By Airman 1st Class Ryan Throneberry
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Active-duty Airmen at the joint base received the Microsoft Office Communicator program through the Air Mobility Command network Feb. 27.
What is this program and how does it work?
The OC provides an easy-to-use interface that enables users to communicate in real time through instant messaging, audio and video conferencing.
"Many Airmen new to AMC were disappointed we didn't have the program," said 1st Lt. Dempsey Bird, 87th Communications Squadron Plans and Resources, deputy flight commander. "With so much demand and its ability to bring people together, AMC pushed the software to the active-duty units."
The program should now be accessible to all AMC network users. Personnel may be required to restart their computers for the installation to be complete. Users will know the program has been installed if an oval with green arrows appears in the system tray on the windows desktop, generally located in the bottom right corner of the screen. The program works directly with a user's email account to provide a seamless transition of contact information.
The program is new to AMC but has been used successfully in other commands.
"I'm glad to see AMC has implemented this program," said Airman 1st Class Maria Schutt, 87th Mission Support Group knowledge operations manager. "While stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., I utilized the OC to quickly correspond with multiple people on a short notice."
The success other bases have seen with this program is based on the ease of use.
Users will be able to add co-workers and other points of contact to their profile for quick reference. Messaging someone is as simple as opening the program and double-clicking on the desired correspondent. A window will pop up, allowing individuals to correspond in real time.
For users who would like to go further with the program, audio and video chat capabilities are available. Units need to coordinate with their information technology equipment custodians to ensure compatible cameras and headsets are acquired.
The goal of the implementation is to allow Airmen to be more productive and save time through enhanced communication and collaboration capabilities by ensuring he or she will reach the right person, the right way.
"I had a lot of success using this program when I worked at the pentagon in 2009," said Scott Butcher, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center communications program manager. "Due to the enormity of the building, we found the office communicator to be a very useful tool to keep everyone in-the-know."
The OC can also expedite communication between units which are geographically separated.
"I think the biggest thing this program will help with here is the command and control aspect at the EC," said Butcher. "The EC has units all over the world so this added level of accessibility will be invaluable."
Such accessibility can pose a hindrance for Airmen with desk jobs. Misuse is a potential hurdle
"I can see the potential for this program to take a level of productivity away from our younger enlisted," said Tech. Sgt. Meeshenta Romaca, 87th Mission Support Group, Knowledge Operations, NCO in charge. "Those Airmen who have desk jobs will be more prone to use and abuse the program. If the program is used properly, however, it will be a great tool."
Users who are experiencing problems with this application can contact the 87th CS Focal Point at 754-2666.