Video Conferencing Instructions

Eight state agencies utilize IP/ISDN video conferencing (VC) capabilities, listed below. Some agencies can offer the use of their VC rooms/capabilities to other agencies. Agencies with this capability may have staff that are available for technical support and scheduling assistance. Many of the rooms are in high demand from their agency employees and as such they are given priority in use of the VC rooms/equipment.

Video conferencing services are an agency by agency endeavor, VC is not an OIT enterprise service.

A diagram is available to give an overall visual layout of the multiple entities within each system displaying how they interoperate across the State.

State of Maine agencies VC by utilizing two different technologies for delivery of the video feed.

  1. IP/ISDN based system: most utilized by State agencies and non-state entities.
  2. ATM system: associated with the University of Maine system, public schools, libraries and the Department of Education (Cross 105 room).

The Department of Education utilizes the ATM network that runs over the University network system and interoperates with the State schools and libraries.

All systems; either inside the State of Maine network, outside the network, private entity or public entity can "speak to each other". IP/ISDN and ATM systems can interoperate together. For example, it is technically possible to sit at a library (ATM) and have a VC session with the Department of Labor (IP/ISDN). The method used to connect these two systems uses a "bridge" and an "encoder/decoder" to swap the video stream into acceptable format to be used back and forth between ATM and IP/ISDN. However, issues are encountered when bridging between the different systems. The connections can be slow and technical glitches are not uncommon. Degradation and technical difficulties can also be an issue when bridging between like systems outside/inside the State of Maine network; IP/ISDN to IP/ISDN such as sitting at the Department of Transportation and connecting to a health care facility on the Telemedicine system.

The most important items to remember to have a successful VC session:

  • If conferencing between State of Maine agencies use an agency VC system.
  • If conferencing outside the State of Maine system, utilize another provider.
  • If you want to interoperate with the ATM system, special hardware and technical assistance is required.
  • Technical support and scheduling are key to success.

To have the most successful VC experience when conducting business within the State of Maine network, attempt to use the State's current resources within the respective agencies. If you can not acquire a room, technical support and scheduling assistance, agencies have options outside the State of Maine system.

The University of Maine System Information Technology Services (UMSITS), locally residing at UMA, offers IP/ISDN VC rooms, technical support and scheduling. VC rooms are available that are not scheduled for campus class use. These rooms are for general public use and more widely available. A fee does apply, but many have found it a cost savings when compared to employees traveling across or even out of the state to conduct business. UMSITS has one of the most sophisticated bridging services available in the State of Maine. They have worked in partnership with the state agencies and the university system to bridge in and out of the State of Maine's network. When conducting business outside the State of Maine's network, utilizing this system will give you a reliable connection to any VC system around the state or country.

The Telemedicine IP/ISDN system has 250 sites statewide and their own bridge which enables them to reliably bridge in any VC system around the state or country.

VC Agencies (IP/ISDN):

  • Department of Labor 623-7900
  • Department of Health and Human Services 624-7761
  • Department of Marine Resources 624-6550
  • Department of Transportation 624-3000
  • Department of Public Safety 626-2800
  • Department of Environmental Protection 287-7688
  • Department of Economic and Community Development 624-9800
  • Department of Correction 287-2711

Resources: