Boost to VC from UK government

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In his recent scathing report into government spending. Sir Phillip Green identified expenditure of £38 million on hotel rooms for officials and their guests in London alone. This finding the report#s author to ask “have they never heard of video conferencing”?

Commenting on the report’s conclusions Daniel Weisbeck, vice president EMEA product marketing at Polycom, said:

“For too long the Government has got away with not being held accountable for its spending, particularly around MPs’ expenses and travel budgets. Sir Philip Green highlighted yesterday in his report that taxpayers forked out for 400,000 hotel nights in London last year, costing a total of £38 million. The Government must ask itself: was that cost avoidable?

 The private sector would not run a business the way the public sector runs itself and yet it has taken Sir Philip Green to point out its failings. The way we work has fundamentally changed and the notion that we all travel to an office and work 9-5 is archaic at best. The private sector has embraced technology such as unified communications in a bid to cut travel and the need for a permanent office building – why hasn’t the Government done the same?

 But it’s not all doom and gloom and there are some Government agencies that are catapulting themselves into the 21st century. We work with some forward-thinking Government agencies who are using video conferencing to cut travel costs and enhance collaboration. The Lancashire Police Authority has 3550 officers based across 36 full-time police stations and 100 smaller posts and village stations, and the resulting travel schedule amounted to a huge expenditure in time and money for the Authority. To combat this the force installed nine Polycom room telepresence systems in 2009 and since then has reaped the benefits as costs in travel and time consumed have been dramatically reduced, allowing the force to concentrate on its day job.

 Videoconferencing could help reduce the Government deficit very quickly. In fact Sir Philip estimates the cost saving by mandating video conferencing could be a staggering £50 million. Solutions exist that cost as little as £150 per user for home based workers. Room telepresence systems cost around £650 per user, an outlay which could easily be recouped in a couple of return flights to Scotland. So what is the Government waiting for?”

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