Banana Shire Council has implemented high definition video conferencing technology with the aim to quash both high costs and significant travel time while increasing productivity.
The central Queensland council doubled in size in 2008, to cover the 30,000 square metre area of both Banana Shire and neighbouring Taroom. The consolidation meant employees faced four hour drives from one end of the shire to the other, and trips amounting to 200 kilometres for monthly meetings.
The platform, provided by Polycom and Telstra, provided video, voice and data capabilities between the shire’s major sites through an internet protocol (IP) wireless area network (WAN), allowing the council to connect securely between its rural, regional and metropolitan offices.
According to Banana Shire Council director corporate and community services, Todd Sleeman, the technology has collectively saved the council approximately $24,000 per year and reduced trip lengths by about 6000 kilometres each month.
“By enabling staff throughout the Shire to communicate face-to-face through video conferencing, we have also reduced our carbon footprint which is very important to us and our constituents,” Sleeman said in a statement. “It is also safer because our staff are not undertaking long country drives.”
The shire council avoided the need for additional servers due to the IP WAN, as well as additional support resources and time.
“There was no real training required as the implemented technology is that easy to use, a flick of a button and employees can have immediate contact with other offices,” Banana Shire Council ICT support officer, Jacob Godwell, said in a statement.