Federal Deficit Commission sees the light on VTC in government
The ongoing economic crisis has the American government scrambling to find discretionary funds for vital programs in an atmosphere of heightened concern over the budget deficit.
Last Monday, President Obama’s Federal Deficit Commission released a report detailing different ways the federal government can work towards reducing the deficit and getting our country back into the black. In what came as no surprise to us here at Break Down the Walls, the Commission said that one area where government spending can be cut and belts tightened was in travel.
According to an article in the Washington Examiner, in FY2001 the federal government spent approximately $9 billion on travel for mission-related business. In FY2006, that increased exponentially to just over $14 billion. That’s a lot of taxpayer dollars the government is spending for executives to fly across the globe, stay in hotels and eat meals.
In these trying economic times, and in light of our extreme national debt, its time for the federal government to take a step back and revaluate the amount of travel being done by federal employees. It’s also time for the government to begin embracing the technologies that could significantly cut the need for travel, and subsequently travel costs, over time. Technologies like Telepresence and video teleconferencing (VTC).
By embracing and implementing VTC and Telepresence solutions the government could continue to see the benefits to collaboration and communication that come from in-person meetings without the need for extraneous travel. That’s because these technologies enable face-to-face communication between individuals regardless of the distance separating them.
These technologies could essentially eliminate the need for a wide range of government travel. Training and other professional development content could be delivered via VTC directly to an employee’s office. Meetings between employees in different countries could be done face-to-face via Telepresence. The possibilities are nearly limitless.
With budgets tight and agencies looking to trim costs, it just makes sense to find cheaper, more effective alternatives to travel in the federal government. By embracing VTC and Telepresence, the government can operate more effectively and efficiently and save significant amounts of tax payer dollars. Now that’s a new way of working.