VirtualCourthouse.com Really Gets Virtual With Videoconferencing

by Brendan McKenna
06/13/12

Iocom, the Chicago company behind the Visimeet videoconferencing and collaboration tools, has partnered with VirtualCourthouse.com, a Maryland-based online mediation service. Iocom, established in 1998, develops, markets, and supports enterprise videoconferencing and collaboration software for multipoint communication.

VirtualCourthouse.com, founded in 2001, allows parties to submit disputed claims, responses, and supporting material in digital form to a neutral provider of alternative dispute resolution services for resolution. Currently, there are more than 300 mediators and arbitrators working with VirtualCourthouse.com to provide arbitration, mediation, neutral case evaluation, and settlement conference services.

VirtualCourthouse.com will be releasing a new version of its web-based mediation offerings this week, and Visimeet will play a substantial part in the upgrade. Retired Judge Monty Ahalt, CEO of VirtualCourthouse.com, says that version 3.0 will bring together a mediator's marketing, case management, and case presentation functions -- and will also provide secure messaging via video. The new version will also allow for multiparty video conferences.

As for pricing, Ahalt says that a mediator can use Visimeet videoconferencing when subscribing to the premium level or higher (starting at $5 per month; $60 per year) and conducting a VirtualCourthouse.com case. Parties pay a $50 filing fee, and the mediator pays an administrative fee of $50 or 8 percent of the mediators fee, whichever is greater. The standard (most basic) rate is $10 per year (or $1 per month).

Ahalt first became familiar with Iocom in the early 2000s while working with Professor Fredric Lederer and the Courtroom 21 Project at the William & Mary Law School. "I knew their work and was impressed." Ahalt, a former judge for the Prince George County Circuit Court, adds that the Visimeet help desk "was responsive and outstanding," another factor in the partnership with Iocom. Lederer is a Law Technology News board member. Courtroom 21, now known as the Center for Legal and Court Technology, is a joint project of William & Mary and the National Center for State Courts.

Tim Hackett, CEO of Iocom, said that Ahalt had been offering a "few less 'plug and play' conferencing options." Iocom approached the VirtualCourthouse.com team with the offer of an integrated solution for both video and audio-based conferences, and also provided "a customized look, administration, and pricing plan," Hackett adds.

Iocom continues to expand its videoconferencing options, having recently released an Android client. An iPad app will also soon be available. Hackett says that advancements in peripheral technology (such as cameras, audio devices, and so on), means that more advanced room systems are now possible. He speculates that "the industry is continuing to remove the limits of traditional videoconferencing. Interoperation is the big key, and a move away from hardware-based systems."

Read the original article at Law Technology News.



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