The Polycom Federal team attends many defense-focused conferences and expos throughout the year. In many of these events, Unified Communications (UC) technologies, such as video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions, get a lot of attention from military IT decision makers for a wide variety of reasons, almost all of which are tied to the mission and operational efficiency.
With VTC solutions enabling face-to-face communication across any distance and, now, across virtually any device, the military looks at it as a technology that can expedite decision making. VTC is viewed as a way of instantaneously sharing information, including visual content such as photos and maps, between the theater and military leaders back home. This can ensure that rapid, informed decisions can be made with the lives of soldiers on the line.
In addition to utilizing VTC for information sharing between the battlefield and military leaders, we also hear military IT decision makers talking about implementing VTC as a way of cutting costs. By decreasing the need to travel to in-person meetings, the military can save tremendously on airfare, hotel and per diem. VTC can eliminate these costs by enabling the same level of communication and collaboration without the expense.
All of these implementations of VTC are exciting, mission-critical uses of the technology that can help the military operate more effectively, communicate more rapidly and increase collaboration. However, the VTC implementation that we recently discussed with some military leaders was one that tugs at the heartstrings.
In July, the team was in at Wiesbaden Army Airfield in Wiesbaden, Germany for the NCSI 2012 Summer Germany Series exposition. This is an in-agency expo designed to highlight new technologies that could be adopted in the military.
During our time in Wiesbaden, we discussed the use of VTC to connect deployed soldiers to the people that they are fighting for: their families, friends and loved ones.
Currently, families looking to speak with soldiers via VTC have to travel to the commander’s conference room to connect to the soldier in the deployment zone. In addition to being an inconvenience for families, it’s also not the best, most comfortable setting for a personal call between loved ones.
To make face-to-face communication between soldiers and their families easier and more comfortable, the military is exploring the creation of a system that will allow video communications from the comfort of their own home. The system will utilize video solutions that operate on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to connect families at home with deployed soldiers via controlled, secure connections.
Overall, it’s an incredible way of bringing a piece of home to soldiers, who are deployed and risking their lives for the freedom and safety of our nation.
When we discuss the use of VTC solutions in the military, the conversation almost immediately goes to the traditional topics of information sharing, expediting decision making and cost saving. It’s refreshing to see the immense potential of VTC being used to bring soldiers together with their families.