FNEC’s New Meeting Software

FNEC’s New Meeting Software

– Quebec

Tuesday, 4 October 2011, 11:33 PM

In 2006 the First Nations Education Council (FNEC) announced the successful implementation of video-conferencing units in its 22 member communities. Since this time, the videoconferencing has been used for everything from Elders meetings, to education, to telehealth. While this videoconferencing equipment was designed for videoconferencing between larger groups and in this regard was perfectly suited to the delivery of course materials, or telehealth conferences, its size means that it was often located in larger facilities such as the band office, schools and health centres in the communities. Because of this location, access was limited.

With an eye towards long-term sustainability, FNEC has built on the videoconferencing capabilities of the newer fibre optic network in many of the communities by introducing a new platform, Converged Management Application or CMA. According to the FNEC website, “the CMA software application allows users to simply point and click to call and collaborate with colleagues over video from any desktop computer or laptop at any time”.

The CMA also connects people using a variety of communication technologies, from telephones, to webcams, to larger Polycom cams. In terms of its applications for distance education and telehealth, this means that members in the community will be able to remain in their homes, rather than vying for access to the videoconferencing equipment in community buildings. From their homes they will be able to interact with family members and friends or healthcare professionals or teachers and participate in larger conferencing on FNEC’s dedicated network. As FNEC’s website states it, “[u]nlike MSN and other mainstream desktop video services, the CMA service is strictly reserved for member use and can only be accessed by secure login managed at the FNEC”.