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Leon/Chicago map.

Video Technology Unites Immigrants, Families

BY OSCAR AVILA, Chicago Tribune

Rogelio Velazquez was in Chicago and his relatives were 1,500 miles away in León, Mexico, so a party seemed out of the question. But he found a way to celebrate his 42nd birthday with them anyway. He turned on the television. Or more precisely, a videoconferencing hookup. As Velazquez watched a wide-screen monitor here, a young niece in Mexico, squeezed on a couch with other relatives, chirped into the camera: "Uncle, we have a surprise."

To the strains of "Las Mananitas," a traditional Mexican birthday song, relatives held up an orange-flavored birthday cake to the camera. In Chicago, an employee at the videoconferencing center brought Velazquez his own piece of chocolate cake. Then, in a surreal scene, he blew out his candle while relatives in Mexico clapped wildly.

Each month, scores of Chicagoans book these sessions at special videoconferencing centers sprouting in ethnic neighborhoods to cater to immigrants. Using technology once exclusive to corporate executives, customers all over the country pay up to $80 an hour for virtual reunions with relatives from Mexico to Argentina.

Like the Internet, satellite television and other technological breakthroughs, videoconferencing has helped transform the immigrant experience by preserving bonds that might otherwise fray with distance and time. But Velazquez wasn't interested in the sociological dimensions. He only cared that he was able to hear the ribbing of his brothers, meet his young nephews and nieces and check in with his aging, beloved mother. "That was incredible," he said after the recent session at Face to Face Video Conferences. "You can pick up the phone, but it isn't the same."

Continued >>

Maximizing video architecture illustration.

W H I T E   P A P E R

Key Considerations for Maximizing Your Video Architecture

As more businesses consider implementing new video communication solutions or enhancing their existing solution, important decisions must be made. Knowing what questions to ask, and what features are important in a video architecture will help you make the best decisions for your company. This white paper gives a basic foundation for approaching the task of selecting the right video solution for your organization's requirements.

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TANDBERG Iowa Department of Homeland Security video. Click to play.


Video Conferencing for Government

See how TANDBERG's Grant Services has helped the Iowa Department of Homeland Security receive State Homeland Security Funding to develop a visual communication network for emergency response.

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TANDBERG Educator MXP photo.

TANDBERG modular solution ideal for education and corporate training.

Continued >>


TANDBERG Director MXP photo.

Rich media presentation tool for corporate, military and education applications.

Continued >>

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