Georgia multimedia network to succeed in 100.000 telemedicine and distance learning video-conferencing sessions

Austin 26 June 2000VTEL Corporation, a leading provider of interactive and Internet-based visual communication products and services, has reached a major milestone with Georgia Statewide Academic and Medical System (GSAMS). GSAMS, one of the largest two-way interactive video and audio networks in the world, recently has completed its 100.000th video-conference over its multimedia network. VTEL Managed Solutions, the network's single hardware maintenance provider, serves as the system's call manager, connecting and maintaining approximately 350 sites within the GSAMS network.


"The fact that 100.000 calls have occurred via GSAMS is extremely significant to the state of Georgia", stated Kelly Thomas, video product strategy manager for Georgia's Department of Administrative Services, Information Technology Services. "Citizens throughout Georgia are gaining exposure and access to resources they never would have had without the system. They receive the education or information they need while in their community without having to expend extra time and incur costs associated with travelling."

GSAMS enables students to interact directly from their community with teachers and students in other GSAMS classrooms throughout Georgia. With the multi-point, gateway-enabled system which reaches across the world, they have access to a multitude of previously unavailable programmes and courses and exposure to a wide variety of instruction.

"GSAMS has allowed State Government to run more efficiently and effectively as well as to increase collaboration among agencies", stated Mrs. Kelly Thomas. "VTEL has been a strong partner over the years assisting customers with hardware maintenance and video connectivity. With the help of VTEL's technical experts who are available full time, the technology is virtually transparent to users. The smooth connectivity and quality audio and video invoke a feeling of one large statewide classroom which heightens the learning experience."

Any GSAMS distance learning classroom can be connected to any other GSAMS classroom point-to-point or up to a sixteen classroom multi-point configuration. These classrooms are used to teach traditional subjects in non-traditional ways and communicate administrative issues such as staff development, administrative policy meetings, student debates, and faculty interviews.

GSAMS is also being used to provide telemedicine programmes, telemedicine consultations, and special conferences, meetings, public and legislative hearings and updates, educational field trips, and other communications.

"VTEL has watched Georgia Statewide Academic and Medical System's distance learning community explode since its inception in 1992", said Steven Keilen, VTEL vice president and chief marketing officer. "We are pleased to be a part of their growth as they empower their customers to incorporate video-conferencing into their daily practice and integrate it with other technologies. We will continue to invest in Georgia's distance education network and help continue to enhance the GSAMS network for all of Georgia."

GSAMS serves citizens throughout Georgia with an emphasis on connecting rural communities with urban resources. GSAMS uses state-of-the-art two-way interactive video-conferencing systems which connect over high speed telephone lines to create a virtual educational and medical community across Georgia.

GSAMS also has global connectivity through a gateway which links any GSAMS site with video-conferencing systems throughout the world for two-way interactive conferences via dial-up telephone lines over the public telephone network.

GSAMS is a world leader in providing distance learning, telemedicine, and other programmes and services. GSAMS was created through the Georgia Distance Learning and Telemedicine Act of 1992. The Department of Administrative Services, Information Technology Services implements GSAMS in partnership with the Medical College of Georgia, the Board of Regents, the Department of Education, the Department of Technical and Adult Education, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Children and Youth Services, BellSouth, the 33 Georgia independent telephone companies, and others in private industry.

Based in Austin, Texas, with offices and resellers in 61 countries, VTEL Corporation is a global leader in high technology visual communications products and services. From Internet visual communications software and services to video-conferencing systems and video-networking solutions, VTEL offers customers the most complete range of products and implementation support. VTEL serves customers in the commercial, education, health care and government markets by combining the power of traditional video-conferencing with the vast reach of the Internet.

Leslie Versweyveld

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