When the Supercommittee, comprised of members of Congress from both parties, failed to reach a consensus on a bipartisan plan to slash government spending and balance the budget, they set the wheels in motion for sequestration. Sequestration is essentially an automatic spending reduction that cuts deeply into federal budgets in an attempt to get the nation out of the red.
Regardless of whether sequestration will force $100 billion worth of budget cuts across the government, cost cutting remains a top priority for all government agencies. And should sequestration occur, cost cutting across the board will force agencies to get creative.
There are many technologies available that can help government agencies significantly slash budgets, increase operational efficiencies and drive savings. These include Unified Communications (UC) technologies, such as video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions. Historically, many of these technologies provide cost savings over time and often require an upfront investment to acquire, install and implement across the agency. With VTC solutions, this upfront cost comes in the form of purchasing and implementing infrastructure datacenter hardware and the physical VTC endpoints.
Facing sequestration and tightened budgets, the purchase of these solutions seems out of reach. Especially since the federal government is pushing agencies to eliminate capital expenditures (CapEx) in favor of utilizing operational expenditures (OpEx) for IT solutions. This is compounded by datacenter consolidation initiatives that force agencies to look to shared, cloud-based services before purchasing new hardware that is hosted in agency datacenters.
The good news is that the cost savings of VTC can still be a reality for agencies. Here’s three ways that financially strapped agencies can eliminate the high upfront CapEx costs and purchase VTC solutions with reasonable, recurring OpEx payments:
- Embracing the video cloud and mobile video: Today’s advanced video solutions are being offered as a service that’s hosted in the cloud. This means that VTC can be rolled out across an agency without the need to acquire and install all new hardware in the datacenter. This enables datacenter consolidation initiatives to continue, cuts the recurring costs of powering and maintaining extra datacenter hardware and eliminates the need to completely overhaul an agency’s legacy systems.
To address endpoint needs, agencies can utilize mobile video communication applications that are available for multiple mobile operating systems. These mobile video solutions effectively turn mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, into HD VTC solutions. In addition, video teleconferencing software can effectively turn any laptop of desktop computer with an HD camera into a VTC endpoint as well. With many agencies already deploying laptops and mobile devices to employees, and others embracing bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives, the VTC endpoints are already available with no need to purchase additional devices.
- Embracing the video cloud and traditional VTC endpoints: Agencies utilizing VTC solutions available as a service via the cloud may still want to implement conference room, desktop and other HD VTC endpoints.
Luckily, VTC solution providers are now enabling agencies to acquire this equipment with extended payment options. This virtually eliminates the large, upfront capital expenditure for acquiring hardware and replaces it with a low, recurring operating expenditure for the agency instead. This is accomplished by using available budget dollars as down payments and extending the repayment of the balance over two to fours years.
- Extended payments for end-to-end solutions: For defense, intelligence or other agencies concerned about implementing cloud solutions, acquiring and installing complete VTC solutions, both infrastructure and endpoints, may be the best option.
In these instances, the same extended payment models can be utilized to effectively turn the large CapEx cost for all of the requisite hardware into recurring OpEx costs for the agency
These options are just some examples of how government agencies can deliver end-to-end VTC environments across the organization without a significant upfront CapEx cost. The resulting system could be paid for with recurring operating expenditures and would ultimately result in significant cost savings to the agency. These cost savings would come from drastically reduced travel expenses, lowered real estate costs and the elimination or reduction of other recurring fees.
Looming sequestration and tightening budgets don’t have to keep government agencies from embracing the advanced technologies that can drive operational efficiency and cut costs over time. By taking advantage of video-as-a-service and cloud solutions, as well as extended payment programs for VTC endpoints that eliminate upfront, capital expenditures, agencies can have their technology and their cost savings too.