Government agencies at the Central and State level are increasingly using video conferencing to extend the reach and efficiency of public services. Digital India, which seeks to connect 2.5 lakh villages with high-speed broadband, will bring further growth to this technology
In today’s digital world, work is more interconnected than ever before. And, it’s not just private businesses who are big time users of video conferencing; government agencies at the Central and State level are increasingly relying on video collaboration to extend the reach and efficiency of public services. State governments of UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, among others are prolific users of this technology. “Senior state government officers are utilising the video conferencing facilities in reaching out to the officers posted in the far flung remote districts. The key objective is to improve efficiency and responsiveness in administration,” says Minhaj Zia, VP, India, SAARC & Korea at Polycom, the US-based provider of voice, video and content sharing solutions.
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and Polycom’s crystal clear HD videoconferencing—deployed at several workplace—is an apt example of how true that statement is. A live video conference is much more effective than a phone call in many different situations. No wonder, public sector organisations like Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp of India, NTPC, Power Grid Corporation of India, Food Corporation of India, among others use Polycom’s voice and video solutions to communicate easily and effectively internally, from anywhere in the country.
Recently, Polycom had bagged a contract from the Directorate General Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), a central purchase and quality assurance organisation. As per the contract agreement—supported by Inspira, a national Polycom distributor—the company will offer video collaboration solutions and services to government institutions, helping to implement and integrate video networks.
Without doubt, in today’s world it’s not just about video conferences in office environments; it’s about delivering the ability to meet face-to-face in any environment. Zia says, “The video conferencing setup in these Indian states help the government agencies in monitoring various schemes and projects being implemented on a regular basis by interacting with the district administration, thus leading to good governance, accountability and transparency in the government.”
Polycom is looking at deeper engagement with government and SMB verticals to drive expansion in India as it aims to grow revenues by 25% this year. It aims to enhance its customer base across various government departments and ministries including defence, railway, PSUs, and citizen services. The company, which is being acquired by Canada’s Mitel Networks in a $1.96-billion deal, gets about 30% of its revenues in India from government agencies.
Zia explains that in order to ensure better collaboration between the far-flung offices of different departments and institutions, the government is deploying video conferencing in a major way. “Collaborative technology solutions can help government organisations implement and integrate video networks within their existing infrastructure. It also enables government agency representatives and citizens to communicate and be informed, especially during times of emergency,” he explains.
According to Zia, the style of work has significantly changed from a place we go to, into something that we do, irrespective of time, distance and the devices we use. Video collaboration is increasingly changing workplaces, as progresses in technology and the benefits of real-time engagement with dispersed teams are reaping multiple benefits by taking collaboration beyond an office environment. In today’s world, it’s not just about video conferences in office environments; it’s about delivering the ability to meet face-to-face in any environment.
Polycom officials inform that companies globally and across the country are now seeing the value of video collaboration beyond simple travel savings, to include reduced time-to-market, increase in customer service, improving crisis management, and streamlining decision making. The key factor is that people understand the value of face to face human collaboration in real time from anywhere and using any device.
Focus on India
“We are currently experiencing tremendous growth in India in the government, education, SMB and healthcare spaces. As Polycom looks to target more government opportunities, the company’s collaborative technology and market presence are strongly placed to support national initiatives such as Digital India,” says Zia. He cites the example of Polycom RealPresence voice and video solutions, which enable government agency representatives and citizens to communicate easily and effectively, from anywhere to anywhere. This improves public services and promotes inter-agency collaboration. “Also, our solutions are helping to facilitate government’s skills and development programme and strengthen its school and higher education programmes through virtual class rooms.”
The Indian government’s focus on building a digital backbone for the country will usher in huge market opportunities for unified communication and collaboration-based tools. Polycom officials are confident that the company’s collaborative technology and market presence are strongly placed to support initiatives such as Digital India and implement e-governance and smart city programmes.
“We believe that virtual classrooms, which are at a nascent stage in India, can help in imparting quality education across the country. Our advanced solutions can help government’s skills development programme and also initiate remote healthcare services via telemedicine,” says Zia. “The Digital India initiative, which seeks to connect 2.5 lakh villages with high-speed broadband, will bring further growth to the unified communications and video conferencing market. We see a big role for ourselves in some of these initiatives and are working very closely with our partners to get into untapped segments in the government space,” he summarises.