their attitudes toward videoconferencing, their perceived need for the technology and their current usage of this mode of communication. This portion of the study was conducted in the initial stage (Discovery) of the project so the information would serve to guide the project as a whole. This activity was used as a check to ensure that the data collection conducted in later stages of the project would be targeted appropriately to produce relevant and valuable information. While information was solicited from a diverse array of organizations with interests in the project, including various state organizations, Appalachian Regional Commission officials, university administrators and local government agencies, the primary focus of the assessment was on the Local Development Districts. A two-step plan was carried-out to collect information from the LDDs. First, a series of interviews were completed in the Discovery Period with selected ARC and LDD personnel. The purpose of these interviews was to collect information to determine the most appropriate method for data collection and shape the information sought in the LDD survey. Based on this information, a telephone survey was developed which was administered to all 71 LDDs (at a 100% completion rate). The survey evaluated each LDD's current videoconferencing capabilities, uses and needs, as well as the suitability of the technology to meet current communication requirements. Separate questions were posed to those LDDs that had in-house videoconferencing units and those that did not. 3 http://www.arc.gov/partners/ldds/ldds.htm © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 52
  • 57. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2. Local Development District Information The majority (77%) of the LDDs use videoconferencing technology at some level. 18% of the LDDs maintain their own, in-house systems, while 59% of the LDDs use videoconferencing facilities located elsewhere. The publicly available systems used by this group of LDDs were tracked and logged in the database for the public site portion of the study. 23% of the LDDs indicated that they do not use videoconferencing at all as a means of communicating. LDD Videoconferencing Capabilities Do Not Use At All 23% Use Videoconferencing Elsewhere 59% In-House Videoconferencing 18% Figure 31 - LDD Videoconferencing Capabilities The distribution of LDD videoconferencing usage is plotted on Map 8: LDD Videoconferencing Use in the ARC Region (by county). © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 53
  • 58. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 32 – Map of LDD Videoconferencing Use in the ARC Region by County © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 54
  • 59. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 3. LDDs with In-House Videoconferencing Systems LDDs with videoconferencing units installed within their organizations were asked several questions related to their use of the technology, the frequency with which they use videoconferencing and the type of technology they have in place. The frequency of videoconferencing use among the LDDs is fairly typical of organizations that maintain one videoconferencing unit in a single corporate site for communication to the outside world. Usage tends to increase in organizations that maintain multiple videoconferencing units in multiple sites for internal communications within the corporate unit. With 84% of the LDDs using their videoconferencing units 5 or fewer times per month, it appears that videoconferencing has not been embraced as a critical means of communication within these LDDs, but rather meets specific communications requirements as needs arise. LDD in-house frequency of use 6-10 times/month 8% 3-5 times/month 61% 11+ times/month 8% 0-2 times/month 23% Figure 33 - LDD In-House Frequency of Use The sample of LDDs that maintain in-house videoconferencing systems use the systems for a variety of purposes. Not surprisingly, the use of videoconferencing mirrored many of the day-to-day activities of the LDDs, with the most common use being for meetings and economic development planning activities. It is important to note that workshop/conferences and training/education accounted for a significant percentage of the total system use (43%). Generally speaking, the LDDs that use videoconferencing most frequently use the technology for multiple applications – spanning several of the categories defined in figure 31, below. For example, all of the LDDs that use videoconferencing more than six (6) times per month, use the technology for meetings and for various types of training programs. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 55
  • 60. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Primary System Uses Other 5% Meetings and Workshops and Planning Conferences 52% 24% Training and Education 19% Figure 34 - LDD In-House Primary System Uses 85% of the LDDs with in-house systems indicated that they presently have procedures in place for the public to use their videoconferencing system. Each LDD responded that it is only necessary to call ahead of time to schedule use of their systems. Most did not have a set schedule of availability in place, but instead, will allow public use of the system whenever it is not being used by staff or scheduled by another user. Of the 12 LDDs with known in-house videoconferencing systems, all (100%) maintain H.320 compliant systems. As explained earlier, an H.320 system permits the dial-up of any other H.320 system, regardless of manufacturer or transmission speed. One LDD was unsure of the system manufacturer or the transmission speed/type of their system – thus it was not possible to determine whether this system was H.320 compliant. The remaining sites indicated that their systems used ISDN connections of various speeds (from 128 Kbs to 384 Kbs) with one LDD indicating that they connect via a T-1 circuit (1544 Kbs). © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 56
  • 61. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Equipment Manufacturers VComm 8% GE 8% PictureTel 61% unknown 8% V-Tel 15% Figure 35 - LDD In-House Equipment Manufacturers 4. LDDs that use Videoconferencing Elsewhere Several districts indicated that they do not maintain a videoconferencing system in their organization, however, have an occasional need for this capability and go elsewhere to use it. The majority of LDDs (27 of 42, or 64%) without in-house videoconferencing systems that use videoconferencing elsewhere reported that the primary reason for using it is for ARC training. It appears that the sessions offered by the ARC are a major driver for videoconferencing use among the LDDs. Primary use of other systems Meetings 31% ARC Training 64% Seminars 5% Figure 36 - LDD Use of Videoconferencing Systems Elsewhere This group of LDDs was also asked how often they use videoconferencing. The overwhelming response to this question (0-2 times per year) was reported by 30 (72%) of © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 57
  • 62. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey the 42 qualifying LDDs. 9 (21%) reported using videoconferencing (3-10 times per year), 2 (5%) reported using it (10 or more times per year), and only 1 (2%) did not respond. Other System Frequency of Use 3-10 times/year 21% 10+ times/year 5% 0-2 times/year 72% unknown 2% Figure 37 - LDD Frequency of Use of Videoconferencing Systems Elsewhere These LDDs were also asked if a fee was charged to use videoconferencing facilities which they employ for these sessions. The responses to this question varied widely from nominal room fees of $50.00 up to $500.00 which included use of the facility all day and technical support. Many LDDs were unsure if they were charged a fee to use a videoconferencing system. As the responses to this question were based on individual experiences, there is no fee comparison in this section. 5. LDDs that do not use Videoconferencing The remaining LDDs in this study were found not to use videoconferencing at all. 16 LDDs fell into this category, and were asked their reasons for not using the technology. Only 25% of the respondents indicated that videoconferencing facilities and/or the telecommunications technologies that support videoconferencing were unavailable in their geographic region. The remaining 75% indicated that they had no need for videoconferencing, the technology was too challenging from a technical perspective or too expensive. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 58
  • 63. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Reasons for not using a system Not Available 25% Too Challenging 19% No Need 43% Too Expensive 13% Figure 38 - LDD Reasons for Not Using Videoconferencing This group was then asked to classify their level of knowledge of videoconferencing. Of the 16 LDDs that fell into this category, 0 (0%) reported "thorough knowledge"; 8 (49%) reported "some knowledge"; 6 (38%) reported "little knowledge"; 0 (0%) reported "no knowledge"; and 2 (%) did not respond to this question. Level of Knowledge Little Knowledge 38% Some Knowledge 49% No Response 13% Figure 39 - LDD (non-using) Knowledge Level of Videoconferencing These LDDs were also asked if they would use videoconferencing if it were made available to them. Of the 16 LDDs, 8 (50%) answered that they would use videoconferencing; 4 (25%) said they would not; 3 (19%) said "possibly"; and 1 (6%) did not answer. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 59
  • 64. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Would you use videoconferencing if available to you? No 25% Maybe 19% Yes 50% No Response 6% Figure 40 - LDD (non-using) Potential of Using Videoconferencing 6. Key Observations As with the public sites, several general themes emerged from a top level analysis of the LDD survey data. Each is identified below for further treatment in the Analysis and Recommendations sections of this report. • Over ¾ (77%) of the LDDs in the Appalachian Region currently use videoconferencing. • The majority (59%) of the LDDs do not have their own in-house videoconferencing systems, but use public videoconferencing facilities located elsewhere – making the outcome of the public videoconferencing site analysis important. • Of the LDDs that do maintain their own videoconferencing systems, at least 60% use H.320 compliant systems. • LDDs that do have videoconferencing facilities use them fairly regularly on an occasional use basis. 77% of the LDDs that have videoconferencing in-house indicated they use the systems more than 3 times per month. • The LDDs that use public videoconferencing facilities located elsewhere use videoconferencing far less frequently with 72% indicating they use videoconferencing 1- 2 times per year and 93% indicating they use it less than 10 times per year. • Training and workshops offered by the Appalachian Regional Commission account for a significant percentage of the usage of the LDD’s videoconferencing systems. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 60
  • 65. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey • Of the LDDs that do not currently use videoconferencing, 75% indicated reasons other than the unavailability of telecommunications and videoconferencing technology. The knowledge and understanding of videoconferencing technology and applications is limited and may be due to a lack of exposure to the technology. Only one half of this group indicated that they would use videoconferencing if given to them and available for free. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 61
  • 66. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 4 - Analysis A. Appalachia, Videoconferencing and the Digital Divide As we enter the 21st century, it is becoming clear that the nation and the world's economies will be information-based economies. The explosive growth of the internet and other communications technologies clearly point to a future based upon information technologies as the driving force behind any successful economic position in the 21st Century. In 1950, 73% of US employees worked in production or manufacturing. Now, less than 15% of U.S. employees are involved in manufacturing processes. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that at least 44% of all workers this year will be in information technology services industries. The ability of a region to compete economically will largely depend upon the ability of the region to establish the critical infrastructure required for e-commerce and technology- mediated access to the rest of the world. While this study examines only a narrow slice of one aspect of telecommunications services (videoconferencing) in Appalachia, it is illustrative of the challenges that lie ahead for the Appalachian Region as a whole in the new century. Traditionally, areas of high economic distress have been deprived of many of the advancements that have taken place in telecommunications technology and infrastructure. Companies have focused telecommunications infrastructure development dollars in the high population urban areas where a better return on investment is likely. From a historical perspective, technology developments like telephone services and television broadcasting reached the most rural geographic regions last. Often government initiatives and public-private sector agreements were required to extend services outward into the remote regions of the United States, to promote the concept of “universal service”. A recognition of the critical value of some telecommunications services for the purposes of safety (i.e. universal telephone service and 911) or education (the federal E-rate discount for telecommunications services for schools and libraries) persists today. Despite best efforts, inequities exist and will always exist for rural areas where telecommunications is concerned. It is evident to one extent or another in virtually all parts of Appalachia and rural America. The Myers Group has conducted several other studies in which the lack of available telecommunications services has been cited as a deterrent to development or has, at minimum, precluded certain classes of industry from developing. In the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, for example, the extremely poor coverage for cellular telecommunications services was highly correlated with a general lack of understanding of wireless services among residents. There was also indication of a general avoidance of the © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 62
  • 67. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey area by travelers and truckers, who preferred to take longer routes around the region to remain in wireless contact with the rest of the world.4 The importance of telecommunications in economic development was also demonstrated in a recent survey of relocation and site selection consultants, who assist companies with identifying suitable areas to locate operations.5 Telecommunications infrastructure and service availability was cited as a critical need and essential factor in the evaluation of an area for relocation. Survey respondents also indicated that they often assume that economically distressed rural locations do not have sufficient telecommunications infrastructure available and thus are never considered in the evaluation process. In Appalachia, like other parts of the country, the degree of economic distress of geographic locations varies. Recent analysis of the 406 counties within the ARC region, based on the Appalachian Regional Commission's 1998 definitions of economic development levels, indicate that 108 counties are designated distressed because of high rates of poverty and unemployment and low rates of per capita market income compared to national averages. These distressed counties are dispersed unevenly throughout Appalachia, with some states having no distressed counties and others having a large percentage. The table below indicates the percentage of Appalachian Counties within each state that are designated as distressed. State Field Total ARC Total Distressed Percentage of Distressed Counties in State Counties Counties within Appalachian Region Alabama 37 3 8% Georgia 37 1 3% Kentucky 50 40 80% Maryland 3 0 0% Mississippi 22 13 59% New York 14 0 0% North Carolina 29 2 7% Ohio 29 9 31% 4 Cellular Telecommunications Service Analysis: Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission, May, 2000. 5 Telecommunications Analysis, Southern Tier West Economic Planning & Development Board, August, 2000. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 63
  • 68. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Pennsylvania 51 2 4% South Carolina 6 0 0% Tennessee 50 10 20% Virginia 23 5 22% West Virginia 55 26 47% Total Appalachian 406 111 27% Region In this section, an examination of the level of access to videoconferencing in Appalachia is presented from several perspectives. The concept of “access” to videoconferencing is difficult to define because it is multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and dynamic. • It is multi-faceted in that it can be examined from many different perspectives, such as the perspective of regional populations (how many people can have access to a given videoconferencing site?), a geographic perspective (how easily can people reach a given videoconferencing site?), etc. • It is multi-dimensional in that the degree of access varies greatly. In one county there may be one videoconferencing site for every 5000 people; in another, the ratio may be one videoconferencing site to every 50,000 people. • It is dynamic in that the technologies are constantly evolving, creating new and cheaper alternatives for videoconferencing and allowing for the use of new modes of communication that previously were unavailable for videoconferencing (such as the internet and virtual private networks). In this section, an attempt has been made to examine access to videoconferencing from these various perspectives. Areas of economic distress are central to the examination presented here. Where possible, comparisons have been made to illustrate differences and evaluate the degree of technological inequity within Appalachia. B. Access to Videoconferencing in Distressed Counties When examining the issue from a broad perspective, it is apparent that an inverse relationship exists between the relative concentration of distressed counties within each state and the relative concentration of videoconferencing sites. The chart below demonstrates this relationship. The bars on the left-hand portion of the chart reflect the average number of videoconferencing sites per Appalachian-county by state © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 64
  • 69. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey – providing a gage of the relative concentration of videoconferencing sites in each state. The bars on the right-hand portion of the chart reflect the relative concentration of distressed Appalachian counties within each state, as reflected in the chart above. States like Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania have a high concentration of videoconferencing sites, but very few or no distressed counties, while states like Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia have a very low concentration of video sites, but a very high concentration of distressed counties. Appalachian Regional Commission Average Number of Videoconferencing Sites per County vs. Percentage of Distressed Counties within State Alabama Georgia Kentucky Maryland Mississippi New York North Carolina Ohio Pennsylvania South Carolina Tennessee Virginia West Virginia 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Average # of Videoconferencing Percentage of ARC Counties Sites per County Considered Distressed in State Figure 41- Comparison of Sites per County and Distressed Counties While this is helpful in gaining a broad view of the problem of access to videoconferencing in the distressed counties, additional insight is needed to gain a fuller understanding of the intricacies of the access question. The following examines differences in videoconferencing access of the economically distressed Appalachian counties when compared with those counties that are not designated as distressed. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 65
  • 70. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 1. Persons per Videoconferencing Site One measure that can be used to examine access to videoconferencing is by specifying the number of persons per public videoconferencing site for a particular defined geographic region. For this analysis, the 406 Appalachian counties and their associated populations were used as a benchmark to determine the relative distribution of public videoconferencing sites per person living in Appalachia. Population estimates were obtained from the Population Estimates Program, Population Division, United States Census Bureau (release date: March 9, 2000). The chart below represents the number of persons per videoconferencing site within the Appalachian region of each state for non-distressed counties (column 1) and distressed counties (column 2). The third column is intended to demonstrate the relationship between these two numbers by showing the percentage increase of persons to videoconferencing sites for distressed counties. Note: Many of these percentages are negative numbers, indicating that there are actually more persons per site in non-distressed counties than in distressed counties in several states. Perhaps contrary to what would be expected, many of the distressed counties have a better person to videoconferencing site ratio than non-distressed counties. The state-wide analyses of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania all indicate that, in general, there are more people to videoconferencing sites in non-distressed counties in these states than in the distressed counties. The trend is reversed in Tennessee (rather significantly), Virginia and West Virginia. Taken as a whole, the Appalachian region has approximately 15% more persons per site in distressed counties than in non-distressed counties. For example, in Jefferson County, Alabama (the greater Birmingham area) there were 17 public videoconferencing sites identified – translating to 1 videoconferencing site per 38,672 persons. If access is defined only from the perspective of the number of persons served by county (as presented in the chart above), it would follow that any county with a ratio less than 38,672 persons per 1 videoconferencing site would have better access than Birmingham. However, more than 88% of the counties in Appalachia designated as distressed have a county-wide population of less than 38,672. While there may be an initial inclination to perceive that some distressed counties provide greater access to videoconferencing than non-distressed counties, it is important to place the analysis within context. A more in-depth examination of the dynamics of these relationships reveals that this is most probably not the case. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 66
  • 71. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey In the more populated urban areas of Appalachia (such as Knoxville, Pittsburgh, etc.), there are more people (of course) and, in general, more videoconferencing sites to serve this population. This ratio is one-dimensional, however, and becomes less meaningful when a broader definition of “access” is employed. No one would deny that the level of access to videoconferencing facilities in Birmingham is at a minimum satisfactory – more than likely access would be described as quite good. The analysis highlights the need for a broader definition of access that takes into account the geographic distribution and relative concentration of videoconferencing sites. State Persons per Persons per Percentage Increase of Videoconferencing Videoconferencing Persons per Site in Site (Non-distressed Site (Distressed Distressed vs. Non- Counties) Counties) distressed Counties Alabama 35,055 12,178 -65% Georgia 19,255 4,841 -75% Kentucky 22,430 15,608 -30% Maryland 6,343 N/A N/A Mississippi 21,363 17,140 -20% New York 7,823 N/A N/A North Carolina 41,003 19,950** (-51%) Ohio 33,315 24,853 -25% Pennsylvania 9,199 8,448 -8% South Carolina 62,165 N/A N/A Tennessee 34,224 83,508 144% Virginia 11,077 13,794 25% West Virginia 23,511 36,521 55% Total ARC 15,995 18,393 15% Region ** In the two distressed counties of North Carolina, there are no (quantity of 0) videoconferencing sites. This figure represents the entire population of these counties. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 67
  • 72. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Persons per Videoconferencing Site 90,000 Legend Distressed Counties 80,000 Non-Distressed Counties 70,000 60,000 Population 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 Tennessee West Virginia Ohio North Carolina Total ARC Region Mississippi Kentucky Virginia Alabama Pennsylvania Georgia South Carolina New York Maryland State Figure 42 - Site Distribution Among Populations of Distressed and Non-Distressed Counties *Note: South Carolina, New York, and Maryland have no Distressed Counties within the ARC Region. 2. Square Mileage Analysis To fail to account for the geographic concentration of videoconferencing facilities is to fail to account for the primary benefit of videoconferencing – to eliminate the need for travel and to break down the barriers of geography. If one has to travel several hours to reach a videoconferencing site to conduct business with an organization that is several hours away, then why use the technology? Why not meet face-to-face? In order for the true value of videoconferencing to be realized, the facilities to be used must be close-by. This is central to measuring the “divide” in access between economically distressed rural areas and economically stable populated regions. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 68
  • 73. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey In Appalachia, geography presents an even greater barrier to access than other areas of the country. The region is mountainous and rural with a great number of secondary roads. Along with the lack of telecommunications infrastructure, the region is lacking the transportation infrastructure of other more urban areas. Additionally, weather is often inclement, with northern areas experiencing high lake effect snowfall and central areas experiencing icing conditions during winter months. In an attempt to evaluate the relative dispersion of public videoconferencing sites and geographic relationships, the square mileage of counties was used as a benchmark measure. The analysis provides excellent insight to the geographic concentration of sites in Appalachia. Square mileage readings of each of the 406 counties of Appalachia were taken and compared with the number of videoconferencing sites within each county. Square mileage was obtained from ArcView GIS, in standard geographic datasets provided by Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI). It is important to note that the analysis is conducted at the county level and therefore does not account for videoconferencing sites that may be near the border of an adjacent county. Thus this analysis does not provide the detail of Map 1 in this report which reflects sites by zip code – but rather reflects the less detailed view provided in Map 2 which reflects sites by county. The chart below represents the relative concentration of videoconferencing sites using square mileage per videoconferencing site as the basis for the analysis. The square miles per videoconferencing site for non-distressed counties (column 1) and distressed counties (column 2) are presented by state. The greater the number (of square miles per site), the greater the geographic distance between sites – implying an inferior access to videoconferencing. The third column is intended to demonstrate the relationship in concentration of videoconferencing sites by showing the percentage increase of square miles to videoconferencing sites for distressed counties over non-distressed counties. Note that all but one of these percentages are positive numbers, indicating that there are more square miles per site (a low concentration of videoconferencing sites) in distressed counties than in non-distressed counties in virtually all states, with the exception of Georgia. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 69
  • 74. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey State Square Miles per Square Miles per Percentage Increase of Videoconferencing Videoconferencing Square Miles per Site in Site (Non-distressed Site (Distressed Distressed vs. Non- Counties) Counties) distressed Counties Alabama 311 435 40% Georgia 104 94 -10% Kentucky 209 265 27% Maryland 44 N/A N/A Mississippi 333 445 34% New York 88 N/A N/A North Carolina 319 851 167% Ohio 286 361 26% Pennsylvania 59 63 7% South Carolina 249 N/A N/A Tennessee 249 1760 607% Virginia 204 215 5% West Virginia 228 774 239% Total ARC 124 345 178% Region ** In the two distressed counties of North Carolina, there are no (quantity of 0) videoconferencing sites. This figure represents the entire square mileage of these counties. Using geography as the benchmark for measurement, the differences are startling. The analysis clearly demonstrates the lack of access to videoconferencing in the less populated and disadvantaged regions of Appalachia when examined on the basis of geography. Appalachian Region-wide, there are approximately 178% more square miles per videoconferencing site in distressed areas than in non-distressed areas. In short, the videoconferencing sites that are available in distressed counties are few and far between – dispersed thinly over a significant geographic expanse. While the population in many of these remote regions is small, it is a population of individuals who are denied © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 70
  • 75. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey access to the benefits of videoconferencing. The reason they do not have access corresponds to where they live and the relative economic condition of their county. Square Mileage per Videoconferencing Site 1800 Legend Distressed Counties 1600 Non-Distressed Counties 1400 1200 Square Miles 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Tennessee North Carolina West Virginia Mississippi Alabama Ohio Total ARC Region Kentucky Virginia Georgia Pennsylvania South Carolina New York Maryland State The graph below provides a comparison of the results of the previous two analyses on a Figure 43 - Square Mileage per Videoconferencing Site state-by-state basis. It graphically demonstrates the percentage increase of distressed over non-distressed counties in both number of persons per site and square miles per site as reflected in the previous charts. Using sites per person as a benchmark, there may be those that would question the divide between the have and have-nots in rural and urban settings where videoconferencing is concerned. Indeed, there is a degree of equity between the number of videoconferencing sites available and the number of people who can use those sites throughout the Appalachian Region. However, the comparison below highlights the impropriety of arguments that equate access to videoconferencing in such a one-dimensional fashion. When a broader definition of access is employed, inclusive of the essential geographic factors, the inequity of access is apparent. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 71
  • 76. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey West Virginia (Distressed 47%) Virginia (Distressed 22%) Tennessee (Distressed 20%) Pennsylvania (Distressed 4%) Ohio (Distressed 31%) North Carolina (Distressed 7%) Mississippi (Distressed 59%) Percentage increase in Distressed Kentucky Counties over Non-distressed Counties (Distressed 80%) in Square Miles per Site Percentage increase in Distressed Georgia Counties over Non-distressed Counties (Distressed 3%) in Persons per Site Alabama (Distressed 8%) -50% 0% 50% 100% 150% 200% 250% 300% 610% Figure 44 - Percentage Increase in Distressed Counties over Non-Distressed Counties (Square Mileage and Population) © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 72
  • 77. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey C. Access to Videoconferencing by Population The trends identified in the previous analyses hold true when the data is examined strictly from the perspective of county population as well. The Appalachian counties, region-wide were categorized into one of five groupings based on population in an attempt to gain insight into the general role of population size, without regard to the relative level of economic distress of each county. The following groupings were established: 1. Counties with greater than 200,000 people 2. Counties with 90,000 to 200,000 people 3. Counties with 30,000 to 89,999 people 4. Counties with 10,000 to 29,999 people 5. Counties with less than 10,000 people These categories were established somewhat arbitrarily, according to no guidelines except to create a fairly even distribution of counties with similar population characteristics. The graphs below demonstrate the differences between persons per videoconferencing site and square miles per videoconferencing site. As in the analyses of the distressed and non- distressed counties above, there is a clear correlation between county population and square miles per site. As in the previous analyses, persons per videoconferencing site shows little variance with fewer individuals per site in the counties with less than 10,000 people. Persons per Videoconferencing Site (All Counties) 25,000 20,000 Persons per Site 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 >200,000 90,000 to 30,000 to 10,000 to <10,000 199,999 89,999 29,999 County Population Category Figure 45 - Comparison of the average number of people per videoconferencing site based on county population categories © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 73
  • 78. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey As discussed previously, this lack of variance is primarily a factor of the dynamics of the population numbers in these counties rather than a true reflection of the level of access (as explained previously). The graph below presents the geographic concentration of sites based on square mileage based on county population. The differences between populated and non-populated regions are striking. When compared with populated counties (above 200,000 persons), counties with 10,000 persons or less have 1,523% more square miles per site – counties with 10,000 to 30,000 persons have 1,374% more square miles per site. This again demonstrates the extent to which videoconferencing facilities are geographically unavailable in the less populated rural areas of Appalachia. Square Mileage per Videoconferencing Site (All Counties) 600 500 400 Square Miles 300 200 100 0 >200,000 90,000 to 199,999 30,000 to 89,999 10,000 to 29,999 <10,000 County Population Category Figure 46 - Comparison of the average square mileage per videoconferencing site based on county population categories It is important to note that because of the concentrations of distressed counties, it is not possible to control for the “distress” variable in this analysis – and thus examine population in isolation. While distressed and non-distressed counties are grouped together into their appropriate population category, generally speaking, as the population goes down, the number of distressed counties goes up as evidenced in chart below. Nonetheless, the evaluation confirms the results of the previous analysis – that the less populated, rural counties have fewer videoconferencing systems that are located geographically farther apart from one another than more populated regions. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 74
  • 79. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Percentage of Distressed Percentage of Non- Counties distressed Counties >200,000 0% 100% 90,000 to 200,000 3% 97% 30,000 to 89,999 14% 86% 10,000 to 29,999 43% 57% <10,000 50% 50% D. Organization Types In addition to comparing the general distribution of videoconferencing sites across the Appalachian Region, the concentration of the various industry sectors that maintain public videoconferencing sites was assessed based on the sector definitions described in Section 3 of this report. The results are summarized in the charts below. As expected, the number of business-related commercial sites drops off in distressed counties when compared with non-distressed counties. This is undoubtedly due to a number of factors including the fact that there is simply fewer industries in the distressed areas, telecommunications facilities to support videoconferencing are less available and the type of industries located in distressed economic areas are less likely to have a need for videoconferencing. Also to be expected, business outreach centers are limited in less populated areas when compared with urban areas. Commercial sites that rent videoconferencing facilities for profit have far less of an opportunity to sell videoconferencing services in these areas. What is even more interesting is that all of the business-related videoconferencing systems (4 of a total of 140 systems in the distressed counties make up the 3%) are associated with one organization in one location. Big Sandy Telecommuting Services, Inc. (BSTSI) of Pikeville, Kentucky in Pike County is listed as having four systems in this one location. If this one organization is removed from the equation, the distressed counties are left with no (quantity 0) business-related videoconferencing sites throughout the entire Appalachian Region. While these results are not surprising, it does underscore the fact that videoconferencing will most probably not be developed by the private sector in the distressed counties. If access in © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 75
  • 80. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey these counties is established, it will be up to the other sectors (education, government and health care) to develop videoconferencing facilities and services. Organization Types of Videoconferencing Sites within Distressed Counties Government 7% Education 80% Health 10% Business 3% Figure 47 - Organization Types of Videoconferencing Sites within Distressed Counties Organization Type of Videoconferencing Sites in Non- Distressed Counties Government 9% Education Health 67% 11% Business 13% Figure 48 - Organization Types of Videoconferencing Sites within Non-Distressed Counties © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 76
  • 81. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey E. Areas Where Videoconferencing Does Not Exist A total of 119 of the 406 counties (29%) of the Appalachian Region were identified as having no videoconferencing facilities at all (quantity 0). As in the other analyses, there is a direct correlation between population and whether or not videoconferencing facilities exist. As graph below depicts, the percentage of counties without videoconferencing facilities rises sharply as the population of counties decreases. This again confirms that the counties with smaller populations (and a higher level of distress by correlation) have less access to videoconferencing than those counties with larger populations. Well over a third (40%) of the counties in Appalachia identified as having no (quantity 0) videoconferencing facilities are distressed counties. Percentage of Counties with no Videoconferencing Sites 70% 60% 50% Percentage of Counties 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% >200,000 90,000 to 199,999 30,000 to 89,999 10,000 to 29,999 <10,000 County Population Category Figure 49 - Percentage of Counties with No Videoconferencing Sites Based on the survey data, the breakdown of counties without videoconferencing varies widely from state-to-state, with Alabama and Maryland with all of their Appalachian counties having at least one videoconferencing facility and West Virginia with 64% of its counties lacking videoconferencing. Region-wide in Appalachia, approximately 29% of the 406 counties do not have any identified known videoconferencing facilities. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 77
  • 82. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Percentage of Total Counties without Videoconferencing 70% 60% 50% Percentage 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% New York Ohio Maryland Georgia Virginia Mississippi Alabama Tennessee Pennsylvania North Carolina West Virginia Kentucky South Carolina Total ARC REgion State Figure 50 - Percentage of Total Counties without Videoconferencing To gain insight into the impact this has on communities, the population of individuals without videoconferencing in their counties was assessed on a state-by-state basis. While in many states the number of persons without videoconferencing within their county is quite small (such as Alabama 0%, Maryland 0%, New York 2%, Pennsylvania 1%), in other states, a very significant portion of the population appears to be without videoconferencing in their home county (such as Mississippi 24%, North Carolina 29%, Tennessee 23% and West Virginia 37%). Region-wide in Appalachia, approximately 2.6 million people (12% of the population) do not have videoconferencing within their home county. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 78
  • 83. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Population Percentage without Videoconferencing 40% Population Percentage 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% South Carolina Pennsylvania North Carolina Total ARC Region Alabama Maryland Georgia Tennessee New York Virginia West Virginia Kentucky Ohio Mississippi State Figure 51 - Percentage of Population without Videoconferencing Facilities in their County F. Local Development Districts In an attempt to understand how the availability of videoconferencing may effect usage by the Local Development Districts, information pertaining to LDD use of videoconferencing was compared with the information presented in the analyses above. The graph below shows the relative availability of videoconferencing within each territory by categorizing LDDs into one of three groups: Those LDDs that have 5 or more videoconferencing facilities within their region, those that have 2-5 videoconferencing facilities and those that have 2 sites or fewer. For each of these groupings, an assessment was made for the percentage of LDDs that own their own in-house videoconferencing facilities, the percentage that use videoconferencing facilities elsewhere and the percentage that do not use videoconferencing at all. The evidence seems to suggest that there may be a linkage between the LDDs’ understanding of the value of videoconferencing and the availability of the technology in each region – however, there does not seem to be a direct correlation between actual use of videoconferencing and availability of the technology. The graph on the following page demonstrates this point. Notice that in areas where public videoconferencing is widely available (5 or more sites within the LDD territory) a large © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 79
  • 84. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey percentage of the LDDs (67%) own their own in-house videoconferencing equipment. This is in spite of the fact that public videoconferencing facilities may be close by and available for rent on an as needed basis. In fact, only 27% of LDDs in these areas indicated that they used videoconferencing elsewhere. It would be expected that in areas where public videoconferencing facilities are less available (2-5 sites within each LDD territory and 2 or less sites within each LDD territory), the use of these public facilities would be reduced and the ownership of video equipment would be higher. This is not the case. In fact, the use of videoconferencing facilities elsewhere is extremely high (73% for LDD’s with 2-5 sites in their territory and 67% for LDD’s with 2 or less sites in their territory) and the ownership of in-house equipment drops significantly. As expected, in areas where videoconferencing is unavailable (LDD’s with 2 or fewer sites in their territory) the percentage of LDDs that do not use videoconferencing at all is quite high (31%) when compared with the other groups (9% for LDDs with 2-5 sites and 7% for LDDs with 5 or more sites). 100% 90% 80% Own In-house 70% Videoconferencing 60% System Use Videoconferencing 50% Elsewhere 40% 30% No Use of 20% Videoconferencing 10% 0% LDDs w ith 2 LDDs w ith LDDs w ith 5 or Less 2-5 Sites in or More Sites in Territory Sites in Territory Territory Figure 52 – Patterns of Videoconferencing Use in Among LDDs by Availability of Videoconferencing in the LDD Territory © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 80
  • 85. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey When the grouping of LDDs that own their own videoconferencing systems is examined and compared with those LDDs that use videoconferencing facilities elsewhere and those LDDs that do not use videoconferencing at all, the distinction is even more apparent. The graph below demonstrates that the LDDs that maintain their own videoconferencing equipment are located in areas that have a far greater number of videoconferencing facilities with their counties. While the study did not collect data as to why this is the case, it would follow that these LDDs have much more exposure to videoconferencing and perhaps have a better understanding of the benefits of the technology. It also may be that there are a greater number of organizations that are local to these LDDs that also maintain videoconferencing equipment. Thus, these LDDs have more partners to communicate with via videoconferencing, adding further to the value of the equipment. Average Sites per County 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 In-house Use Elsewhere No Use Figure 53 – Average Sites per County vs. Patterns of Use © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 81
  • 86. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 5 - Recommendations The recommendations in this section are derived from the information that The Myers Group collected and evaluated for this study, the assessment of this data, as well as our insights into the regulatory, economic, social and technological climate at this time. The overarching goal of implementing these recommendations is to set in motion an aggressive, irreversible dynamic in each county and for the Appalachian Region as a whole; one in which an enhanced videoconferencing infrastructure leads to increased videoconferencing usage and development which, in turn, encourages additional videoconferencing development. Critical success factors include communication, cooperation, and teamwork among organizations and agencies, public and private alike. While the focus of these recommendations is on videoconferencing technology, many apply to telecommunications technology in general. Specific to videoconferencing, the LDDs and the ARC must focus on activities that capitalize on the potential of the medium for addressing specific communications needs and/or solving specific communications problems. This of course assumes that interactive video technology can add value in accomplishing this. The results of this study suggest that it can – particularly when examining the LDDs that use videoconferencing technology on a regular basis. It can be inferred from this group of LDDs that the level of use of videoconferencing corresponds directly to the practical value of the technology in solving specific communications problems or satisfying specific requirements for communicating with outside entities. For example, several LDDs in the state of Pennsylvania that use videoconferencing frequently mentioned regular videoconferences with foreign companies that are part of an international export program. Another LDD indicated use of the system 3 to 4 days a week for a variety of purposes including a court reporting class via distance learning. In almost all cases, LDDs that use their systems far less often (a few times a year) could not site specific examples in their responses, but instead provided general answers such as, “for meetings” or “for training”. This is consistent with The Myers Group’s experiences with other organizations. Among organizations that use videoconferencing, if there is not a very specific application (or set of applications) that drive the use of the equipment, then the equipment will more than likely sit idle. Often there is a perception or an expectation on the part of organizations that the technology itself will provide the applications and desired value. This line of thought is not inconsistent with other technology acquisitions. For example, one has certain expectations when obtaining a subscription to cable television. The value is understood and no additional work beyond installing the service is required. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 82
  • 87. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Videoconferencing is far different, however, in that what is being purchased is not a service, but a tool. Just as one would not purchase a power saw without a specific problem to solve (i.e. cutting boards to build a house), so too should an organization not acquire videoconferencing without specific application, or set of applications in mind (i.e. weekly meetings with a development agency five counties away). Failure to make this distinction sets in motion a negative cycle that has implications for the level of use of the system and individuals’ perceptions of the technology. People who fail to understand videoconferencing technology as a tool tend to blame the equipment for not living-up to their expectations. They believe that by simply procuring the equipment the benefits and promise of videoconferencing for sharing information and collaborating with others will be theirs. In reality, the work has just begun – there is still a house to build. They have acquired the tool and now must apply the tool to achieve a desired outcome. It is our belief that much of this work is yet to be accomplished in this regard among the partners of this study. Until specific applications are identified and developed, the potential for collaboration, knowledge sharing, organizational efficiency and all the other benefits of videoconferencing will remain untapped. In our estimation, there are several interrelated themes where organizations in Appalachia should focus their attention and energies in order to bring about more and better videoconferencing services and capabilities. While many of the recommendations in this section address specific technical or organizational changes, equally important (if not more so) are the recommendations addressing changes in the basic thinking and approach of organizations regarding videoconferencing technology that are prerequisite to the successful implementation and sustained use of the technology. These factors are extremely difficult to address specifically because they involve changes to organizational culture, perception and understanding. While these aspects are not concrete, it is our vehement belief that they form the foundation for the continued creative use of the technology and will provide the seeds to spawn future development and program growth. Included among these themes are the following: • Organization and Communication Among LDDs and the ARC • Capitalizing on Competition and New Developments • Promotion of H.320 Equipment as a Standard for Interconnection • Targeting Videoconferencing Development A more detailed treatment for each of these recommendations follows. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 83
  • 88. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey A. Organization and Communication Among LDDs and the ARC Good planning and organization is the cornerstone of any telecommunications development initiative. It is also the foundation on which the success of the remaining recommendations in this section depends. Clear lines of communication must be established and opportunities must be discovered and/or created that utilize the unique features of videoconferencing in tearing down geographic barriers. Appropriate forums should be developed for the exchange of information so that videoconferencing users and potential users can discuss their needs and so that groups and individuals having common needs can be identified and begin working together. The idea is to create virtual coalitions of videoconferencing users, enabling the LDDs and other interested parties to easily find and/or develop videoconferencing opportunities – for training programs, regional economic development initiatives – any type of opportunity that may be enhanced by the inclusion of multiple outside parties. There must be an effort to reverse the trend in which organizations only operate within their limited geographic realm. More often than not, the challenges faced by one organization are the same challenges faced by others – or are challenges that have been wrestled and dealt with by others. The promise of videoconferencing and other information technologies is to create a medium by which this information may be shared, unencumbered by the barriers of geography. The challenge for LDDs and other organizations is to truly understand the potential of the medium and to leverage this power to bring about change. While clearly this understanding exists for some organizations, the results of this study suggest that others do not yet have a level of awareness of the potential of the technology – let alone the ability to develop programs and cultivate creative uses that will enhance its value. On a region-wide basis, the Appalachian Regional Commission has led the effort in the development and advancement of videoconferencing and telecommunications. Among these activities include the development and funding of many strategic telecommunications initiatives, the implementation of regional telecommunications projects, the creation of committees and working groups focusing on telecommunications, the sponsorship of conferences, workshops and other events – as well as the initiation and funding of studies such as this one. Indeed, the results of this study indicate that the ARC currently plays a significant role in videoconferencing usage among the LDDs. Approximately 62% (26 of 42) of the LDDs that currently use public videoconferencing facilities indicated that they do so, at least in part, to access ARC-produced training and programming. It is recommended that the ARC continue to play a direct and active role in developing programming utilizing videoconferencing technology, as appropriate – encouraging the use of the technology for overcoming the © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 84
  • 89. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey barriers of geography, travel and time. Increased exposure to the technology will promote increased awareness of videoconferencing technology, its applications, benefits and potential. Participation must be global, however, with a greater diversity of organizations contributing voices and ideas to increase the value of the partnership. One of the basic tenets of a network is that the value of the network is directly proportional to the number of users that can communicate on the network. It is recommended that the DDAA play a more direct role in the development of videoconferencing programming, for educational enrichment and ongoing communication to and among the Local Development Districts. Successful development of quality training and programs that use videoconferencing technology will require the organizational insights and leadership of the DDAA. Essential is the DDAA’s understanding of the big picture issues, challenges and day-to-day difficulties faced by the LDDs. Needed is coordination and leadership to organize and facilitate communication between the LDDs and to identify areas where videoconferencing can play a role. To these ends, The Myers Group recommends that the following actions be taken: Rethinking. Reengineering. – The LDDs, the DDAA and the ARC must begin to consider how technology – be it videoconferencing or other information technologies – may mitigate the current communications challenges faced today. While this is very broad, it will be the most difficult of these recommendations to implement. It will require thinking outside the box – rethinking everyday processes, overcoming long held habits and realizing that many things that have been assumed to be limitations are not necessarily limitations when today’s technology is applied creatively. When solving problems or planning, LDDs must begin to get in the habit of asking themselves: How can technology help? Are there other organizations, or other LDDs that are experiencing a similar situation that we could work with collaboratively via technology? LDD Awareness of Videoconferencing. – It was also apparent from our investigation of the LDDs that some LDD organizations do not have a good understanding of videoconferencing, including the applications in which the technology is used and the benefits. Clearly, this level of awareness is prerequisite to the action items discussed in this section. More than likely, this will be an on-going process, with a select group of pioneering organizations taking a leadership role in the development of content and other (less pioneering) organizations joining in later as they become aware of the use and demonstrated benefits of technology-mediated communications. As stated above, it is recommended that the DDAA take an active role in promoting awareness through example – by developing training and other programs to be delivered via videoconferencing. Awareness of videoconferencing and telecommunications in general needs to be promoted on an on-going basis. Inclusion of telecommunications issues within conferences and © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 85
  • 90. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey workshops as part of the topics of discussion is one avenue for promoting awareness. These events enable telecommunications users to network face-to-face and discuss telecommunications issues and needs. A good number of examples exist today. A recent conference sponsored by the Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board (Western New York), “Gateway to the Millennium: Technological Applications for a Competitive Advantage”, is an excellent example of one such initiative. Create an Internet-based forum for sharing information. – A web page and/or a listserv, where information regarding videoconferencing opportunities and telecommunications can be posted electronically, are other avenues to pursue. Such initiatives would be a big step toward facilitating an information exchange for videoconferencing users to communicate with one another on a daily basis. Such a forum would allow LDD organizations, the DDAA and the ARC to provide descriptions of videoconferencing activities that they are developing, post requests for participants for these programs and provide a medium for geographically dispersed organizations to work together to develop videoconferencing activities. Additionally, organizations may ask for technical help or post general comments to the participating organizations. Internet forums already exist and are frequently used among the LDDs, DDAA and ARC. Topics related to videoconferencing or programs delivered via videoconferencing may be able to be incorporated into the existing ARC web page or the existing listserve that currently serves the LDDs, DDAA and ARC for little or no additional cost. B. Capitalizing on Competition and New Developments The telecommunications landscape is intensely dynamic at this point in history. Technological innovation, heated competition, unprecedented demands for bandwidth from users and improved pricing for equipment and services have created more opportunities and pitfalls for organizations than ever before. The successful navigation of this stormy sea holds great promise for securing the necessary infrastructure and obtaining competitive pricing for videoconferencing. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and other deregulatory initiatives have opened the door for increased competition in the telecommunications market. New players have emerged who are now challenging the incumbent service providers with cheaper and more advanced services in markets that used to be the domain of monopolistic carriers. Most significant are competitive developments in the local exchange. Until very recently, local telephone companies had a lock on the areas that they served. Today, there is more competition than ever, with new companies able to provide the circuits employed for © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 86
  • 91. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey videoconferencing in many regions. In addition, regulation now requires the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) to allow competitors to resell RBOC phone services and to open their central offices to competitors for the co-location of equipment. In the later scenario, competing companies physically locate and interconnect their own telecommunications equipment with the RBOC’s equipment, allowing them to lease portions of the RBOC’s network cost effectively. Doing this allows the competitor to lease the portions of the network that would be cost prohibitive to build, establish a customer base and generate revenue to further build out their own network infrastructure. There are many examples of these competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) in Appalachia. NewSouth Communications, for example, maintains telecommunications facilities in Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama; Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee; Greenville, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. Another company, US LEC, has deployed advanced telecommunications switches (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) in Birmingham, Pittsburgh and Chattanooga. Both of these companies compete directly with the incumbent local exchange providers, Bell South and Verizon (formerly Bell Atlantic). While competition in the local exchange has not yet reached many regions of rural Appalachia, the affects of competition are significant in the areas where it has. In some cases, new services that support videoconferencing, such as ISDN, DSL and high speed internet connections have become available. The increased service options have prompted defensive responses from incumbent carriers, forcing them to upgrade services and lower prices. Competition in the regional toll and long distance markets is now well established and has had significant effects on lowering the cost of long distance calls. This too effects switched videoconferencing calls (via ISDN), lowering overall usage costs. In addition to falling service costs, the one-time equipment costs have also dropped dramatically in the last several years. The introduction of new technology, stiffer competition and a range of scalable options, from small set-top boardroom systems to larger roll-about systems, have allowed organizations implement cost-effective videoconferencing solutions. With this in mind, The Myers Group recommends the following: Reevaluate Telecommunications Services and Videoconferencing – For organizations that maintain videoconferencing systems, the time is ripe to reconsider existing telecommunications services, including services dedicated for videoconferencing. Organizations that have not implemented videoconferencing because the telecommunications services needed to support the technology have not been available or because the cost of these services has been too high should also take a second look. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 87
  • 92. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Options such as those listed below have allowed for organizations to obtain the services needed in areas previously unable to be served and to do so at low cost. Extending ISDN coverage − ISDN, as explained earlier in the report, is an essential technology for supporting dial-up videoconferencing. While available in many areas, coverage is not ubiquitous, and in rural areas, more often than not it is unavailable. Locations in the territory of independent telephone companies (non-RBOC) are often denied access to ISDN services as are RBOC customers in many rural geographies. For these locations, there may be options available. Technically, it is possible to extend ISDN to these locations from a remote telephone company office that has the service. This requires that a type of circuit called a foreign exchange circuit be established and requires the cooperation of the two offices (which may or may not be part of the same company). If there are two different companies involved, agreements must be struck between the telephone companies and the costs generally will be higher than if a single company provided the service. Usually, however, telephone companies will work with customers to establish such special arrangements. For example, if a county office building in Georgia wished to use videoconferencing, but was unable to do so because ISDN circuits were not available from the small independent telephone company that served them; they may be able to negotiate with the company to have the service “brought-in” from the neighboring Bell South central office. Bell South and the independent telephone company would create a foreign exchange circuit, with each company charging for a portion of the line. Bell South would provide ISDN service to the site as if it were a part of its own geographic franchise area. Another option is to obtain ISDN through an interexchange (long distance) company. In this scenario, a company like AT&T, MCI or Sprint provides the ISDN service and extends it to the customer via a dedicated circuit such as a T-1. The T-1 circuit is provisioned by the local telephone company and provides the connection between the customer and the interexchange company. Jasper-Troupsburg Central School District in Jasper, New York, for example, uses a T-1 circuit to connect with AT&T in this manner. AT&T contracted with the local telephone company in Jasper, Citizens Communications, to provide the T-1 circuit. AT&T is able to lease the T-1 at their wholesale rate from Citizens Communications and supply ISDN service over this circuit to the school. Cooperative Bids − Another strategy for obtaining services and equipment at better costs is for multiple organizations to join together to bid for services or equipment. Most organizations maintain independent service plans with telecommunications companies or procure telecommunications equipment on their own. That means there is no continuity of © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 88
  • 93. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey services, and no means for taking advantage of economies of scale by combining telephone services across organizations or for joint purchasing equipment in larger quantities. Again, such collaborations can be quite valuable, but require good communication between organizations. As discussed previously, this level of communication may be facilitated via information technologies and videoconferencing. Another excellent option for many public organizations are state or municipal contracts for telecommunications equipment or services that public organizations can buy from. States will typically bid for services and equipment on behalf of all state agencies through the state Office of General Services (OGS) or Department of Administrative Services (DAS). A multitude of telecommunications equipment and services may be available. In New York State, for example, the following equipment and services related to videoconferencing are available through the New York State Office of General Services: • PictureTel videoconferencing equipment • Polycom videoconferencing equipment • VTEL videoconferencing equipment • SAFARI videoconferencing systems and services • Video teleconferencing system integration (multi-vendor contract) • Carrier Services (long distance, regional toll, ISDN) • Local Usage Services (including ISDN) • Internet Access Any municipal agency in New York that can purchase from the New York State OGS contract can subscribe to an ISDN service offered by AT&T operating at 384Kbs. This service is suitable for those organizations with needs for applications such as videoconferencing and is available for $104 per month, with an attractive usage charge. In addition to the low cost, the service can be extended to any location in New York State via a dedicated T-1 circuit (no charge in addition to the $104/month) regardless of the availability of ISDN or carrier (see Extending ISDN Coverage above). Similar contracts are available from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and many other states in the Appalachian Region. In other areas of Appalachia, organizations have used these techniques creatively to promote the betterment of the telecommunications infrastructure within their areas. For example, Golden Triangle Planning & Development District in Mississippi has positioned itself using telecommunications services available via the state as an internet service provider, extending services throughout its seven-county region. Similar initiatives, whether collaborative efforts on the part of multiple agencies or initiatives facilitated by a single agency, may be viable for extending services required for videoconferencing. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 89
  • 94. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey C. Promotion of H.320 Equipment as a Standard for Interconnection As discussed earlier in the report, all videoconferencing systems subscribe to a common set of standard technical specifications, so they can communicate with systems made by other manufacturers. These technical standards are equivalent to languages in the world of people. A videoconferencing device that employs a particular technical standard to communicate such as H.320, can only talk to other devices that use this same standard (speak this same language). H.320 has been by far the predominant standard to-date and it is the standard for point-to-point videoconferencing using the public switched network via ISDN or Switched 56. In the Appalachian Region, 60% to 90% of the videoconferencing systems identified were H.320 compliant devices, made by a variety of different manufacturers including PictureTel, VTEL, Polycom, etc. Because of the preponderance of H.320 sites across the region and the wide availability of public switched access facilities, it is the recommendation of the Myers Group that this standard be designated as the common platform for initiatives promoting interconnection of videoconferencing systems. This builds upon and reinforces the ARC’s current program of promoting technology and standards that allow for interconnection. We recommend that this policy be continued with H.320 being the standard for videoconferencing connectivity among sites. Although another standard, H.323, covering video communication via IP (Internet Protocol) is gaining in deployment, it is currently geared toward communication within private corporate networks and not widely available as a public use technology. This standard will undoubtedly gain in significance for public use when standards for the internet evolve allowing for guaranteed video quality. As of this writing, such standards do not exist and the public switched network, being ubiquitously available, is by far the most likely medium for the interoperability of the installed base of equipment in Appalachia. The study identified numerous large networks in Appalachia that currently do not employ the H.320 standard. Many use broadband technologies (including ATM and Motion JPEG) for applications requiring high quality video such as distance learning or telemedicine. Such networks are “closed-circuit”-type networks made up of a collection of sites that can only communicate with one another, but can not communicate with sites outside. For these networks, however, it is feasible to establish a shared gateway that is H.320 compliant that would be accessible by sites in these networks for dialing out, as explained in Section 3 and demonstrated in the figure on the following page. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 90
  • 95. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Site B CODEC Site A CODEC CODEC Site C CODEC Gateway CODEC Site D Public Telephone Network Remote Site CODEC Where it is practical and where there is a demonstrated need for interconnection to outside locations in “closed-circuit”-type networks, it is the recommendation of The Myers Group that these gateways be established. Creation of a shared gateway is an extremely cost-effective way of leveraging resources, opening-up the benefits of dial-up videoconferencing to a large number of locations with a single technology purchase. Several distance learning networks in New York State have established such gateways, including Luminet (a network of schools and other organizations administered by Broome- Tioga BOCES) and the Steuben-Allegany BOCES distance learning network. With gateways installed, these networks are able to run their independent schedule of distance learning © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 91
  • 96. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey classes via their closed-circuit fiber optic network and dial-out to other H.320 compliant devices when desired. The current configuration allows any site on either network to connect with any other site on either network – or dial-up any site in the world that uses H.320 compliant equipment. The ARC may play a role in funding these gateways where there is a demonstrated need and desire on the part of users to make educational programs, specialized training, etc. available in one network also available in another. Establishing gateways through the public switched telephone network is an excellent way to bridge the gaps between network “islands”. There are many different design scenarios for establishing H.320 gateways in dedicated networks, each dependent upon the network configuration, type of technology in place and the contract conditions negotiated with the carrier providing the service. For the purposes of estimating the cost for establishing such a gateway, the Myers Group has developed rough cost estimates based on one possible configuration of a network gateway for a broadband network. These costs are presented below: Description Cost Estimate Polycom Videoconferencing System $ 9,600 Sigma Video Routing System $ 900 Gentner Sound System / Amplifier / Router $ 1,100 Middle Atlantic Mounting Racks/Hardware $ 400 Installation/Integration/Programming $ 3,400 TOTAL $15,400 Again, these costs are only presented for the purposes of illustration. Actual costs will vary based on the types of equipment and services in place and the competitiveness of the pricing (approximate list pricing was used in the example above). For example, if a Primary Rate Interface (PRI) ISDN line provides the connection to the public switched network, then an inverse multiplexor (such as an Ascend T-1 Imux) may need to be added to the costs above (an addition of roughly $6,500). There are additional on-going costs with the establishment of a compressed video gateway as well. For the purposes of estimation, three ISDN BRI lines providing 384Kbs connectivity will cost, on average, $135 per month ($45 per line) plus usage. These costs will vary widely from one state to another and from one service provider to another however. Usage is typically equivalent to the normal business rate for a telephone call (add long distance charges if applicable) – multiplied by six (x6) for a 348Kbs videoconferencing session. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 92
  • 97. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey D. Targeting Videoconferencing Development This study has demonstrated that videoconferencing facilities are not dispersed ubiquitously throughout Appalachia, nor are they dispersed equitably. Gaps in telecommunications service availability exist, as do variations in the level of knowledge, understanding and need of the technology of the people of Appalachia. It is our belief that a videoconferencing development strategy that accounts for these elements is best suited for Appalachia. To these ends, The Myers Group recommends that initiatives centered on videoconferencing technology take into account the following: • Make Videoconferencing Site Information Widely Available • Focus on Shared Resources • Focus on High Need Areas • Focus on the Likelihood of Sustained Use Make Videoconferencing Site Information Widely Available – It is recommended that the information compiled in this study on known videoconferencing sites be made widely available, not only to the LDDs, but also to the public at large. Only with the active use of this information and the constant revision of the data will this study have lasting significance. Currently, the study provides a snapshot of a period of time of the videoconferencing facilities available in Appalachia; and as stated before, this information is only as complete as the returned survey responses received. The information is highly dynamic, changing constantly as organizations acquire new videoconferencing equipment and update existing systems. To best control, update and promote this information as a dynamic resource, it is recommended that each LDD maintain a portion of the database, relevant to their own counties, on their own local web sites. This model would distribute control and the responsibility for the upkeep of each web site to the organizations most familiar with the businesses and organizations within each local territory. It will allow each LDD to act as the broker for its area and create yet another attraction for local industries and organizations on the individual LDD web pages. It is also recommended that these web pages be created in such a manner that local businesses, schools, libraries, etc. can easily register and update their videoconferencing sites. For the LDDs, this will remove much of the burden of regularly surveying local organizations and updating the information. Ideally, each web page interface on all LDD web sites relating to videoconferencing will be the same, allowing for ease of navigation on the part of users. It is also recommended that an index of hyperlinks to LDD pages for videoconferencing be maintained on the web pages of both the ARC and the DDAA. Such an index could either be a stand-alone page or built © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 93
  • 98. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey into the ARC’s current page. In the later case, the ARC would simply incorporate additional hyperlinks in the “Local Development Districts in the Appalachian Region” pages of the current ARC web page. Creation of these LDD web pages may incorporate well into the work related to the Interactive Applications Group, Inc. (IAPPs) program currently underway in the LDD sites. It is our understanding that individual web pages are being created on behalf of the LDDs to provide a common interface and platform to facilitate the sharing of information between the organizations. Focus on Shared Resources – The economic benefits of sharing facilities are clear. In this section, we have already discussed the benefits of sharing a videoconferencing gateway among several organizations. From a technical perspective, it is not much different than sharing a printer on an office computer network. The value of the printer is increased because more people can gain access to it. Because a printer is not a device that is needed for large contiguous periods of time by any one person, it makes sense to share it with others so it does not sit idle. Videoconferencing systems are much the same way. Typically, sessions are short (one half to one hour on average) and not used in contiguous time blocks by an organization throughout the day. With this in mind, The Myers Group recommends that opportunities for sharing equipment be explored. In many areas of Appalachia, Business Outreach Centers and Community Access Centers have been established to assist local businesses and communities with basic services to assist in the economic development of regions. These organizations are known by several names including “Community Technology Centers” and “Neighborhood Networks” and funded through many different agencies including the ARC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and many others. Often included among the resources provided are services related to technology, such as computer usage/training and cooperative technology purchasing. The mission of these organizations dovetail with the intent of the recommendations of this report in that the sharing of technological resources is encouraged with a focus on modern technology to solve practical problems. Videoconferencing technology can be yet another tool in reaching out to establish new relationships with other businesses and in new markets. The ARC and other agencies may play a role in funding videoconferencing facilities in these centers in cases where there is value in bringing enhanced videoconferencing services to a region. These centers may be good targets in regions where videoconferencing facilities are lacking (see Maps 1 and 2 in Section 3). Focus on High Need Areas – In this report, areas in which significant gaps exist in videoconferencing services have been identified. As demonstrated, these regions tend to © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 94
  • 99. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey correspond with the relative level of economic distress. In the attached appendices, location- specific reports have been provided (by state and county). These reports provide additional insight to the availability of videoconferencing facilities in the region. As stated previously, the information represents a “best-effort” in compiling all information within the Appalachian Region. The information is only as complete as the number and thoroughness of completed surveys and the degree of cooperation of regional entities in helping to identify potential videoconferencing sites. The Myers Group is aware of some specific regions where the data compiled is questionable. It is clear to us that videoconferencing facilities in Tennessee and North Carolina are undercounted. In these cases, network administrators or officials were reluctant, or refused outright to share information regarding network sites. We believe that other states are also underrepresented due to low response rates to the videoconferencing survey. It is our firm belief that the LDDs in each area are best suited to track-down missing information and maintain videoconferencing information regarding their counties. Clearly the LDDs have an advantage over the ARC or an outside group in that there are established relationships and understandings within each region as well as a far greater familiarity with the local goings-on of these communities. Regardless, the information presented here should serve as a guide for the identification of areas in high need for videoconferencing technology. In the interest of promoting equity and bridging the digital divide in Appalachia, it is recommended that these high need areas be targeted for development provided that there are organizations in the area with a demonstrated need for the technology. Referring to the Organization Type maps of videoconferencing sites in Section 3 (Map 7, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E), it is clear that the representation of videoconferencing sites by sector dramatically differs from one to the next. Educational institutions offer the most equitable distribution of videoconferencing sites, but the concentration of business, government and health sites range greatly – each showing large gaps in services. Sector-specific strategies for developing videoconferencing may also be encouraged. For example, regional telemedicine networks or initiatives among hospitals may be encouraged through preferred grant funding in areas where services are lacking. Focus on the Likelihood of Sustained Use – Perhaps the most difficult challenge faced by those who wish to develop videoconferencing services is in gauging the potential for continued use of the technology by organizations. The essence of this recommendation boils down to the understanding of videoconferencing on the part of organizations that intend to use it; their understanding of what it is, and what it is not. As stated previously, it is imperative that organizations understand that videoconferencing is a tool and not a service that can stand on its own. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 95
  • 100. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Organizations that understand videoconferencing as a tool are able to clearly define a problem or a communications need and are able to articulate how videoconferencing can overcome the problem or satisfy the need. These organizations are able to point to very specific applications that drive the use of the equipment (i.e. weekly meetings with a specific agency for a specific project) and have well-organized procedures, policies and support structures to support the continued use of the technology. These organizations can demonstrate a broader context and strategy into which videoconferencing technology plays a role. They understand that videoconferencing is not going to solve problems – however the creative use of the technology may. Organizations that do not understand videoconferencing will often talk of the potential for videoconferencing use. They imagine the possible uses of the equipment. Rather than specific applications, they indicate that the technology will come in handy for meetings and training. They talk about how videoconferencing will solve their problems and may have a difficult time explaining how the technology fits into the bigger strategy for their organization. Acquiring videoconferencing technology is the easy part; it is then that the real work begins. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 96
  • 101. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Appendices December 2000 133 Front Street Vestal, NY 13850 TEL 607 754-5037 FAX 607 754-6975 www.myersgroup.com info@myersgroup.com