Florida Court System Switches from Analog to Digital CCTV Using Marconi Platform

Marconi Corporation announced that the 13th Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa and surrounding areas, replaced its analog videoconferencing system and enhanced its closed circuit television (CCTV) network with Marconi's ViPr(TM) Virtual Presence System, an easy-to-use, flexible, high-resolution video telephony and multimedia communications platform.

The court project includes 25 ViPr terminals covering several courtrooms, two jails and three remote locations. Judges and support staff are using ViPr for more than 100 video hearings a day -- including preliminary hearings, remote witness testimony, arraignments and traffic court -- thus saving money, adding convenience for Hillsborough County residents, and improving public safety by reducing the need to move suspects or prisoners from detention facilities to courtrooms and back again.

Demonstrating its flexibility, ViPr uses the standard network connections in the judicial circuit's courtrooms to help court personnel expand the availability of scarce language interpretation resources. By locating a ViPr terminal in the translators' offices and exploiting ViPr's easy-to-use convenience, staff can put a ViPr terminal in any courtroom that requires interpretation. ViPr also helps to improve court administration by extending videoconferencing across the court system using ViPr's recently enhanced 15- way conferencing feature.

"In the past, we needed a roomful of equipment and an IT expert for video hearings. It was unwieldy and expensive," said Abdiel Ortiz, chief technical officer for the 13th Judicial Circuit. "Now, we simply wheel a ViPr into a courtroom, plug it into the network and I have everything I need in one simple, compact, high-fidelity package. Marconi's ViPr provides a high- quality videoconferencing experience with an intuitive user interface that our judges and courtroom personnel find very easy to use with very little training."

Marconi partnered with Presidio, a Marconi systems integrator based in Greenbelt, Md., for a complete integration services and equipment solution for the 13th Judicial Circuit.

"ViPr's high-quality, ease of use and portability made it the perfect videoconferencing solution for the courts," said Presidio spokesperson Mike McClelland. "In addition, ViPr's flexibility in being able to operate over either ATM or Gigabit Ethernet made it very simple to integrate with the court system's network and other network applications."

ViPr combines the immediacy of a telephone call with the impact of video, utilizing digital high-fidelity audio and DVD-quality video in an integrated video telephony platform that provides users with an experience they perceive as virtual presence. ViPr pioneered the use of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) technology and remains the only SIP-based multiparty desktop video telephony platform. ViPr also is the only multiparty video telephony platform that eliminates the Multi-point Control Unit (MCU), a costly device that traditional videoconferencing products require for multiparty calls. The MCU also introduces delay that makes real-time video telephony impossible. Eliminating the MCU allows ViPr to deliver critical real-time communications such as remote hearings, where participants must see every gesture and vocal nuance conveyed with digital accuracy.

"ViPr's ease-of-use and engineering breakthroughs, such as eliminating the Multi-point Control Unit, is helping users to improve their productivity by enhancing the speed and quality of their decision-making," said Joe Ferrara, vice president of marketing for Marconi's Broadband Routing and Switching group. "ViPr is one of the products that uses the power of broadband networks to lead the way to a new, more productive communications experience."