Video Teleconferencing: wave of the future for dispersing information

12 Aug 2002 | Cpl. Craig Stowell

Joint Forces Command, Joint Public Affairs Operations Group, has teamed up at Millennium Challenge 2002 in Victorville, Calif., to test a new video telecommunications conferencing system that could change the way the Marine Corps sends and receives digital media of all types.The Scotty Mobile Remote Data, named after the character "Scotty" from the television series "Star Trek," is able to send 128,000 bits of digital information per second to almost any location in the world."What makes Scotty different from other VTCs is that you can send any type of digital media to anywhere in the world," said Marine Capt. Jason Johnston, JPAOG. "You can send anything from live video, to B-roll, to pictures." B-roll is the raw unedited footage used to compile a video story.Other VTC systems only allow the user to send back live video, where Scotty can send back any type of digital media, said Johnston.Scotty is able to send information to any location that has a VTC connection by establishing a line of communication with a satellite through a telecommunications service provider, said Army Maj. Jeffery Parks, Scotty project leader, JPAOG."Scotty works the same way as an internet provider such as AOL," said Parks "You have to have a provider to send and receive information."With Scotty's ability to send and receive large amounts of digital information, it is possible to establish live video feed from the Scotty. It also has firewire connections that allow other forms of media to be sent at the same time. For example, a digital video camera can be connected to Scotty and the feed from the camera can be sent as the live feed instead of the camera in the Scotty, said Parks."The whole thing takes five to 10 minutes to set up," said Army 1st Sgt. Greg Deimel, JPAOG.By using this feature, a Marine could send back live footage of a battle as it happens anywhere in the world.The Scotty operates from a main computer that is connected to a power source such as a solar blanket or battery, and maintains a satellite connection using two satellite phones, said Parks.The JPAOG is testing the Scotty system to see how it may be able to help combat correspondents send and receive information from the front lines."Scotty allows us to send back our stories and photos without needing any logistical support whatsoever," said Johnston. "It has the potential to be a great asset to Joint Public Affairs."
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