Unified Communications Offers Savings for Public Sector Organizations

Use of unified communications has seen a sharp incline this year. Principal analyst at Infonetics Research reported the industry enjoyed “worldwide revenue increasing 31 percent in the second quarter of 2014” compared to the same period in 2013. Yahoo Finance reports that total shipment of IP-capable desk phones rose by 4 percent in the second quarter of 2014 as well. Much of this growth has been generated from increased adoption in the public sector, and unified communications has delivered key solutions to the unique communication challenges of government organizations.

Federal applications
Multiple organizations at the top levels of government have benefited from the communication and collaboration perks of UC integration. An article in Telepresence Options notes that physicians working for the Department of Veteran Affairs have successfully utilized unified communications devices to provide healthcare to patients on the other side of the country. Videoconference and collaboration technology has also been used by doctors to share medical documents, patient interviews and other resources that contribute toward better health care for patients. Over 600,000 veterans were treated remotely via UC systems in 2013 alone.

Likewise, the Department of Transportation has used unified communications technology to share blueprints and building strategies. Federal and state offices are better able to collaborate on tax-funded infrastructure projects with the help of streamlined video-communication devices. UC systems also help to speed up the pace of major construction by eliminating the need for constant travel between work sites.

Initially, security concerns prevented government agencies from fully embracing unified communications. Like organizations in the private sector, public sector agencies are forced to weigh the cost effectiveness and convenience of cloud-based UC devices against the security of an on-premise system. Many governments have followed the lead of industry-leading tech companies and invested in a hybrid system.

International adoption
The use of unified communications by government agencies has also caught on overseas. For example, the U.K. Ministry of Defense has funded the development of a public{-}sector-only messaging application for use by aerospace and defense contractors. UC technology has also assisted government housing projects in the United Kingdom. One city housing agency was able to save over $80,000 during installation and cut ongoing costs by 30 percent by upgrading offices with softswitch phones. Computer Weekly reports that revenues generated by the UC market in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will reach 17 billion by the end of next year.