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Council Committee makes history using video conferencing to unveil new tools available to King County


“Cloud” computing services highlighted in partnership between County, Microsoft


The Metropolitan King County Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee made history today by holding its meeting both inside and outside Council Chambers through the use of Microsoft Live Meeting. “This was an exciting day for the County,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, Chair of the Committee. “Since this was the first Council committee to use Live Meeting to deliver a presentation, it’s an historic step toward embracing the technology available to the County.”

The committee used the video conferencing technology of Microsoft Live Meeting to unveil the new Enterprise Agreement between King County and Microsoft to consolidate the County’s licensing agreements into a single, unified system and provide cloud computing services to county employees.

“The technology tools we saw demonstrated today are a huge step forward for technology use and efficiency in King County government and I’m very excited to explore how we can use this technology to better serve our constituents,” said Lambert. “For example, in the legislative branch we are considering ways to use Live Meeting to allow constituents to meet with us without having to come downtown.”

The agreement that committee members were briefed on will replace the county’s prior licensing arrangements, which were largely conducted individually by county agencies, and according to King County Chief Information Officer Bill Kehoe, were not very cost effective. The agreement will allow the county to leverage its buying power to consolidate agreements into one single, multi-year licensing contract that will be made available to county employees. As a result, the county expects to see lower maintenance and support costs.

“Today’s briefing using Live Meeting, is an example of one of the many efficiencies and productivity improvements the new Microsoft Enterprise Agreement will bring to County employees,” said Kehoe

The agreement’s other component involves access by the county to a powerful set of standardized communication tools, Office Live Meeting, Office Communicator, and Microsoft SharePoint—all running in the cloud. Cloud computing is becoming an increasingly popular method for people to collaborate and access information. Instead of working off a hard drive or server, programs are delivered securely through the Internet — hence, in the cloud.

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