Georgia’s 11 trade representatives abroad unanimously endorsed the state’s Regional Export Conferencing Network (ReCon) during their visit here last week, even if those based in Mexico City and Shanghai have to wait for their cities to have ISDN telephone lines installed.

      The video and data conferencing system enables representatives of local companies to participate in face-to-face international meetings with the state’s representatives or their overseas customers from any of the Georgia communication sites.

      Sites are operational already in Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Clayton, Dalton and Gainesville.  Others are scheduled for Albany, Brunswick, Columbus, Savannah and Valdosta.

      Robert T. Erwin, Jr., the project’s director at the  Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (GDITT) praised Intel Corp.’s technology, which enables the users to interact on their computer screens without any concern of the distances which separate them.  According to Mr. Erwin, the system lets its users do almost everything they would in person, except shake hands.

      The computer is what powers the video conferencing, so every time the power of the computer goes up, the quality improves, he added during an interview with GlobalFax at the World Trade Center where the representatives participated in discussions about business opportunities in their respective markets.

      And remember, he said, it’s not just audio and video it’s also sharing data — architects and engineers could work together on CAD (computer aided design) drawings and mark them up. Other examples of work which may be done over the system include: editing contracts or budget spreadsheets and multimedia presentations.

      The representatives in Canada and Europe were the first tied into the system, but in recent months those in Israel, Japan, Malaysia,  South Africa, and Taiwan also have been included.  Because ReCoN is an open system, it also is available in countries where the state does not have trade representatives.

      Representatives of companies who wish to try out the system may use computers at GDITT’s offices and the U.S. Export Assistant Center, located in the Marquis II Tower downtown.

      To date ReCon has been funded through grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the U.S. Department of Commerce and GDITT, but the network is expected to become self-supporting.

      Mr. Erwin may be reached by calling GDITT at (404) 656-0632, fax, (404) 651-6505.  For more information, call tollfree 1 (800) 976-7842.  The service’s web page address is