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CHIPS Articles: Defense Collaboration Services integrates teleconferencing capability

Defense Collaboration Services integrates teleconferencing capability
New features, secure connections
By Jo Bordeau, DISA Strategic Communication and Public Affairs - April 11, 2019
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Defense Collaboration Services (DCS) now has an integrated teleconferencing capability available to DoD employees worldwide at no cost.

Telephone and web conference users can now interact with colleagues using the built-in DCS audio, eliminating the need to schedule third-party phone bridges during web conferences. This feature works with all commercial, Defense Switched Network (DSN), and Enterprise Voice over Internet Protocol (EVoIP) telephone systems.

Activation of the phone bridge is easy. Reservation owners simply select the “Allow dial-in” box on the conference reservation page. Once checked, a phone number and PIN are displayed and can be shared with attendees prior to the meeting. DCS web conference sessions can host up to 250 users.

“We have some people who use DCS web conferences to host online classes between organizations. However, many of our users typically use DCS web conference to present information globally,” said Derek Westray, DCS lead engineer. “Now attendees can call in from their phones or room-based audio systems.”

The DCS web conference capability allows presenters to display PowerPoint presentations and other documents, whiteboard ideas with the group, share their screen, conduct polls and receive feedback from users, and record the web session. The tool even provides a mechanism for closed-captioning for the hearing impaired; however, the user’s host agency must provide a stenographer to leverage the feature.

Francis Post, engineering lead for Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) at DISA, said he was able to seamlessly switch to a DCS meeting in just seconds when he realized more people were going to be joining a call than the standard phone bridge could handle.

“I realized we were going to have 137 attendees and wasn’t sure if the regular phone bridge would handle it,” said Post. “I went online and got my PIN, and within minutes we were all online with great reception. Plus, I could continue to do my online presentation with no problems.”

Some other features of the service include the capability to remotely mute all users, the ability to remove someone from a call, and being able to see all the callers who are on the line.

The ability to use all DCS capabilities falls on individual DoD organizations, said Westray. There’s a security aspect that’s critical to making the service work, specifically allowing Java functionality for the screen share feature.

“Sometimes changes need to be made to a firewall to allow them to connect,” said Westray. “It’s important that organizations allow necessary network and workstation changes so employees can have access to these free features that will let DoD employees worldwide work more collaboratively.”

A short training video about enabling the call-in capability is available at https://www.milsuite.mil/video/watch/video/23421.

For more information about DCS, go to https://conference.apps.mil.

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