As we continue to see reduced or flat IT budgets and the economy continues to be stalled, many cities and states, such as California, are faced with reducing costs even more.
Smart governments are also looking at how to maximize any existing technologies they already have to meet the Obama Administration's call for accountability and transparency. Many of them are looking at video conferencing as a way to bolster communication efforts, and some are looking to take it beyond its use as a "conference room only" tool.
Now more than ever, video can serve many purposes, including the need to be mobile and interoperable. We continue to see reports of the H1N1 virus spreading despite the summer weather, and the possibility looms that it could re-emerge with a vengeance in the fall. A report earlier this month noted that three workers at the Washington Post have been asked to work from home due to the H1N1 virus. This scenario, along with possible travel restrictions, will become more common as we continue to attempt to curb its spread.
Mobile video conferencing solutions are a great way to add onto existing networks and allow your agency to continue its mission-critical efforts in a telework or travel restricted environment. Smaller portable units can be used in home or for travel, and mobile units can be used on a wireless network. These technologies offer integration into existing tools like Microsoft OCS, which many agencies already own and can help them stay within budget.
So if these budget-tightening trends continue, integration with existing technologies will be key. If you already own video conferencing technology, there are ways to augment what you already have and make use of that existing technology while providing new services.