By 2nd Lt. Benjamin Soltisz
21st Communications Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE Colo. — Arthur Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Although magic is the norm for the 21st Space Wing, attendees of the Annual Awards Banquet were astonished to see Col. Miguel Colón and members of the 821st Air Base Group cheering on their nominees from the comfort of Thule Air Base’s conference room, located 3,758 miles northeast of Peterson Air Force Base.
With temporary duty funding restricted due to budget constraints and the number of locations around the globe, the 21st Space Wing faces challenges not encountered by most wings. Thule’s available bandwidth typically cannot support the data flow required for a live two-way video stream. To overcome this challenge, the 21st Communication Squadron needed to develop an innovative solution.
This solution involved a live, two-way video stream with the 821st Air Base Group, broadcast to all 23 geographically separated units over Defense Connect Online. DCO is the Defense Information Systems Agency’s web-based conferencing tool used by most of the Department of Defense for desktop video conferences. This innovation has never been used by the 21st Space Wing in a manner such as streaming an entire banquet ceremony. Live video stream encompasses installing a simple webcam and broadcasting at a lower resolution than a typical camera to capture the event.
The 21st Space Wing and the 21st Communications Squadron strive to provide the most efficient and cost-effective tools available to ensure the mission is accomplished and to always dominate the high ground.
This low bandwidth solution allowed more than 60 geographically separated 21st SW members to view the real-time category winner announcements without costing any additional funds. While not quite as good as being there, this innovative solution allowed all nominees to experience the annual award banquet through this virtual event. This innovative solution saved the 821st Air Base Group approximately $13,000 had their five nominees traveled to Peterson. The success of this event has paved the way for an increase in 21st Space Wing live video streams for other wing-wide events including commander’s calls and town halls. This solution will also decrease the apparent distance between Peterson and its 23 GSUs.