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Interest in Video E-Mail Gets Boost During 'Give Thanks America' Tour
HOUSTON, December 6, 2001
A relatively new and unheralded technology, video e-mail, is gaining lots of attention this month as thousands of Americans nationwide send free recorded streaming messages of thanks and support to military personnel and other heroes in uniform as part of Give Thanks America.
In a recent CNET interview, Richard Doherty, director of research for The Envisioneering Group, a Seaford, N.Y.-based research firm, said the military began offering e-mail communications between enlisted soldiers and their families about 10 years ago. He said the technology has progressed since then, when soldiers had to line up for hours to access messages at a handful of PCs.
"Video e-mail is going to be used to reach, very likely, high thousands to tens of thousands of people who are in support roles outside of Afghanistan," Doherty said. "That is a breakthrough and should help make a lot of people feel better this season. It will probably expose people to a technology they (may) like to use even when their loved ones are stateside or several states away."
The initiative utilizes a high-tech solution from Compaq
"Video e-mail is an example of what the industry now calls 'access', or the convergence of computing and communications to create access to information anytime, anywhere," said Mike Larson, senior vice president and general manager of Compaq's Access Business Group. "Compaq is proud to be showcasing this technology in a way that will allow Americans to send thanks and praise to those in uniform who are fighting terrorism."
Give Thanks America was launched on December 4. Americans are communicating with troops overseas by creating video 'tickets' in standard e-mail messages. Because the technology uses embedded tickets, the actual e-mail file size is small and the video content may be viewed as soon as the e-mail message is opened.
The streaming media technology provided by the three companies is enabling families of military personnel to record video e-mail messages at Give Thanks America tour locations in cities across America during December. In addition, the general public can record digital video messages that can be viewed at www.givethanksamerica.com. Sites and times for all locations are available on the Web site.
Service men and women, who are identified by e-mail addresses provided by message senders, receive video e-mails directly. Within the e-mails are "video tickets" that recipients click on to play their messages.
Senders' digital video e-mail messages are edited on a Compaq Presario 5000T personal computer using a product called MyMovieSTUDIO. Then they are sent in compressed video form over the Internet using Sorenson Media's Vcast Webcasting service. Finally, the messages are stored, managed and delivered to their recipients by Digital Island's media network services.
Off-the-Shelf Technology Used
The technology used to make and send Give Thanks America video messages is available commercially to the general public. For instance, messages will be taped and edited using a Logitech QuickCam Pro 3000 camera and Compaq's Presario 5000T desktop with MyMovieSTUDIO software.
The video file and e-mail message are then sent to Sorenson Vcast, an automated Webcasting service that delivers compressed video content over the Internet. From there, the video e-mail is transmitted to the Digital Island network for distribution, via satellite, to land or ship by high-speed connection.
Each personal message is protected and only the recipient will be able to view its content. Generic messages are also uploaded to the Web site and are available for viewing by any member of the military and others in uniform.
The nationwide Give Thanks America tour kicked off in New York City and Washington, D.C. on December 4. The program also is taking place at sites in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Houston, New York, Salt Lake City, San Diego and San Jose on Dec. 7 through 9.
Starting at The Alamo in San Antonio on December 8, the mobile portion of the tour includes El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Lawton (OK) and Killeen (TX).
Compaq CEO Michael Capellas said the initiative grew out of employees' desire to honor the memory of five Compaq employees who were victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and to show their support for the military effort. More than 1,200 Compaq employees have volunteered to assist at the video recording sites.
About Sorenson Media
Sorenson Media was founded in April of 2000 to provide streaming media solutions that enable people anywhere to easily stream quality Web video. Sorenson Media is the recognized leader in video compression and streaming services that empower people to more expressly entertain, educate and communicate over the Web. With these innovative tools and services, Sorenson Media is in a unique position to drive mass-market adoption of Web streaming. For more information, please see: http://www.sorenson.com.
About Sorenson Vcast™
Sorenson Vcast is a Webcasting service that delivers compressed video content to anyone, anywhere over the Web. Vcast Video-on-Demand (VOD) was selected to support the "Give Thanks America" initiative because it automates the process for streaming pre-recorded video content globally. Additionally, Vcast Live offers streaming of live events in real time. For more information on Vcast services, please see: http://vcast.sorenson.com.
About Digital Island
Digital Island®, a Cable & Wireless company, is the industry's leading provider of 2Way Web Services that enable enterprises to leverage the Internet to increase the profitability of online operations, increase customer value and decrease costs. Digital Island provides robust managed hosting, content delivery and network infrastructure and applications required to transact, deliver, and manage profitable transactions and interactions. Digital Island leverages a global network of data centers, Cable & Wireless' advanced IP network reaching 70 countries and edge computers in 35 countries to lower transaction costs. Digital Island is headquartered in San Francisco. http://www.digitalisland.net
Founded in 1982, Compaq Computer Corporation ("Compaq") is a leading global provider of enterprise technology and solutions. Compaq designs, develops, manufactures and markets hardware, software, solutions and services, including industry-leading enterprise storage and computing solutions, fault-tolerant business-critical solutions, communication products, and desktop and portable personal computers that are sold in more than 200 countries. Information on Compaq and its products and services is available at http://www.compaq.com.