ACS New York Section

Information Technology Committee

2008 Annual Report

The Information Technology Committee focused in 2008 on enabling and facilitating virtual meetings using WebEx in the New York Section, in accord with the suggestions of the Long Range Planning Committee, chaired by Dr. Hiroko Karan.  Whereas Skype had previously had a free meetings capability, it no longer offers such.

It is believed that by taking advantage of the large contract which ACS has with WebEx, this program could be used at reasonable cost by the Section.  Denise Creech, Director of Membership and Scientific Advancement at ACS, has previously agreed to allow the NY Section to be a test case for the use of WebEx by local sections.

Steps Taken During 2008:

Information Gathering:  A number of conversations with Alicia Harris of National ACS resulted in:

*  The NY Section will be billed for the use of the phone in its WebEx meetings, not for use of the software and its various capabilities.
*  The charge for 2008 was $ 0.075/minute/participant/conference.  This corresponds to $4.80/hour/participant/WebEx conference.
*  Hence 10 people in conference for an hour would cost the section $48.  Correspondingly, six people in conference for 42 minutes would cost:  $0.075 * 42 * 6 = $18.90.
*  This phone charge is cheaper than the use of Chorus Call or other teleconference services.  
*  If the Section sets up its own telephone conferencing, e.g., between two or three participants who can do this using their own phones, then there is no charge.


*  WebEx Sessions were held with Dr. Marc Walters, Chair of the Section, and Dr. Hiroko Karan, Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee.  
*  Discussion was held with Dr. Neil Jespersen, Manager of the Section, who had some previous knowledge of WebEx.


* Frank Romano and Anne O’Brien both have very considerable experience hosting such conferences.
* Dr. Marc Walters and Dr. Hiroko Karan practiced hosting WebEx sessions in 2008, so that they would be comfortable doing such for the Section.

Accounting Processes:

* These were established with National ACS in Washington, such that use of the passwords associated with the New York Section would result in charges to the Section for telephone communication used via WebEx.


* Alicia Harris of ACS set up account(s), and sent passwords for the use of the NY Section by its Chair, Dr. Marc Walters, and its Manager, Dr. Neil Jespersen.

Overall Comment:
New York is a relatively large Section; it takes hours, literally, to get from one end to another.  As time and cost of travel pressures increase, and as members’ habits evolve, it will be imperative for the Section to gain experience in alternative ways of meeting – such as the use of WebEx conferences.  This can save the Section, and its members, both money (food, travel, gas, rooms, etc.) and a great deal of time.  It will also facilitate expertise with technologies of interest to the young, whom it hopes to attract to membership.

Respectfully Submitted,
Anne T. O’Brien