Teleconferencing IDEA earns employee $10,000

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A suggestion to change the way in which video teleconferencing is provided has earned an Air Force Research Laboratory employee here a $10,000 award from the Air Force Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program.

Gregory J. Howe, a telecommunications specialist in the AFRL information directorate's communications and computers branch, will receive the award for his proposal to use new AFRL Rome research site switching capabilities to connect its teleconferencing facility. The switch was installed in December.

"Our teleconference facility has been utilizing a dedicated circuit provided by AT&T," said Howe, a 25-year federal employee. "By installing interface cards in our new communications switch, we can eliminate the $7,787 monthly charge for the dedicated circuit. The new process will require only the cost of long distance calling; however, since most of the site's video teleconferencing involves military bases, those calls can be made without charge via the Defense Switching Network."

After deducting the cost of new interface cards for the telephone switch, the Rome research site anticipates saving $77,608 during the first year. Savings in subsequent years are estimated at $83,803 annually.

Howe added that there are an estimated 250 Air Force sites around the country that could use similar changes in video teleconferencing communications. Altering switches at those sites could result in an annual savings in excess of $20 million.