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Ongoing economic challenges have made all of us stop and take a good, long, discriminating look at our budgets and spending projections. And, hopefully, this will also be a time when good decisions are made, not just for today, but for tomorrow and for years to come.

This blog is designed to provide the government worker with tools and insight to help make those good choices for agencies and for constituents.

TANDBERG has been working with the U.S. government for decades – longer than any other video teleconferencing provider. We understand the challenges facing government workers, who are required to maintain mission-critical operations with limited budgets and resources.

Those limited resources shouldn’t stand in the way of innovation and collaboration and should never keep an agency from completing its mission – and they don’t most of the time. We have many stories of the hard work and ingenuity shown by government workers as they go about their daily task of keeping our great country running smoothly.

We’ll highlight how videoconferencing can be used to save money, increase productivity and maximize efficiencies and enable interoperability,. We’ll also share stories of how agencies and organizations across the country are using videoconferencing, and share with you the ways that your agency can keep pace with our new technology-focused administration, maintaining collaboration and communication at the forefront without straining your budget.

Welcome. Please join in the conversation, ask us questions, or tell us the story of how your agency uses videoconferencing to achieve mission-critical objectives.

The TANDBERG Public Sector team looks forward to engaging with you and hopes you visit often.

Joel Brunson, President, TANDBERG Public Sector

The Role of Visual Communications in Crisis Response

In response to the Swine Flu outbreak, many experts, journalists and bloggers have been discussing the role of video conferencing in business continuity plans. In addition to enabling employees to meet face-to-face with each other and customers without risking exposure, video also plays an important role in emergency preparedness and response.

This video of Strong Angell III, a flu pandemic emergency simulation, that took place in the city of San Diego in conjunction with San Diego University provides a great overview of the advantages of being visually enabled during a crisis from a variety of perspectives.

Ten Tips to Advance Business Goals and Reduce Environmental Impact

BikesOrganizations shouldn’t sideline their green agenda in order to focus on the economy. In honor of Earth Day, TANDBERG has developed Ten Tips to Advance Business Goals and Reduce Environmental Impact with Telepresence and Video Conferencing. Although there are plenty of well known “green practices” such as telecommuting, the entire list might suprise you. You can find it here.

For real examples of how organizations are using video conferencing and telepresence to reduce carbon emissions and advance business goals, and learn more about what you can do to reduce your own carbon footprint, >visit www.seegreennow.com.TANDBERG will even plant a tree through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees initiative to get you on your way to a greener future.

Obama Budget Cuts Highlight Benefits of Video Conferencing

Today, President Obama ordered his agency heads to identify and shave a collective $100 million in administrative costs from federal programs in a budget of well over $3 trillion.

Much of the announced cuts seem like no-brainers — mostly savings on travel, office equipment and redundancy. For example, The Department of Veterans Affairs canceled or delayed 26 conferences for a savings of almost $17.8 million. VA will be relying on less costly alternatives, such as video conferencing, as ways to complete training requirements.

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Lawyers Turn to Video as Economy Puts Pressure on Law Firms

Across the country, the recession is putting increasing pressure on law firms to slash spending and discount their services. Geoff Willard, a Northern Virginia lawyer who largely represents newly launched companies, illustrates how the Wal-Mart effect of discounting is playing out in the Washington region’s legal community. Willard left his job as partner at DLA Piper, a huge global blue-chip law firm, because, he said, he was fed up with the traditional business model that required it to annually increase rates and billable hours to finance ballooning profits and overhead.

Last fall, he joined a start-up “virtual” law firm that he said is much better suited to the current economic conditions: It does business mainly over the phone and through video conferencing. Because the firm lacks two of the biggest cost drivers — a prestigious brick-and-mortar office and associates — he said he is offering his clients substantial savings compared with what they paid before.

Besides saving money for clients, Willard said the firm is good for his home life, too. At his previous firm, he said, he worked 60 to 85 hours a week to keep up his billable time. Now he works 40 to 50 hours and has more time with his wife and two young daughters.He said he has the ability under the new arrangement to work less and make more money. Because overhead is so low, he keeps 85 percent of what he generates, he said, instead of 30 percent.

“I can go to my daughters’ piano lessons and tae kwon do practices,” said Willard, who kept 90 percent of his clients from his previous firm. “I have clawed back a significant part of my life.”

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