videoconference (Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com)

GSA eyes videoconferencing as a service

The General Services Administration wants to upgrade its videoconferencing setup to a cloud-based version so it can live stream events such as Administrator Town Halls and help field office staff more easily connect to the broadcast.

The current videoconferencing solution is a collection of multiple stove-piped solutions, local contracts and inefficient implementations.  Videos streamed from headquarters and regional offices via the legacy system can swamp capacity at low-bandwidth field sites -- resulting in poor audio quality, frozen video screens and uneven playing speeds.

According to a recent solicitation, GSA is looking for a centralized, integrated video-as-a-service solution that includes live streaming capabilities and can securely scale to support up to 2,500 concurrent video conferences with from 2 to 15 people and the 16,000 concurrent personnel who watch the quarterly Town Hall meetings.

The commercial-of-the-shelf VaaS application would need to be hosted within a public cloud, such as Google, AWS and/or Azure or with a vendor certified by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. It must also integrate with some existing capabilities GSA uses -- such as Google Meets, Cisco Jabber -- through application programming interfaces and be available on any internet browsing platforms, including smartphones, 2-in-1 tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.

Until GSA can upgrade network speeds in its field offices, the VaaS solution must also deliver acceptable performance on low- and limited-bandwidth circuits, including T-1 circuits.

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