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January 02, 2013

In Step with Reduced Budgets, More Federal Agencies Deploy Video Conferencing

By Erin Harrison
Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

While private enterprises are faced with reduced IT budgets, in the public sector, there is even more pressure to do more with less when it comes to IT and communications.  Coupled with reduced travel budgets, video conferencing is becoming an attractive option for government and private businesses alike – with federal agencies in particular facing strict budgetary cuts. 

For example, earlier this year, the Office of Management and Budget required agencies to cut travel spending by 30 percent and called for greater conference oversight, according to a recent FCW report.

Video conferencing is also being used by the justice system, which allows prisons to save costs on having to transport prisoners to and from hearings, according to Joel Brazy, account executive at audiovisual systems integrator Advanced AV. He told FCW he has seen a niche market emerge among prisons and courts.

“Because of the cost of transporting prisoners, they are looking at ways to invest in videoconferencing,” Brazy told FCW. “In general, government agencies are really getting behind videoconferencing.”

The increasingly virtual workforce has led to growth in adoption of applications such as VoIP, unified messaging, video conferencing and web conferencing. With the right conferencing solution, organizations can benefit from a smooth multi-person response, making remote conferencing easy on listeners and talkers alike.

However, the costs of implementing a video conferencing system can be staggering – but there are also ways to implement virtual conferences without having to invest in a new system altogether. For example, companies like Adobe, Cisco (News - Alert), and IBM offer streaming and web conferencing software that provide videoconferencing capabilities for desktop PCs and mobile devices.

Security is another obstacle for organizations considering video conferencing, Brazy added. He said his firm hasn’t seen much interest in the consumer-grade conferencing solutions due to security concerns.

“A lot of the government agencies interface with [the Department of] Homeland Security in some form or another,” he said, according to the report.

In other conferencing news, Vidtel (News - Alert) recently entered into a partnership with another video conferencing manufacturer, VTEL, which interoperates with its services, TMCnet reported. Gone are the days when you had to travel long distances to attend a conference or meeting, as with video conferencing going mainstream, it’s no longer the prerogative of only the “rich and famous.”

As a result of the partnership, VTEL’s customers can employ MeetMe and conduct business-grade multiparty video conferencing spanning a variety of equipment vendors and service providers, without having to bother about endpoint, platform or service.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli


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