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Virtual meetings deliver real savings for local authority
Eido Public Relations LtdSep 22, 2010 13:41 BST
To help improve efficiency and reduce costs, Carmarthenshire County Council has being trialling the latest desktop videoconferencing technology. The results have been impressive.
For the last year, the council has been using MegaMeeting - a unique browser-based system that allows council officers to participate in face-to-face meetings over the internet. MegaMeeting allows up to 16 users to be seen, and up to 500 to hear each other, share documents, view presentations and much more. By reducing the time and money spent on conventional meetings, the council has been able to save money and improve efficiency.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Resources and IT executive board member Cllr Wynne Evans said, “We’ve been piloting MegaMeeting with selected teams of council staff for the last year, for both regular and ad-hoc meetings. We believe that it has saved both time and money. One team in particular, with staff in four towns up to 25 miles apart, now uses MegaMeeting for their weekly face-to-face meetings, saving significant productive-hours formerly spent travelling each time.”
MegaMeeting is the only fixed cost conferencing system that does not require expensive hardware, long-term contracts, plug-ins or downloads. MegaMeeting works equally well on Windows, Mac or Linux platforms. This crucial difference means that no additional IT infrastructure investment is required and, as anyone with an internet-enabled computer can use it, it can be rapidly deployed across an organisation in days.
MegaMeeting’s accessibility allows even novice users to connect with ease. Within a meeting, it’s possible to share desktops, view presentations, hold ballots and even run sub-committee break-out rooms. Meetings can be recorded and transcribed, and there is also a built-in instant messaging system to allow delegates to communicate privately with each other.
Giles Nunn, from Carmarthenshire County Council’s Technical Development Unit, commented, “Although MegaMeeting is used mostly for internal meetings, some external participants also take part. MegaMeeting has allowed meeting times to be more flexible to suit all participants, and has improved communications with outside agencies.
“It has also helped with the management of agile working - managing those who work from home,” continues Giles. “The biggest group of users includes personnel who frequently work from home.”
By removing the need for physical travel, MegaMeeting allows flexi-time or part-time staff to become much more productive without impacting their current working arrangements - one more example of how MegaMeeting enables local authorities to make the best use of their existing resources.