General Requirements for State/County Collaboration Video
This document is provided to counties considering the development
of video conference centers as part of the Telecommunications
Collaboration Project. It provides general requirements for the set
up and operations of a collaboration project video conference center.
Counties may elect to develop a video facility at their own expense,
if they are unable to meet these general requirements.
- Counties are not required to establish video rooms as part of
their participation in the project. The project focuses on leveraging
data networking service needs among state and county partners in the
project and a video center need not be established to participate in
- Counties that choose to establish collaboration video rooms will
find it necessary to:
- Implement access for state data services on county-run LANs prior
to or at the same time as the development of the county's
video conference center,
- Meet MN.IT Distance Meeting Service (DMS) video service requirements
for video conferencing equipment and maintenance plans (detailed in
- Provide adequate staffing to provide quality support services to
all video customers using their site.
- Counties with collaboration video sites will need to operate under
the following event support guidelines.
- Counties will support state partners' requests for county video
room access. Counties should make reasonable efforts to accommodate
state partners' access requests.
- Counties will not charge a video site room rental fee to a remote
state partner for a video event if there is a mutual interest between
the county and state partners in the content of the event. Any
charges must be mutually agreed upon at the time of booking the video
event. Typically, if a representative of the county were a local
participant in the event, then there would be a mutual interest.
- Counties may choose to charge a discounted room rental fee of
$35 per hour (FY98 rate) to the state partner if the county has no
interest in the content of the event. Room rental charges are
optional at the county's discretion. Room rental fees will be billed
by MN.IT and credited to the county's monthly invoice.
- Counties may choose to charge the discounted room rental fee
($35) to a state partner who does not have a video room of their
own, or is using a county site in lieu of their own to host a video
- Counties are strongly encouraged to make their rooms available for
events to other government and educational users and at the county's
option, may use standard room rental rates ($65 per hour) for these
Video Conference Operational Guidelines for County Sites
This section expands upon the above general requirements for
state/county collaboration video conference sites. The collaboration
project provides counties with wide-area networking services for data
and video connections. Video conference facilities established under
the collaboration project should be developed as a countywide
resource, which can be funded by county, cost savings and program
County video facilities should be available for a range of uses and
users both within county government and with the public sector in the
region. These guidelines present the development and accessibility
requirements for county video conference sites participating in this
As part of this project, each county partner is responsible for
contributing $300 per month towards the recurring expense of these
network services; this amount represents between 10 per cent and 15
per cent of the total recurring network expense. The remaining
wide-area networking expenses are paid by state agency partners.
One-time installation charges are also shared among state and county
partners. Counties choosing to develop a video conference center are
responsible for the cost of building and operating county
video conference room facilities.
Counties establishing a video conference center will need to:
- Select a room location (or multiple locations) and create an
operating policy for the rooms that allows for access to all county
divisions and local collaboration project state agency partners.
- Buy and maintain a video conference room system(s) approved for use
as an MN.IT Distance Meeting Service site.
- Prepare the room(s) to be used for video conferencing to meet
general standards for acoustics, lighting and networking.
- Designate sufficient staff to support the administration and
operations of the video conference center.
Each of these operational guidelines are expanded upon below.
Questions regarding these guidelines may be directed to the MN.IT Video
Video Room Location and Operating Policies
- It is preferred that county collaboration project video conference
rooms be dedicated for use as a video conference room. Video rooms
should be capable of supporting a minimum of six local participants in
a video event.
- If it is not possible to designate a dedicated room, a general
purpose meeting room can be used, as long as it is not so heavily
scheduled (15 hours or more of regular meetings per week) that it is
not readily available for video events. It is recommended that
specialized rooms (i.e., courtrooms, board rooms) not be used
unless these rooms are readily available and adaptable to video
conferencing. Video events should take priority over non-video events
when a multi-purpose room is used as a video conference center.
- Video conference rooms should be available for use by all county
divisions, and collaboration project member agencies (state agency
- It is preferred that collaboration project video rooms also be
available for rent to any public sector organization.
- Video rooms will maintain a strict policy of first come-first
served in regards to scheduling the county video room for an event.
Collaboration project rooms have a No Bumping policy where
scheduled events have priority over all other uses. Events should be
able to be scheduled up to six months in advance of the event date.
- Video conference rooms should be generally available during normal
business hours, 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday (and excluding public
holidays). Multi-purpose video conference rooms should have at least
25 business hours per week of availability for video conferences.
Time of day or day of week restrictions not relating to specific,
regularly held county meetings should not be set as part of the
county's operating policies.
- Room rental policies
- In all instances, video conference room rental charges will be
negotiated and agreed-to among participants at the time of scheduling
- Counties should develop a method for covering on-going operating
costs for the video center. Costs can be covered as an annual general
administrative overhead expense or on a usage by county division. If
the county develops an internal bill-back method for cost allocation,
it should be administered by the county.
- Counties should not charge another collaboration project partner
room rental fees for a video event if the county has a direct interest
and/or participation in the video event.
- Counties may charge collaboration project partners a reduced room
rental rate of $35.00 per hour for video events in which the county
has no interest. These room rental charges are optional at the
county's discretion will be billed by MN.IT and credited to county
- Counties may charge standard room rental rates ($65.00) to any
public sector organization that is not a collaboration project
partner. These room rental charges are optional at the county's
discretion will be billed by MN.IT and credited to county monthly
- Counties may choose to charge video conference event charges (per
the MN.IT rate schedule) as mutually agreed-to by the participating
parties in a video event.
Video Conference Room Systems Guidelines
- Counties should purchase video conference room systems from an
MN.IT-approved list and a state-managed vendor using a state contract.
- It is advised that video conference room system owners select an
annual maintenance agreement from an approved state vendor that
provides for software maintenance, and one-day advance parts
replacement. Vendors may provide maintenance at various service
levels. Video sites without a maintenance contract will be
responsible to pay time and materials or possibly replace a whole unit
at full cost.
Video Room Facility Guidelines
- Counties should make reasonable efforts to create a
video conference room that is well lit, acoustically quiet, and
furnished appropriately for two-way interactive video conferencing
- Video equipment vendors can provide specific video site
recommendations to the county relating to equipment and facility
needs. MN.IT will assist in this process.
- MN.IT can provide the county with background documents on video
conference facility guidelines and room layout recommendations.
- Video conference rooms should met ADA accessibility guidelines.
Staffing and Support Guidelines
- Counties should designate one or more Room Contact(s), one or more
Scheduling Contact(s), one or more Technical Contact(s), and a Billing
Contact (see the Roles document) responsible
for establishing and operating the video conference site.
- Counties should designate staffing levels three people deep for
the Room, Scheduling, and Technical Contact roles.
- Counties will ensure that a trained Room Contact is immediately
available at all times while an event is in progress.
- MN.IT will provide training to county personnel responsible for a
video site. The video equipment vendor will provide training and
support on the operation of county video conference room system
- MN.IT will provide sites with best practices documentation as
made available by the video services administrative users group.
State Partners in the State/County Collaboration Project
- Department of Corrections
- Department of Economic Security
- Department of Health
- Department of Human Services
- Department of Public Safety, including the BCA and CrimNet
- Department of Transportation
- Secretary of State