The Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in the Orlando, Fla., area has achieved great success over the past several years running video conferencing sessions.
The court’s Cisco Systems TelePresence equipment helps Florida save $200,000 in interpreter costs for the Circuit Court’s 70 courtrooms, says Matt Benefiel, trial court administrator. Eight interpreters cover the main courtrooms in Orange and Osceola counties, plus five buildings in the outlying areas of the court’s region. Instead of sending interpreters to those outlying areas, the court conducts video conferencing sessions to translate Spanish, Creole, Russian and other languages.
Benefiel says the program has generated so much interest that the Office of the State Courts Administrator has added a regional pilot interpreter program that includes seven of Florida’s 20 judicial circuit courts.
Benefiel says the Circuit Court also plans to run video conferencing sessions over Cisco WebEx for both the business and probate courts. “For starters, attorneys can call in via WebEx for any type of hearings short of an actual trial,” Benefiel says. “All we have to do is send them a link, and they can easily be up on a video call.”
Circuit Court judges have been instrumental in adopting video conferencing. The court has issued Microsoft Surface Pro tablets to 40 judges and installed a Cisco Jabber client in selected Surface Pro units. The judges now have the option of running hearings in a physical courtroom or virtually over the court’s private cloud.
“Many of the judges want the ability to connect virtually from anywhere, at any time,” Benefiel says. “The rollout of the Surface Pros and Jabber has been very well received.”
As video conferencing becomes mainstream, many businesses can’t afford to deploy in-room systems to every conference room or building, says Andrew W. Davis, senior partner and analyst for Wainhouse Research. “As cloud-based video technology becomes more affordable, scalable and reliable, we expect that these cloud video systems will become the preferred communications strategy in most organizations within the next three years.”
In King County, Wash., more than 11,000 of the county’s 13,000 employees have access to Microsoft Lync.
CIO Bill Kehoe says the technology has become so popular that they run an average of 7,661 instant messaging sessions and 576 online meetings per day. As King County has deployed Lync, workers have used all the features in Lync, including voice, IM and integrated voicemail-to-email.
Residents can now interact with county staff via video conferencing using the Lync browser-based meeting client. This function is useful for discussing permits in unincorporated areas of the county, for example, or appealing the assessed value of property.
“Being the hometown of many tech-based companies, we have a population that’s very comfortable with technology, so the expectation is that the county can do business with and offer the technology,” Kehoe says.
“We’re a cloud-first organization and would love to do more video conferencing in the cloud, but given our size and complexity, it might take another five or 10 years before we are fully in the cloud with Lync.”