Video Conferencing has existed globally for quite a considerable time now, and the Punjab government isn’t far from implementing this technology and adopting trends to upgrade its working system. Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), Pakistan’s leading technology hub, successfully incorporated Video Conferencing system for the government two years back. Launched in 2013, PITB was to commence Video Conference within two month of its pilot project. Highly appreciated by the Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Video Conference was launched in the offices of the Chief Minister and the offices nine Commissioners. In about seven to eight months times, Video Conferencing system was rolled out to DCO offices across the districts in Punjab. In addition to this, PITB is rolling out this system to the Punjab Police reaching out to the RPOs and DPOs.
The recent use of Video Conference in international meetings was quite an achievement, and highly appreciated by the Chief Minister. Without interruption with full back support system, the Turkish Prime Minister inaugurated Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital via Video Conference, CM was able to give address from Muzaffargarh during the launch of a hospital while the Prime Minister of Turkey gave an address from his capital. Further to this, Government is successfully using this facility to communicate with different countries for better timely decisions, thus saving cost and time. This system operated by team at PITB has helped save time and distance. Discussing the advantages of Video Conference Chairman PITB Dr Umar Saif said, “Video Conference has helped the government cut down on its budget allotted for meetings with the CM across Punjab. For instance, a commissioner from outside Lahore would have to travel to meet the CM. This would require at least a budget around PKR1 million, including, his travel, security squad, stay, and other miscellaneous expenses. Keeping in mind the number of meetings held during a year the budget easily went up to 32 million a year for one officer. The Video Conference project, including the equipment, staff, and technical team, only cost PKR200 million. This mean the project only cost PKR40 million per annum for the whole province. “
Built with state-of-the-art technology, the Video Conferencing room consists of Telepresence with table top display for presentations. “PITB has enabled Chief Minister and Government officials to be in several places at a time without leaving their offices. Deployed solution can have multiple conferences at a time with a capability to have more than 50 concurrent participants. PITB is planning to extend this system to all the offices of Punjab to increase the productivity, cost saving and timely decisions. Our dedicated team remains available 24/7 to make the system operational and ready to use,” said Sajjad Ghani Joint Director IT Infrastructure.
Since the launch of Video Conferencing by PITB more than 400 sessions have been held successfully within just two years, along with 500 attendees at a time. The Video Conference has been so successful that it has inspired other provincial governments to launch this system too. The idea of Video Conference initiated by Dr Umar Saif has helped the government officials to take timely decisions especially during urgent political events. Soon the Punjab Police will be benefiting from this system, and will be able to monitor law and order more effectively.