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Ensuring Secure Telepresence for the Mobile Federal Worker

November 7, 2011 at 6:35 am PST

The General Services Administration (GSA) has had its telework initiative in the pipeline for some time now, but it recently became official: the vast majority of GSA employees are now eligible to telework, and managers need to implement policies that support remote workers.

The GSA telework mandate is an exciting step forward, leading the way for other federal agencies to realize the benefits of telework, which include increased employee satisfaction and productivity. Empower teleworkers with collaboration technologies like telepresence and they enjoy the best of both worlds—no commute, but the same collegiality and interaction with co-workers and supervisors they would have if they worked in a building together. 

There is one more factor that plays into fine-tuning the telework machine, however. GSA and other agencies can face challenges in determining their technology protocols. As mobile technology takes over, and as people express personal preferences for particular smartphones and tablets, agencies have to weigh employee ease and comfort against potential security risks. The “Bring Your Own Device” to work movement has momentum and merit; it simply requires careful planning. Read More »

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GSA Centers Bring Telepresence to the Federal Government

October 20, 2011 at 7:50 am PST

Back in July, I wrote about the federal government’s General Services Administration’s (GSA) plan to install 15 telepresence centers in federal buildings around the country.  Well, I’m excited to report those sites are up and running!

Outfitted with Cisco TelePresence, the sites allow federal employees to conduct face-to-face, real time meetings with colleagues in faraway locations without incurring any travel expenses. Participants can share electronic documents and presentations, discuss strategy, and look each other in the eye across the virtual table. The GSA sites are open to employees from agencies that register to use the telepresence system.

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Telepresence enhances performance whether market booms or busts

July 11, 2011 at 8:54 am PST

According to a recent article in ARN, economic resurgence following the recent global financial crisis has opened wide the Australian telepresence market. Already a telepresence pioneer in terms of education, the Australian telepresence market is now also taking off in government, banking and financial services, utilities and mining, health care, and professional services, the article said.

The story focused on a study by Frost & Sullivan analysts who looked at trends in the videoconferencing market, which includes telepresence. They found revenues increased by 33 percent in 2010 and predicted the Aussie videoconferencing market would more than triple by 2017.

While we are excited about the increasing economic confidence and concurrent eagerness to adopt telepresence, it’s worth noting that telepresence technology can also act as an austerity measure. Take the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which recently began installing telepresence in 15 sites around the country. GSA wants to increase telepresence use as a cost-cutting measure, in response to budget cuts, according to Fierce Government IT. The telepresence centers will enable more teleworking and lessen the need for expensive business travel.

The fact that governments, businesses, manufacturers, schools, and health care networks all seek to adopt telepresence technology—some as an upgrade, others as a money-saver—demonstrates the versatility of the technology. Telepresence crosses economic lines, meets multiple needs, and makes communication more efficient and convenient. It’s exciting to be part of the revolution! Do you agree?

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