Next Generation Collaboration: How Video Conferencing is Revolutionizing Local Government
We’ve all probably participated in a video conference – even if only to view a webinar or presentation. But sometimes it’s hard to picture the value of video conferencing beyond that simple application.
But unless you see unified communications in action, the concept is hard to get your arms around. Sure it helps people communicate better and it fosters collaboration, but how are local governments actually using video conferencing?
For the most part, local organizations are using video conferencing to change the way they operate and run their cities. They are saving money and becoming more efficient in this tough economy. They are also using it to make their communities safer.
Below are several real-world examples, which can help you see how UC can be used within your company or organization.
Local Government – Saving Money, Cutting Travel Costs
One of the fastest paybacks with UC is seen when an organization decides to move its meetings online with WebEx, telepresence or virtual conferencing.
A county in California, one that had workers spread out across 4,200 square miles, used to require employees travel to distant sites for staff meetings. This often meant employees had to travel 30 miles or more to meet with people in their own departments. Not only did they spend money to travel, but they also lost time they could have spent working to get to and from the meetings.
When county officials decided to move their meetings online using WebEx, they instantly cut the cost of meetings in half, a move that now saves the county more than $45,000 annually.
Making Communities Safer
A rather large Texas city has implemented a UC system in their courts and police system, which officials say has made their city safer. The IT department upgraded their system allowing video conferencing to stream to endpoints anywhere there is a live jack, rather than just having it available in certain connected points or rooms.
These end points have been extended to police patrol cars armed with laptops, allowing police officers to confirm identities by viewing photos to make sure the “bad guy” isn’t lying. The ability to video conference right from their laptop allows policemen to conference with a judge, speeding up the time it takes them to get a warrant. Previously the patrol officer would have to return to a station and wait to see a judge, which in a critical situation could mean the difference between catching a crook or allowing them to escape.
Judges are also using the system to communicate with citizens, eliminating the need for the citizen to make the trek downtown to discuss simple judicial matters like parking fines or uncontested traffic tickets. Instead, a citizen can go to an outlying center and video conference with a judge. This has saved the court, which might see 1,500 people a day, thousands of dollars and time.
Is your organization using video to its fullest? How are you using it within and outside of your organization? If you’re not presently using video, why not try out WebEx for free…seriously!
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