Hyten seeks grant for video conferencing

Thursday, August 6, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- With a goal of trying to lessen the amount of time and money expended for county employees, emergency responders and others, Putnam County Emergency Management Director Kim Hyten is looking at acquiring a grant to install a videoconferencing system in the Emergency Management Center.

Videoconferencing is a set of interactive telecommunication technologies that allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously.

This can be as simple as a conversation between two people in private offices (point-to-point) or involve several sites (multi-point) with more than one person in large rooms at different sites. Besides the audio and visual transmission of meeting activities, videoconferencing can be used to share documents, computer-displayed information, and whiteboards.

Hyten is hoping to get a grant from Task Force 7 with the Department of Homeland Security to pay for the system that would be installed at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Putnam County.

"We can save a lot of money and time by using this. So many county officials and emergency people have to go to training and educational conferences and it can get expensive. With this system, we can have multiple people sit in on training and save the expense of travel as well as free up that time for other work," said Hyten.

In fact, Hyten has a vision for the county to be able to eventually hook up a big screen television in the old dispatch center in the courthouse.

"We can tie it into the videoconferencing and people like the auditor, clerk and other county officials can use it for training too," added Hyten. "We really want to move the county into a more business oriented management process. This will be a really useful tool."

Hyten hopes to find out if the county will receive the grant soon.

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  • what is the cost of this system that is going to save us so much time and money? how much time are u spending in the (EOC)? seems that two-way radios, cell phones and computers do the same fast and economical sending of information between two or more parties.

    save money on training? well u still will have to video tape or purchase a training video to show demos. this can be done on dvd or blue ray.

    all of these items we have already purchased and do all the same things ur wanting to waste on a new method. we dont need to hit Mr. Bookwalter up on video to ask him a question, to be on the video this makes him or anyone immobile. meaning they cant multi task or continue doing what they were doing.

    just bc the money is a grant doesnt mean its free! it has cost me, and u and all of us so much that we are tired of giving. how many emeregency controlled situations do we experience here in putnam co that video conferencing would have made a difference?

    the spending needs to stop!

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 8:11 AM
  • Kim, thanks for trying to do something for the county. No matter what the naysayers say! Saves money on paying county employees travel expensives and reimbursement for fuel. And as for the 5 OTHER hats you wear for the County, KUDO's to you and your staff on those as well. Knowledge is power one should be informed before one posts in an open format.

    -- Posted by CastlePirate on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 10:03 AM
  • Has any one ever thought of just going to walmart and buying a webcam and microphone and using something like YAHOO to do video conferencing

    Web cam kit with mic 29.99

    Yahoo>>> FREE

    total cost of ownership per user 29.99

    Tax dollars better spent:n Priceless

    -- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 11:14 AM
  • Sounds a little like the sign on the "mobile command center" in the fair parade. It read "no tax dollars were spent on this". It was a grant from the federal gov. Gee, i wonder if some of the 45 thousand dollars that Iv'e paid in taxes in the last two years were part of that grant. Looks to me like were going broke just as fast as we can!

    -- Posted by crusty on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 1:00 PM
  • SAVE MONEY ON TRAVEL EXPENSES AND REIMBURSEMENTS FOR FUEL??? my ex. of saving money...1) u purchase a training video 2) download to your computer 3) send to all employees 4) get donut, some coffee and wait. i get home from work, go to my computer and download and watch your training video.

    CASTLE PIRATE!!! will u figure the amount of travel time i just wasted and how much gas evaporated from my tank as it sits in my driveway??????

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 10:23 PM
  • It's a federal grant, people, which means: If we don't use it, someone else will! Why not throw our hat into the mix? If there is even a remote chance it can save our county a little money, what's the harm? It doesn't cost anything to apply for the grant. If we aren't approved, then we will continue on our own little path. I think the problem here is that some people don't like change and it's an insult to them when the subject is even approached.

    -- Posted by WTFRUthinkin on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 5:49 AM
  • badboy46120 Not going to banter with you on this, but this program allows for MUCH more then just training. It allows for "Video conferencing" meaning a live program running. So lets say there is an Auditors training session in Fort Wayne, NOW that employee does not have to drive to it but can watch it live, via this link, in real time and ask questions instead of a DVD that just plays, the employee can now ask questions of the instructor/speaker in real time. Another example, no longer having to run inmates back and forth to courts ie saves fuel in County Jail van and keeps them secured where they belong (now this is if the courts and jail decide to do this which from what I understand they are going to).Understand this link is faster then the typical Internet that you run in your house MUCH MUCH faster!

    As for the gas in your car evaporating thats a little childish isn't it? But you do have your right to free speach. Again being informed on a topic will help you understand it a little more, unfortunately you were not. Have a nice day ;)

    -- Posted by CastlePirate on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 6:10 AM
  • E-Conferencing can significantly reduce cost. Where I work, we use Web-Ex for all global conferencing. I, for one, favor keeping bureaucrats here rather than paying them to travel. This alone will undoubtedly cover the expense.

    However, it is equally important to remember where grant money comes from. At last count, we had to send nearly $5 to Washington to get $1 back. Therefore, the actual cost to the tax payer is nearly five times this amount.

    Considering the age of E-conferencing technology, one has to question why it was not an integral part of the Emergency Management Center from inception.

    -- Posted by VonMises on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 10:45 AM
  • While I think this may be a nice new toy for Mr. Hyten and his staff, I think the money would more productively be use elsewhere.

    Is it at all possible to use it for our failing bridges? We have 2 atleast currently closed and more in bad shape. Can we continue to close a bridge when it is bad? Eventually we will not be able to go anywhere for having to cross a bridge. Just wondering?

    I bet if a county commisioner, Mr. Hyten or any other county offical lived on one of these road they would be in a bigger hurry to have them repaired. Just my opinion.

    -- Posted by dcsaiht on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 1:25 PM
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