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Getting smarter via long distance

June 9, 2009
at 10:38 am PST

The economy may have finally bottomed out lately, but no one would say we’re out of the rough. That means that agencies will continue to count pennies and look for ways to stretch budgets.

But keeping a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality for your constituents or for your employees. Often a potential budget buster is training because of the ancillary costs, such as travel and expanding space to accommodate growing class sizes. But there are ways to keep your staff up-to-date on the latest techniques and requirements without incurring travel costs, subsequent downtime for participants or space concerns.

Video teleconferencing (VTC) is a great alternative for the agency that wants to keep costs down, while providing quality training and real-time collaboration for career advancement and problem solving. In fact, VTC can be used to allow senior staff members to help newer employees work through issues, learn job functions and expand their knowledge no matter where they are in the world.

The key is implementing a state-of-the-art VTC solution that integrates voice, video and web capabilities. In addition, if your agency is one of the many that requires high communications security, look for a VTC solution that meets National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) FIPS-validated AES and DES encryption levels. For even higher security levels, your VTC solution should allow you to integrate Type 1 encryption directly into video endpoints.

Another area for key consideration is open standards – they aren’t just for personal computers or mobile devices. Look for a VTC solution that not only embraces open standards, but also accommodates multi-vendor interoperability and leverages existing network infrastructures. This will allow an agency to efficiently integrate video, voice, and web components, including user endpoints, network platforms, and centralized management software.

Taking it beyond the “nuts and bolts” and into the field, so to speak, is also tantamount for success, particular with on-the-job training or real-time collaboration for problem solving. Search for a VTC solution that can go from the war room to the field with a mobile solution or on a laptop computer and one that is compatible with any type of network — including IP, ISDN, hybrid IP/ISDN, satellite, or wireless Ethernet.

In our next post, we’ll explore the math behind the cost savings of training by VTC vs. sending your employees to a training session. We’ll also look at how agencies are deploying distance learning solutions.

Does your agency make training a priority? Is the economy affecting your training budget?

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