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Desktop and Mobile Video Conferencing Prototyping for NASA
By Ed McLarney, LaRC Chief Technology Officer

Innovators across the Agency have been busy prototyping desktop and mobile video conferencing solutions for NASA users and are working through the process of taking these products from prototypes to pilots and eventually to production capabilities. The Agency Communications Service Office (CSO) and chief technology officers (CTOs) for IT from several Centers divided the problem set to look at several leading solutions. The CSO and Langley Research Center (LaRC) worked together with a product called Vidyo, which links existing ViTS systems with desktop and mobile collaboration. The CSO currently has Vidyo available for prototype users across the Agency. Johnson Space Center worked with a product called VSee, which is used for low-bandwidth collaboration with the International Space Station. The Astrobiology Institute at Ames Research Center has been a longtime advocate for collaboration and provides Adobe Connect for its users. Adobe Connect was used by senior executives Agency-wide for the first-ever NASA Virtual Executive Summit in October 2012. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) experimented with a number of cloud-based collaboration solutions to include Blue Jeans, which can act as a bridge between multiple solutions. Each of these products has pros and cons, and the CSO and CTO community are working through experimentation and analysis, with additional briefings to IT leadership coming soon. In the meantime, users interested in prototyping with emerging video collaboration systems should contact one of the following POCs:
  • Vidyo—CSO: Kathy Hatley/Bobby Collins (both at Marshall). LaRC user: Ed McLarney
  • VSee—James McClellan at JSC
  • Adobe Connect—Estelle Dodson/Marco Boldt
  • Blue Jeans/Cloud video collaboration—Tom Soderstrom/Gabriel Rangel at JPL
Chief technology officers and IT innovators across the Agency have participated in testing these solutions. If you’re interested, please contact your Center CTO for IT or one of the POCs listed above. Have fun collaborating!