Electronic Collaboration Task Force

While the Task Force is no longer active, CITA continues to address these issues. Please contact us for information.


CITA, the Community Information and Telecommunications Alliance, has initiated the development of CTF, a statewide Electronic Collaboration Task Force. CITA's partners include ATIC, the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council; and ALTP, the Arizona Learning Technology Partnership. Over 70 business, government, K-16 education, health care, military and nonprofit organizations are participating.


To accelerate adoption of, and advise and assist Arizona Enterprises in the practical application of new collaboration and conferencing technologies that will support Arizona's educational, economic and community development.


No doubt about it. Keeping up with the latest and greatest technologies will become essential to any organizations productivity and economic vitality. The trend in computing and communications is clear conferencing, collaboration and distributed learning technologies are the next wave. These technologies will enable new electronic partnerships and new models for learning that will support Arizona's educational, economic and community development. For example, these technologies will:

  • enable Virtual meetings with clients, boards, associations and "industry clusters" that will reduce travel, save time and money and increase meeting participation

  • enhance communication, decision making, teamwork and strategic partnerships

  • expedite product development, sales and customer support

  • enable distance learning, new K-18 learning opportunities, school-to-work relationships and workforce development programs

  • improve access to government and community services

  • support telemedicine, telecommuting, Computer Aided Design and more

The Task Force will specifically explore the support of Virtual Cluster Meetings and other strategies to support the ten Industry Clusters such as Optics and Software that are the cornerstone of GSPED, the Governor's Strategic Partnership for Economic Development.

Clusters stimulate collaboration and the development of strategic alliances among industry members and with suppliers of materials, components or business services.

CTF, the Electronic Collaboration Task Force, will help accelerate adoption of, and advise and assist Arizona Enterprises in the practical application of new collaboration and conferencing technologies that will support Arizona's educational, economic and community development.

Foundation Groups such as the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council support the Clusters with resources and the development of infrastructure. Education, school-to-work and workforce development, including business-education partnerships such as the Arizona Learning Technology Partnership, are among GSPED's priorities.


It used to be that unless you were a technical wizard and with a large company with deep pockets, these technologies were not an option for you. While technology has become cheaper and easier to use, there are still barriers to widespread adoption of these technologies. Barriers include:

  • Technology Issues such as: Cost; Ease of use; Hardware and software requirements; Cross platform issues; Bandwith requirements; Maturity of the technologies; Compliance with standards; and

  • People Issues: such as Training needs; Awareness of tools; Attitudes towards technology.


  • Audio and video teleconferencing

  • Groupware and distributed group decision making tools

  • Data sharing including whiteboarding, document and application sharing, and file transfer

  • Web sites and Intranets

  • Webcasting (audio and video broadcast over the Internet)

  • Text based conferencing such as e-mail, Online chat rooms and usenet groups

  • Combinations of the above and more


  • Audio conferencing including speakerphones, Internet phones and conference bridges

  • Group and desktop video teleconferencing

  • Groupware including distributed group decision making tools (e.g., GroupSystems, Lotus Notes);

  • Collaboration tools including whiteboarding, document and application sharing (e.g. spreadsheets, word processors)

  • Inexpensive Internet audio, video and data conferencing

  • E-mail, including audio and video e-mail, e-mail to fax and list serves

  • Online chat rooms, usenet groups

  • Web sites and Intranets

  • Webcasting (audio and video broadcast over the Internet)

  • Follow up with research and the assessment of tools used

  • Resource Centers (Information, Training and Technical Support)


The Task Force will create awareness of the benefits and availability of collaboration technologies and develop the support resources to help overcome these barriers. To accelerate adoption of these technologies the Task Force will:

  • Identify and evaluate collaboration technologies

  • Use collaborative technologies in CTF activities

  • Become a testbed for adoption of these technologies

  • Explore the benefits and barriers to the use of these tools and processes

  • Explore the methods of surmounting barriers

  • Establish a mechanism to share information and resources

  • Stimulate development of partnerships and innovative strategies for the adoption of these technologies

  • Help groups and organizations adopt and integrate tools appropriate for their needs.


  • Comprehensive Web Site

  • Electronic Collaboration and Conferencing Centers

  • Decision Tree

  • Product demonstrations

  • Collaboration Pavilion - Tucson ITEC Expo -- April 1998


Challenge: All organizations, local, statewide or international, are faced with similar challenges - how to effectively engage geographically dispersed members/constituents in meetings and conferences. Due to the cost and travel time, many people are not able to attend meetings held in a single geographic location. The traditional thinking has been that if you are unable to travel to the meeting, you were plain out of luck. Today there are many new, and often inexpensive technological solutions to overcome these geographic barriers.

Solution: The Collaboration Task Force will develop Electronic Collaboration and Conferencing Centers in Tucson and Phoenix (and maybe other parts of the state) that will enable constituents of organizations to participate and collaborate electronically in local or statewide meetings and conferences. The Centers would support education and economic development organizations such as the Governors Strategic Partnership For Economic Development, the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council, the Arizona Learning Technology Partnership and industry clusters such as the Arizona Optics Industry and the High Tech Cluster. Participants will be able to engage in Virtual Meetings from designated centers or from their own office by video conference, audio conference, and Internet based conference and collaboration technology.

The Centers may include:

  • High End Group Video Conferencing

  • Desktop/ Internet based video conferencing

  • Audio conferencing including high quality speaker phones, access to free dial-in conferencing and Internet phone

  • Fax services

  • Group planning and decision making technologies such as Lotus Notes or Ventana Corp. GroupSystems collaboration technology

  • High speed Internet connectivity

  • Webcasting (broadcast over the Internet)

  • Document and application sharing

  • More...


The Task Force will develop a Comprehensive Web Site that will provide information and web links regarding collaboration and conferencing issues, applications, technologies, vendors, consultants and other resources. The Web Site may include a Decision Tree to help organizations select the appropriate technology to address their needs.


The Task Force will develop Collaboration and Conferencing Resource Centers that will provide information, technical support, product demonstrations, referrals to consultants and training resources to support the adoption of collaboration and conferencing technology.


The Task Force will coordinate expos, product demonstrations and utilize CTF meetings to highlight and demonstrate the latest in conferencing and collaboration hardware, software and applications.


Steve Peters

E-mail: stevepeters@theriver.com