Oregon Telecommunications Coordinating Council
October 24, 2007
Council Members: John Irwin, Pam Berrian, Agnes Box, Ed Parker, Curt Pederson,
Michael Weidman, Art Hill, Onno Husing, and Kim Hoffman.
Staff: Chris Tamarin of the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department
and Eric Schmidt of the Association of Oregon Counties
Others: Joe Franell of the City of Ashland, Don Westlight of Oregon Health and Science
University and NWAX, Jon Dolan of Oregon State University, Neil Schilling of
VideoPresence, Inc., Keith Grunberg, Jack Henry and Brad Kuhnert of Charter
Communications, Don Skinner of Pacific AHEC, and Kathy George of Yamhill County,
Association of Oregon Counties and the State Interoperability Executive Council.
Curt Pederson moved that the September 24, 2007 minutes be approved as distributed.
Ed Parker seconded the motion. There will be a Council vote by e-mail to approve the
John Irwin welcomed Neil Schilling of VideoPresence, Inc. (VPI) for a presentation on
his company and telepresence technology. VPI is an Oregon start-up technology
company located in the Pittock Block in Portland. Its proprietary technology is being
developed in Hillsboro and its equipment is being manufactured in Oregon.
Neil explained that “telepresence” is not the same as videoconferencing. It is the science
and art of creating visual collaboration environments, networks, and strategies that
creates the impression for users that the person or persons at remote locations are
essentially present at the meeting. This is achieved by symmetrically transmitting video
at thirty frames per second in high definition using a scalable carbon-neutral technology
that is within the reach of small and rural users. VPI’s goal is to leverage the economies,
efficiency, and effectiveness of any size organization so that the service is accessible and
feasible to use. He believes that other telepresence service providers are effectively
limited to use by very large users due to high equipment and network costs.
Target Market Applications include Distant Learning, Telehealth / Telemedicine clinical
diagnosis, chronic disease management, patient consultation, and other clinical services,
and public safety and disaster preparedness.
Neil noted that a key element to a good telepresence user experience is an emphasis on
the human factors and a focus on high resolution visual and high quality audio
communication that enables natural interpersonal communications to take place. This is
differentiated from the highly disruptive and unnatural jerky, latency ridden "talking
heads" experience of legacy videoconferencing.
Problems with existing legacy videoconference solutions include the following:
• Poor quality of service – Jitter of picture, delay of audio causes lip synch issue with
videoconference interruptions from packet loss with motion
• Difficult to setup and use – Requires certified audio/video videoconference engineers
• Splintered solutions to solve the complex problems of delivering voice, video, and data
–Network component – Multiple carriers to deliver solution across distance. Traffic is
passed along many different network infrastructures. Lack of support. Requires dedicated
–Hardware component – Two primary manufacturers of codec boxes own 95% of
• Large capital investment required to build out endpoints and provide service
–$35k-50k per endpoint
–$50k + Multipoint bridge units
• Significant dedicated bandwidth requirements for good quality requires $5k – $65k per
month in network cost.
–Software package, support contract, and gateway firewall costs typically range
between $2k and $ 75k in incremental costs.
•Security flaws – Existing systems use the public Internet to transport secure data
VPI has identified the following videoconferencing market needs:
• Ease of Use (intuitive graphical interface, high-touch customer and product support)
• Guaranteed communications quality of service (no video jitter, low delay, high visual
resolution, no loss of data)
• High security (no eavesdropping, hacker attacks, viruses, or denial-of-service) Dial
back 512 bit keyed system. Private lines. Communication Equipment Data Hashing.
• Consistent high reliability connections (no dropped calls, high connect rate)
• Low operating costs (low hardware and installation cost, minimal IT support, no
• Low administrative burden (no call scheduling or bridge reservations, minimal training
VPI views its value proposition as providing the following:
• Private high quality of service (QoS) backbone network
• High security network – Encryption at Layer 2
• Ancillary service from the user’s existing network to handle large data and video
• VPI Advanced edge equipment
• Software upgrades included with service
• Warranty included
• No new protocols required to speak with prior boxes
• Flexible last mile solutions – multiple technologies including WiMAX, copper, fiber
• Secure High Definition telepresence
• Unique collaborative conference solutions
• Point-to-Point and Multipoint capability
• Broadcast 1 to 65,000 points
• Laptop document share
• 720P at 30 frames per second
• Less than 60 milliseconds latency from Los Angeles to Washington DC
• Flexible conference room options: Kiosk, desktop, auditorium
VPI’s Market Strategy
• A business plan comparable to the cell phone network model
– High Speed Data Network services
– Customer purchases or lease hardware, kiosk, or telehealth equipment
– Customer subscribes to service plan based on area of service
• Regional Service Plan – fixed fee
• National Service Plan – fixed fee
• International Service Plan – fixed fee
• VPI Provides local loop, backbone, and customer premise equipment
• Monthly service plans will offer unlimited use of telepresence services over VPI
network at fixed rate plan
– No metered charges (such as ISDN) – Scalable and Flexible
– 24x7 support provided by VPI NOC
– Telepresence codec warranty included in monthly plan
– Each unit is directly identified and updated over network through VPI NOC
– VPI provides detailed billing information for each unit through network management
– 100% software upgrades executed through network control
Neil indicated that the service can be delivered over a standard T1 connection to the
user’s location, a network connection that is almost universally available.
Agnes Box asked if the service requires a dedicated T1. Neil responded yes. John noted
that this means that costs could be high in rural locations due to the high cost of T1
circuits. Neil indicated that costs are averaged across the network and that costs should
John Irwin asked what enables this different level and quality of service. Neil responded
that the enablers are a proprietary video compression technology to transmit at 30 frames
per second over a T1 connection and a managed quality of service backbone network.
Ed Parker asked about points of presence in Oregon. Neil responded that there is
currently a beta location in Roseburg and a PoP in Portland. There are plans to add
Ashland as a site. Neil added that they can serve any location in the state where a T1
connection can be established.
Chris Tamarin asked if VPI had any telemedicine applications currently running? Neil
John Irwin asked about cost. Neil responded that the goal is to deliver the service at a
cost of approximately $900 per month per location. Other location facility costs like
room preparation will vary.
Ed Parker asked about the availability of an Internet Protocol (IP) interface. Neil
responded that there are challenges with IP as a packet based technology with a lot of
overhead. They are looking at it, but are currently relying on their managed low latency
network to deliver a high definition and high quality service. Chris Tamarin asked about
using a managed IP network vs. the Internet. Neil said that this has not been explored to
Curt Pederson noted that the Hewlett-Packard Halo videoconference facility is currently
in operation in Corvallis and that the human factors engineering and acoustics produces a
virtual reality experience very different from standard videoconferencing.
Neil added that it is a very dynamic and exciting time for video “telepresence”
technology and applications.
John thanked Neil for his presentation.
2007 Annual Report
John Irwin presented a draft of the Council’s 2007 Report to the Legislature for
discussion. The draft document provides a review of the Council’s 2007 activities,
legislative recommendations and presents study topics for 2008. John asked the Council
members to review the draft and provide editorial recommendations, additions and any
corrections. The final edition of the report will be submitted to the Council for approval
at the November 29 meeting.
The final draft of the report will be delivered by e-mail to the Governor and all the
members of the Legislature. It will also be posted on the Council web site at
Ed Parker moved that a seat be created on the Council to represent Ashland Fiber
Network as a public sector telecommunications service provider. Michael Weidman
seconded the motion. There will be a Council vote by e-mail.
Association of Oregon Counties
Eric Schmidt reported that the AOC 2007 Annual Conference will be held in Portland at
the Portland Marriott November 13th through 16th. Information on the conference may
be found at www.aocweb.org. On-line registration is available.
Ed Parker reported that CoastNet will have a major announcement at the Oregon
Connections Telecommunications Conference.
John Irwin recommended the following reports to the Council
The Role of Competition in a National Broadband Policy, by Rob Atkinson of
the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. October 19, 2007
The Broadband Divide: Rural Access Lags Far Behind Cities, Testimony before
the Agriculture Subcommittee on Appropriations by Mark Lloyd, October 23,
How the AP tested Comcast's file-sharing filter, by the Associated Press,
October 19, 2007 http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_7225556
John Irwin noted that a series of workshops have been scheduled around the state to
present and vet the draft State Communications Interoperability Plan. The draft may be
viewed at http://www.oregon.gov/SIEC/docs/Oregon_SCIP_092807_v05.pdf. The
workshops are scheduled from 8:30 – 12:00 Noon for the following dates and locations:
October 29 – Portland
Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency
17911 NW Evergreen Parkway
October 30 – Eugene
Springfield City Hall, Library Meeting Room
225 5th Street
October 31 – Medford
Jackson County Roads and Parks Auditorium
200 Antelope Rd.
November 6 – Bend
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office MAC Center
63333 Highway 20 West
November 7 – Pendleton
Criminal Justice Center, Media Room
4700 NW Pioneer Place
This is a federally mandated plan, which is required to be in place for Oregon to obtain
any future Department of Homeland Security funding. People are encouraged to attend
the workshops and provide input.
Art Hill reported that he visited Cayuse Technologies on the Confederated Tribes of the
Umatilla Indian Reservation. It is a partnership between Acenture and the Confederated
Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the anchor tenant for the new CTUIR
Coyote Business Park located near Pendleton. Art noted that the Business Park is served
by fiber facilities from both Qwest and Charter Communications. Cayuse Technologies
provides both inbound and outbound call center services, image processing services and
software development services.
Pam Berrian reported that the City of Eugene hopes to move forward with its exploration
of Internet Exchange opportunities in November.
John Irwin reported that he has been working with the State of California on a recently
launched major pilot project to aggregate broadband demand across four northern
counties. The California Broadband Task Force has organized the California Emerging
Technologies Fund with a budget of $60 million to fund broadband improvement
Brad Kuhnert reported that the wildfires in Southern California have caused significant
damage to Charter Communications infrastructure affecting over ten thousand customers.
Agnes Box reported that Klamath Falls has upgraded its P25 public safety communications
network and its 911 center for the City and County.
Chris Tamarin reported that the Oregon Connections Telecommunications Conference is
tomorrow and Friday, October 25th and 26th. Preparations are complete. The conference
attendance is expected to be at capacity.
The council will meet next on Thursday, November 29 in the Teleconference Room
(Basement) of the Public Service Building, 255 Capitol Street NE, in Salem. The
Council does not plan to meet in December. Meeting information will be updated and
posted on the Council website at www.ortcc.org.