Industrial Applications

Government

The judicial system has found videoconferencing to be a cost-effective and productive technology for its needs. A number of counties have begun to install videoconference systems in jails and courthouses. These systems are used most commonly for "video arraignments", where a prisoner will go to a videoconferencing room in the jail. Another system in the courtroom has dedicated cameras to show the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney. The prisoner can see all of the members in the court, and the information is simultaneously recorded with a split screen 4 ways, so a complete record of the proceeding is made. This provides several benefits to the court system, as it reduces the number of defendants who need to be transported from jails to courthouses, reduces the overcrowding of courthouse holding facilities, reduces the security risks associated with transporting and handling defendants, saves time and saves money. Most of these types of systems currently run over private networks using proprietary technologies, but they could be designed using H.323 technology over a secure intranet as well. The Courtroom 21 Project at the William and Mary College of Law provides a glimpse at how videoconferencing is being integrated into the courtroom.

Healthcare

Healthcare - Telemedicine

Quality, security and reliability are critical factors to healthcare professionals that use video communications in order to perform their daily job responsibilities. Whether you are a physician, educator, medical practitioner or student, having access to superior video communications allows you to provide more interactive patient care, conduct more effective training and research, and expand your overall client reach.

LifeSize's innovative high definition technology allows healthcare professionals to experience the very best quality video communications available on the market. With nearly 10X the quality of existing videoconferencing systems, LifeSize's high definition video communications products can serve the widest range of business applications - whether communicating with peers, offering client consultations, assisting in specialized surgeries or conducting patient evaluations, now it will seem like you are actually in the same room.

LifeSize is partnering with integrators that are well experienced in providing videoconferencing support to healthcare professionals and institutions. We are proud to provide high definition video communications products that serve the vast needs of healthcare practitioners, educators and administrators worldwide.

Telemedicine is a growing field made possible by improved, more widely available, and affordable telecommunications services. Once narrowly defined as direct provision of medical services using telecommunications technology, the term telemedicine is now being supplanted by "Telehealth", and covers "use of electronic information and communications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates the participants" (US Veterans Administration) or "use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration" (Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, US Health Resources and Services Administration).

These definitions include activities providing direct and indirect clinical services such as teledermatology, but also include educational and administrative uses of these technologies to support health care, such as for continuing education or administrative videoconferencing. As convergence of video, voice and data networks occurs in the marketplace, it is not surprising that services previously offered on multiple media are now migrating to converged Internet, providing opportunities for convergence of a number of health care activities occurring at a distance.

Brief history of Telemedicine/Telehealth
The earliest recorded use of telemedicine was a 1950's Nebraska demonstration project using closed circuit television to provide mental health services from a university medical center to a state hospital 100 miles away. Forty years ago the NASA space flight telemedicine program began so that medical personnel on the ground could monitor astronauts' biomedical responses to space flight and to provide any necessary medical care. NASA's "Telemedicine Space Bridge to Armenia" Project provided medical assistance in response to a severe earthquake in Armenia in 1988. Using a live, two-way satellite link medical personnel at hospitals in Salt Lake City, Houston Texas, and Maryland conducted many sessions with Armenia physicians for a variety of medical consultations. Due to the enormous expense of these pioneering efforts it is only within the last ten years that the practice of telemedicine has begun to move from pilots to public availability.

Current Practice of Telemedicine
Remote clinical diagnosis via videoconferencing is currently used in some rural areas. A rural doctor or nurse practitioner consults with a physician based at a metropolitan or university hospital. Using videoconferencing technology and specially adapted medical tools, the remote doctor can see the patient, talk with the local health care practitioner, hear a heartbeat through a remote stethoscope, see images from ear/nose/throat exams, or examine skin conditions. This application has typically required leased T-1 telephone or ISDN lines, which can be quite expensive. Due to a number of issues (cost effectiveness, patient/physician acceptance of the technology, licensing and payment issues), the most common use of such facilities has been to provide health care to prisoner populations. Prisoners have a legal right to receive needed medical treatment, but the cost of transporting a prisoner to a medical facility is extremely high since at least two guards and possibly and ambulance are required for transport during trips requiring an entire day. This high transport expense has provided cost-justification for telemedicine in states such as Virginia and Texas.

A notable pioneer in broader acceptance of telemedicine can be found at the East Carolina University's Telemedicine Center. Their telemedicine program employs an array of interactive video and audio technologies to deliver clinical care and education to the rural population of eastern North Carolina. Since 1992, the Center has supported over 7,500 telemedicine consultations in over 35 different medical specialties, and over 10,000 distance learning and continuing medical education activities. ECU's Telemedicine Center includes an operational communications hub providing connections between points of need and global medical resources utilizing POTS, ISDN, T-1, Microwave, Satellite, and IP technologies.

The US Veterans' Administration (VA) has had a number of clinical telemedicine programs, including teleradiology/filmless digital imaging, telepathology, telenuclear medicine (MRI), home telephone monitoring of cardiac pacemakers, telephone liaison care programs, and more.

NORTH Network in Ontario Canada runs an extensive H.323-based telehealth service for remote hospitals and clinics in the northern parts of the province. They use a private IP network (dedicated to health care applications) to link over 60 sites in the north to large urban teaching hospitals. They currently facilitate hundreds of videoconference enabled consultations per week as well as running an extensive educational "broadcasts" using the same technologies. They've avoided the typical billing problems for remote consultations by getting a special government grant that allows them to directly pay consulting physicians.

NASA is designing a highly portable Telemedicine Instrumentation Pack (TIP) to collect medical audio, video and data from the patient in space.

In an effort to push the field of telemedicine forward significantly, the National Library of Medicine in 1996 awarded 19 multi-year telemedicine projects intended to serve as models for evaluating the impact of telemedicine, assessing various approaches to confidentiality in telemedicine, and testing emerging health data standards. A symposium summarizing activities in and results from this program was held in March 2001, and proceedings are available on-line.

Any type of medicine to any rural area and to any entity that had participated in a Federal telemedicine demonstration project (for example, Veterans Administration Hospitals, even in urban areas). The practice of medicine across state lines is severely restricted by current laws.

Source: © 2004-5, Video Development Initiative.

Education

LifeSize offers high definition video communications to education practitioners, students, researchers and administrators. By providing high quality, true-to-life communications, LifeSize helps educators extend access to learning, subject matter experts and improved project collaboration.At LifeSize, we know that education takes place in a host of different environments. Our goal is to make solutions plug-and-play for some applications and modular and configurable for integrated environments such as the classroom or auditorium.

A particularly exciting type of "meeting" that may be enhanced and expanded through the use of videoconferencing is classroom instruction. Certainly all of the factors listed above for furthering the success of videoconferencing within general meetings affect the classroom as well. In addition, the introduction of videoconferencing into the classroom means that at least some things about the nature of the instruction necessarily have to change. We'll try to outline some of those changes here.

In one case, remote participants may be additional students that the instructor must now accommodate in terms of instruction and integration with any physically present participants into one student group. Remote participants should not feel that they are getting less out of the class than their physically present counterparts and physically present students should not feel that the presence of remote students is detracting from their instruction. In another case, remote participant(s) may be additions to the instruction itself, such as expert speakers or co-instructors. As with any team-teaching, a cooperative balance of instructional duties is required but this can be made more complicated if video presence cannot compete with physical presence. Yet another aspect of videoconferencing in the classroom is that the "participants" being shared via the videoconference connection might not always be human. An instructor may want to incorporate an alternative video source (e.g., a document camera, a VCR) for sending to remote locations, or may want to receive video from an alternative video source at the remote site. The potential for combining video inputs and outputs can seem endless and readers are encouraged to fully explore these options when evaluating videoconferencing equipment for use within a classroom.

Most importantly, use of videoconferencing in the classroom requires special attention to the comfort level, teaching style, and instructional techniques of the instructor. In the ideal world, preparation for the use of videoconferencing in the classroom would be minimal. However, today's reality dictates that there will have to be some adapting and learning on the part of instructors to use videoconferencing successfully for instruction. Practice time outside of actual class time must be available and utilized to effectively integrate the technology with their own instructional style and methods, thereby ensuring a natural flow of classroom activities by the time the technology is experienced by the students. Keep in mind that you are a virtual presence at the remote site(s). Try to plan your classroom time to include interactive activities that call on remote participants to respond and become actively engaged in the learning process.

Many conferencing systems allow you to set up the camera in a number of different positions (e.g., wide shot of an entire class, close up shot of students in on the lower right quadrant) and store them as 'camera presets'. The presets are assigned to a button on the remote control. This allows you to easily focus in on a group of participants during the interactive portion of a session or just get a good overview of the level of engagement of varying groups at the remote site. Manual or frequent adjustments to the camera during a session is distracting, results in a few seconds of choppy video and has the flavor of a "home movie" you've been forced to watch. Investing in a few moments of pre-planning or multiple cameras is well worth the effort.

Source: © 2004-5, Video Development Initiative.

Enterprise

LifeSize provides high definition, simple to use video and audio communications solutions for global, enterprise communications.

Remote communication has become a way of life and a critical factor for today's enterprise. Whether the impact is time to market, access to subject matter experts or timely decision making - video and audio interaction provides a next level of communication to ensure flawless execution.

Public Sector

LifeSize offers high definition video communications systems for the government and public sector. In many cases, institutions have gone to great lengths to offer high quality, virtual communications. Now, with LifeSize, organizations can leverage secure, telepresence-like, high definition video and audio communications.LifeSize products are all standards-based and provide end-to-end AES encryption. Additionally, LifeSize video communications systems when connected using the LifeSize® Networker™ gateway provides V.35 support for integration with KG194/KIV-7 devices and pending testing for JITC certification for classified communications.