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United Effort to Help Families in Greater Philadelphia Stay in Touch over the Holiday Season and New

Reaching Out with Video Email

Local businesses and institutions in the Philadelphia region of Pennsylvania are teaming up to bring local families face-to-face with their loved ones stationed overseas this holiday season and New Year. The initiative is a pioneering effort in the Greater Philadelphia region by Nancy Vinkler, who operates the local office of WSI Internet Consulting and Education, a global leader and provider of Internet solutions for small and medium sized businesses worldwide. While many servicemen and women stay in touch using phone cards and e-mail, the idea behind this venture is to use the Internet to allow video-taped messages to be sent through e-mail, as well as providing live conferencing over the Internet.

“Anyone overseas is lonely right now. Any kind of family contact is good,” said Vinkler, who got the WSI corporate office to back her plan. The upcoming holiday season inspired Nancy to find a way to use the technology she works with every day to provide better, more meaningful communications to individuals in the military who are serving the country in other parts of the world. “Our plan is to reach out to military families whose family member is away over the holidays and New Year.” she said.

The event details are available on
Local family members interested in sending out video emails to their loved ones can come to the First Financial and Willow Grove Bank, 101 Witmer Road, Horsham, PA office who have generously offered to host the location for the filming. Dates for filming are from December 19th, 2005 through the end of January 2006, Monday through Friday from 9:00am until 4:00pm. Contact Joyce Magyar at 215-643-5696 ext3416.

Nancy Vinkler of WSI will provide the technology required to create a video of up to four minutes for any family and an opportunity to include a video email message. WSI will place the message in their video vault and send it to the email address specified by the sender. Vinkler also hopes to use her company’s web conferencing products to eventually connect troops with their families online. Web conferencing allows people to speak and see each other in real-time through a Web page. While the technology is readily available statewide, computers at military bases overseas may not have the equipment at this time. “I’ve already been warned that we may not have enough time to get the equipment over there” for this holiday season, said Vinkler, but it’s something she still plans to pursue.

WSI’s corporate office is hoping that a pilot program of this kind this year will eventually spread nationwide and into Canada.