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Green is the new black at GTC West

This past week, the TANDBERG public sector team was in Sacramento, CA for GTC West: The California Digital Government Summit. Previously a show focused on technology and IT solutions for better and more effective government on the west coast however, this year the show focused exclusively on California. The event was also much smaller than in previous years, with only California decision makers in attendance and walking the floor.

This year’s event focused on some very large challenges California needs to overcome. The state is currently struggling with a significant budget crisis, all while being looked to by constituents for increased social services, and the nation to be a leader in some important social issues.

With the budget strapped, the conversation at this year’s conference focused heavily on cloud computing, datacenter consolidation and other technologies and strategies that can cut costs and help the government operate more effectively and efficiently. As the home to many energy-conscious celebrities and green activists, California is also looking for technologies that can help cut their carbon footprint and help the environment, without breaking the bank in a tough economy.

This drive to go green was one of the reasons why Charles Roberts, the West Coast Personal Telepresence and Unified Communications Manager at TANDBERG was invited to speak at the Using Technology to Build a Sustainable Government session. The session focused on the technologies that can help the state go green, and video teleconferencing (VTC) is one the technologies leading the way.

By embracing VTC technologies, states like California can facilitate and communication between government employees and offices miles away without the need for travel. This cuts down on the emissions from cars and planes, without damaging collaboration and cooperation inside the government.

VTC can also enable telework, by enabling employees working off-site from different locations to communicate as if they’re in the same room. This cuts down on the need for employees to commute, taking cars off the road and emissions out of the air. With employees able to work effectively out of the office, government office could also be shuttered for an additional day or two per week. This reduces the amount of resources being used by the office from power, to printer paper, to disposable Styrofoam cups.

But there’s an additional benefit to all of this great greenness. By reducing the need for travel by government employees, cutting the use of resources and taking cars off the road, the cash-strapped state is lining its pockets through cost savings.

The less frequently government employees travel, the less the government needs to reimburse them for travel costs, and the less it has to spend to fuel and repair fleet vehicles. The less resources being used in government offices means a reduction in utility bills and the cost of office supplies. Taking government employees off the roads also means a significant decrease in the need for road repairs and other transportation infrastructure improvement projects.

VTC solutions are breaking down the walls between government cost cutting and environmental initiatives. By making government more effective and efficient, VTC is enabling a new way of working and caring for our planet.

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