Nitin Pradhan is the former CIO of the US Department of Transportation and the Managing Partner of GOVonomy. (Courtesy Photo)
When I was the CIO of the US Department of Transportation, I realized that there was a deep chasm between the $80 billion federal IT marketplace and smart technology growth companies from Silicon Valley and other US tech hubs. The government would be better served if it could have ready access to problem solving, state-of-the-art commercial off-the-shelf products from tech growth companies. The growth companies would also win by getting access to a very large new tech market!
After I left US DOT, I helped establish the GOVonomy initiative, whose goal is to drive increased public value by regularly researching, assessing and introducing cost-effective, cutting-edge, targeted product technologies that specifically address the challenges and opportunities facing the federal government. GOVonomy typically works with the federal mission and technology leaders to understand their business or technical problems and then researches and matches them with innovative COTS product solutions. From time to time, I will use my blog to introduce some of the technologies available through our research. If you want to learn more about these or other technologies or discuss problem sets, then feel free to connect with me through LinkedIn. Today, I am talking about HD cloud video conferencing technology.
Traditional video conferencing is unscalable
Traditional video conferencing platforms have disappointed customers for too long. These products break the budget with high initial fees and costly ongoing maintenance. Setup is complicated and time consuming. Making a group video call is a headache from start to finish, with multi-step processes just to log in, start a meeting, or share content. And after all that, you could end up with poor video and audio quality. No wonder, such video conferencing is scarcely deployed in the federal government. But now there are newer technologies that leapfrog all these issues!
New desktop cloud HD video conferencing is available
Newer HD video conferencing technologies are different, requiring just one click to install or start a meeting. Such technologies offer highest quality HD video/audio conferencing with dynamic voice detection, simple online meetings and mobile collaboration for up to 100 participants, with complete screen sharing, co-annotation (sharing and working on document together), tablet white-boarding, group messaging/chat as well as H.323/SIP integration for patching in legacy video conferencing equipment. Webinar broadcast capabilities for up to 1000 attendees with panel management and “tele-presence” capability for adding large TV screens controllable by a standard tablet is also available. Plus there is no new equipment to buy, just add a quality camera, clean up your office room, wear a nice dress and hop online for a videoconference! Now whether you are on a Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, in low bandwidth situations or just have a smart phone access you can be part of any face-to-face conversation in HD audio and video.
End-to-end security is the key for feds
Desktop video communications, allow both public and private cloud deployment, and offer the capability to lock the meeting off from new entrants while the meeting is in progress. Such cloud systems must act as routers, transmitting media data but not capturing content in the cloud, and allow for controlled recording of video meeting only locally. And yes, make sure that the recording is done in MP4 or some universally accessible format and not a proprietary technology so it can be packaged easily into meeting minutes or made available for re-broadcasting on demand.
Feds can improve efficiency and effectiveness today
The federal government and its IT contractors are under severe travel restrictions due to budget availability. Time is a scarce resource too. Yet building personal connections and improving communications whether it be intra-agency, inter-agency, with citizens or businesses is critical – the new video conferencing technology can help. Deployable within a few hours to the entire enterprise, with prices that could be a rounding error for departmental IT budgets, cloud video conferencing technology should be one of the procurement priority for government IT leaders for enterprise deployment with any yearend budget availability. It is time to leapfrog from the old desktop phone to HD desktop video conferencing today.
Nitin Pradhan is the former CIO of the US Department of Transportation and the Managing Partner of GOVonomy. Readers can connect with him on LinkedIn .