Government goes to video … shouldn’t you?

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Government goes to video … shouldn’t you?
This article first appeared on Best in UC. The federal government is embracing video conferencing in lieu of travel by government employees. Wouldn’t the same strategy work in your business? Check out this recent LifeSize blog post on the latest efforts by President Obama to encourage video conferencing by government workers. I applaud his direction and would certainly hope that he immediately curtails his travels and that of his family to show us a good example! The use of video technology to campaign for re-election would speak volumes about the president’s dedication to save taxpayer money and reduce carbon emissions. That 747 really churns out the hydrocarbons, and we have to breathe in his exhaust as he circumnavigates the globe. There are measurable savings to be realized by avoiding travel and using technology to communicate instead. But as the LifeSize blog points out, these savings can only be realized if employees have ready access to the technology. Having a dedicated “video room” somewhere in a large building that is impossible to schedule is not the way to encourage usage. Neither is having only a fraction of your offices nationwide equipped with standards-based technology that allows interoperability between agencies, suppliers and constituents. We have seen great take rate and usage of video technology by various federal, state, and local agencies by bringing the resources closer to end-users. We do this by incorporating well-designed carts from Avteq, combined with wired and wireless technology from Juniper and Ruckus Wireless. This way, the resource can be easily moved from room to room, and even deployed in open foyer areas without restrictions on availability of Ethernet jacks or specialized cabling. Standards-based systems such as LifeSize also encourage interoperability between existing endpoints and incorporates new devices as well. We even have suitcase-based units for deployment in harsh environments or use in secure areas. In addition, the melding of video and unified communications technologies allow employees  to incorporate the use of desktop, laptop, tablet and handheld technologies to attend and interact in the video conferencing activities, bringing the technology even closer to the end-users. The investment model of building the networks, both local and wide area to support this increased activity is becoming more justifiable as well. Bandwidth, both wired and wireless, is still deceasing in cost, and the video codecs are becoming more and more efficient. The opportunities for savings for not only government agencies, but those that support them are nothing more than spectacular. Your unified communications (UC) vendor can serve as a clearinghouse for all things video. We can install a full telepresence room if required, or enable a remote worker with nothing more than a smartphone at their disposal. We wrap this technology in a blanket of security, and we provide cloud-based or managed services for those agencies or organizations that do not have the staff or the budget to deploy and ride herd on this technology themselves. There is no reason not to join the connected generation and start saving dollars immediately!

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