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Multiple industries are seeing enormous benefits from conferencing. With reduced travel times, greater employee flexibility, and higher-quality communications, it’s not difficult to see why so many industries are turning to conferencing.
However, it’s not only private industries reaping the benefits – it’s also government.
The most profound value conferencing brings is the potential to save time and money — two things government departments are constantly striving for. With tight budgets (and even tighter schedules), departments and ministries are looking for new government technology to streamline their processes and increase departmental efficiency.
Unfortunately, even though conferencing is multitudes cheaper than alternative forms of communication, telecommunications companies consistently overcharge for it. This negates some of the potential money governments stand to save.
It’s a classic sales technique – sell a large package of products and/or services together to mask their individual costs and allow upselling. Cable companies are notorious for this, often forcing consumers to pay for hundreds of channels when there’s only one show they want to watch.
The big companies are guilty of the same tactics when it comes to selling telecommunications technology to large agencies like those in government. It’s not simply a matter of buying a conference package – that’s just one small piece of a sale that may include everything from internet to land-line telephones.
Many government agencies prefers dealing with large companies that can provide an enormous varieties of services bundled together – it just seems simpler right? I mean, who wouldn’t prefer writing one check over several? But there’s a hidden downside to these government technology deals that aren’t considered.
Providers pay very little to offer audio conferencing services. Frankly, their costs can be as low as mere pennies per minute. However, for large telecommunications companies who are able to include their audio conferencing services in a much larger bundle, the price can be as high as 24 cents per minute – a staggering exaggeration of the actual cost.
The problem is most government agencies feel strapped for time, and don’t spare any to research prices and assess their value. While dealing with big corporations (and their enormous service bundles) may save a couple of minutes, it can cost thousands more dollars – hardly a fair deal.
The solution for cost-efficient government technology is simple – go “boutique” over “big.” When people consider a boutique, the first thing that usually comes to mind is high end clothing. Fitted, well-made, and tailored to your frame, boutique clothing is generally more attractive than its department store kin.
However, conferencing differs from clothing in that the boutique option is less expensive than that provided by the big corporations. You get the best of fit and style, with the lowest in cost — an undeniable “win-win.”
Smaller conferencing providers are able to offer better deals with greater transparency because it’s their main focus. Rather than trying to make money through a bloated service package, they can work with government departments on reducing their expenses where it comes to conferencing.
Additionally, because these boutique providers are strictly invested in your conferencing needs, they’ll be able to recommend tailored solutions to the requirements of your specific agency. Realistically, you risk becoming just another number on a spreadsheet for the massive corporations. With boutique conferencing, you’ll always have a human point of contact, able to provide effective customer support.
Another benefit of going smaller is the selection of local businesses. For many agencies, it’s important to access government technology offered by companies based in the same location as the department.
This is valuable not only from a patriotic perspective, but also because it often offers a higher degree of security as well. Many government bodies insist on data servers hosted in their area, something massive telecommunication companies often can’t provide.
By going small, you can look for local options to most securely provide the conferencing services you need.
While audio conferencing has become nearly ubiquitous in government operations due to its relative low cost and high return, far fewer departments have adopted video conferencing.
Video has the potential to add enormous value to government operations, by providing accessible face-to-face communication without requiring travel. For many sensitive or personal meetings, a lot of context can be lost in a phone call or audio conference.
With video conferencing hosted in the cloud, different branches of government and departments can communicate with all the benefits of face-to-face at the touch of a few buttons.
One branch that has effectively capitalized on the benefits of video conferencing has been the justice and court systems. For witnesses appearing participating in a legal proceeding, simply getting to court can be a challenge.
Rural communities simply don’t have access to the major hubs where courts operate. As such, video conferencing is being increasingly incorporated into legal proceedings to allow the benefit of seeing and hearing witness testimonies, without their physical presence.
All the benefits of audio conferencing apply to video – saving on travel time and expenses while increasing efficiency. On top of that, it offers the opportunity for more intimate face-to-face communication, which the justice arm of government is already leveraging. So why isn’t it more commonly used for other departments?
Once again, the answer lies in the cost. If your main provider of telecommunications is a large corporation, it’s likely video conferencing is considered a luxury add-on to the standard bundle they provide. This can make it seem prohibitively expensive, and not worth the cost.
However, working with a dedicated, smaller conferencing provider can yield a whole different story. Because the focus of these boutique providers is affordable conferencing, you’ll find that – like audio – video conferencing can be offered at a sharply discounted rate compared to the big companies.
Once the cost of travel is factored in, the value of video conferencing becomes obvious.
While most government departments are using some form of conferencing (most notably audio conferencing), they are frequently paying too much, or missing out on better options.
It may seem slightly more convenient to bundle all telecommunication needs with a major company, but it can cost your department far more in money than you save in time and effort.
With a boutique conferencing provider you can tap into the true value that conferencing provides, and even access affordable video conferencing, for improved government technology.