Federal budget cuts in travel have given the video conferencing industry an uptick in federal sales. Providers are looking forward to this trend continuing due to tightening budgets as well as initiatives like the “Cut the Waste, Stay in Place” Act of 2013 which is looking to cut agency travel expenses by 50% by 2017. The across-the-board federal spending cuts have caused agencies to substitute in-person meetings for virtual ones.
One Federal agency that has formerly hosted annual 300-person conferences has opted to transition over to meeting via audio conferencing. During the event, participants listen in over phone and then break out into smaller groups.
AT&T’s director for federal technology solutions says that even before these budget cuts they were seeing an increase in interest in these options since video conferencing software is becoming more and more user-friendly and comprehensive.
Federal video conferencing is helping agencies such as NASA save $21 this year with travel alone. One NASA spokesperson says that they are looking to these alternatives to not only save money, but allow the managers, engineers and scientists to still participate in events when in-person attendance is out of the question. Last month NASA used Google+ Hangout for their news briefing on their Interstellar Boundary Explorer satellite. The scientists were able to present the latest mission findings and conduct a Q&A session with journalists and the public without having to travel to attend.
The increase in government video conferencing is also being attributed to the telecommunication market maturing, coming out with new options that are safer for federal agencies to use and meet their tight security standards. They are now able to have employees use their personal devices (such as desktop, cell phone, tablet and laptops) and use these with video conferencing technologies.