The Polycom Federal team is constantly traveling across the country speaking to government IT decision makers from civilian and defense agencies about their current challenges and the IT strategies in place to overcome them.

What we continue to hear from the military decision makers is a need to embrace Unified Communications (UC) technologies, such as video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions, for a wide range of reasons.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, VTC solutions are capable of expediting decision-making by delivering real-time information and video from the theater to decision makers back home instantaneously. They also can provide the data and intelligence needed to make more educated decisions, increase collaboration and improve communication within a distributed organization, like today’s defense agencies.

In addition, VTC technologies can ultimately reduce costs, increase productivity and eliminate avoidable expenses, such as much required travel.

Unfortunately, despite the incredible need for these technologies in the military, it may soon be harder for defense agencies to acquire them.

According to a recent report by Federal News Radio’s DoD reporter, Jared Serbu, the investment review boards that greenlight all IT acquisitions are being consolidated and becoming more stringent and strict. This could make it increasingly difficult to get the capital investments needed to fund VTC implementations approved within the agency.

Luckily, there are now lower cost ways to implement these cost saving, information sharing and collaboration enhancing technologies across the military.

Today’s VTC solutions don’t require significant IT infrastructure improvements to implement. Thanks to decreases in bandwidth requirements and increases in interoperability, many can work with the existing legacy systems that defense agencies already have with few changes. In fact, today’s VTC solutions can be purchased as a service via the video cloud, eliminating the need to utilize agency data centers at all.

There are low cost alternatives for cameras and other endpoint hardware as well. Although specialized desktop and room-based VTC solutions are available for implementation on every desk and in every conference room, agencies without the budget flexibility have other options. Utilizing available software and mobile apps, agencies can turn laptops, desktop computers, tablets and smartphones into VTC endpoints.

Finally, if large, one-time capital investments are impossible to sell to the increasingly strict investment review boards, VTC solutions can be acquired through operational expenses instead. New programs available from today’s VTC solution providers allow VTC systems to be purchased in recurring monthly payments.

VTC solutions are mission critical for today’s military. The information sharing, collaboration and communication they deliver are capable of expediting decision making and ensuring that military decision makers are always aware of what’s going on in theater. Luckily, as the acquisition of new IT solutions is becoming more difficult, VTC’s cost, operability and ease of implementation is improving as well. Now, cost is no longer an obstacle to making these technologies a reality in the military.