Businesses rely heavily on high-tech communications centers to keep in touch with their branch offices and clients via video, while having information at their fingertips through computer data banks, the Internet and fax machines -- resources as indispensable today as filing cabinets and calculators were several years ago.
Computer Sciences Corp.'s Executive Briefing Center is a $5 million complex that features many of the latest communications devices. At this 36,000-square-foot facility in Fairfax, the company is taking business-client relations to a new level.
Each of seven conference rooms has state-of-the-art conferencing equipment that allows CSC consultants to confer with their clients face to face without either leaving their own offices.
The idea behind this briefing center is "global connectivity." The CSC center enables the firm to supply its clients anywhere in the world with hands-on demonstrations or the latest research from the company. For example, consultants in the center can use a split screen to talk with a distant client while showing slides or video that the client also can see. CSC staffers in the conference rooms, which hold 12 to 98 people, can watch television news broadcasts, go on the Internet or hold a teleconference with multiple clients.
CAPTION: Video cameras set up behind the glass are linked to a control room (see inset). These cameras transmit images of clients or consultants who can't be present in the conference room, as well as slides for presentations.
CAPTION: To facilitate video teleconferencing, each seat at the table is wired with electrical telephone and modem outlets to connect to both the Internet and CSC's intranet. A microphone is embedded in the table surface in front of each seat.
CAPTION: Screens show presentations at the various conference rooms.
CAPTION: The largest of seven conference rooms. This is an auditorium that can seat up to 98 people for video teleconferencing.
CAPTION: Split screens simultaneously can show ongoing presentations as well as clients or consultants who aren't present in the room. They also can serve as television sets.
CAPTION: Controller Larry Brewer monitors the activities in the various conference rooms. Controllers also direct satellite images fed by consultants or clients in remote offices into the appropriate room.