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FCW : November 30, 2012
ExecTe c h November 30, 2012 FCW.COM 27 Videoconferencing: Collaboration on a budget In David Foster Wallace s 1996 novel "In nite Jest," people nd videocon- ferencing rather vexing. An entire cottage industry grows around sur- rogates --- 2-D cutouts, for instance --- that relieve the pressure of making an on-screen appearance. Sixteen years later, video communi- cation no longer inspires dread among people who have grown accustomed to Skype and other readily available services. Industry executives say people increasingly expect to have such tools available at work as well. That s probably a good development for the government sector because even camera-shy employees might need to embrace videoconferenc- ing now that agencies are exploring greater use of the technology as a cost-saving tool. Why it matters Federal agencies are being pressured to reel in travel budgets and limit con- ference expenses, particularly in the aftermath of the General Services Administration s Las Vegas confer- ence scandal. In April, the Of ce of Management and Budget required agencies to cut travel spending by 30 percent and called for greater confer- ence oversight. Against this backdrop, virtual meet- ings offer an alternative to holding a conference in real life. Some govern- ment entities now actively encourage videoconferencing. A Defense Depart- ment memo sent in September calls ExecTe c h BYJOHN MOORE President Barack Obama connected with other government leaders via videoconference on Oct. 29 to discuss efforts to respond to Hurricane Sandy. Agencies are turning to videoconferencing as a cost-effective way to collaborate with far- ung team members. AP IMAGES
November 15, 2012