Government Product News asked Alphonzo Albright about ways that governments are using the cloud it their IT activities. Albright is the Global Director of Government Solutions and Market Development at San Jose, Calif.-based Polycom. The company is focused on video and voice technologies. Albright was formerly New York City’s CIO. Here are Albright’s responses to GPN questions.

GPN: What are the main ways that governments are using the cloud today?

Cloud computing allows governments a choice on how to scale their business processes, storage, and communication. Many governments are using cloud for cost savings, e-government, scalability of services to citizens, resource sharing, electronic information management, etc. This has become increasingly important for some governments' information technology (IT) strategies.

Government use of cloud computing is gradually increasing in areas such as justice services, corrections visitation, teleworking, community-based organizations, transportation services, healthcare, distance learning, education, human resources, workforce development, procurement and contracting and managing of utility services.

According to International Data Corporation, worldwide spending on public cloud services reached $47.4 billion in 2013 and is expected to be more than $107 billion in 2017.

GPN: How will they use it in the future? What cloud applications offer the most benefit to local and state governments?
Government use of cloud computing is gradually increasing in areas such as teleworking, transportation services, healthcare, distance learning, education, human resources, workforce development, procurement and contracting and managing of utility services:

--    Cloud Computing for Emergency Management and Public Safety Planning Disaster Recovery – The ability to recover quickly from an emergency is a deciding factor on choosing a service provider.

--    Healthcare - allowing doctors and medical service providers a broader reach to assist patients, deal with triage related emergencies, mobility. Cloud services let health care providers move storage, data processing and other systems onto the Internet, provided that security and data ownership concerns are addressed.

--    Education - Within one year, cloud computing in K-12 schools is expected to consume a quarter of the entire IT budget; four years from now, that figure will grow to 35 percent.

At Polycom, we understand that private, public, or a hybrid cloud services are expected to have an impact on the future delivery of video and unified communication (UC) services. The move toward cloud services is ushering a new generation of business opportunities for providers seeking to offer innovative services. These new services can include:

1) Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) delivery to multiple verticals,
2) Business-grade HD mobile video conferencing,
3) Business-to-Business cloud services through federated, carrier-grade core infrastructures, and
4) Cloud Virtual Meeting Room Services

GPN: Thank you, Alphonzo Albright, for your views.

This video shows how the Polycom RealPresence Group Series enhances group collaboration experiences.