Wyoming strengthens top-down communication using Chromebox for meetings

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Flint Waters, CIO of the State of Wyoming. Since outfitting its conference rooms with Chromebox for meetings, the state spends far less on video conferencing and has transformed how teams communicate and connect with each other and the citizens they serve. See how Wyoming and many other institutions and organizations are using Chromebox for meetings to create a culture of collaboration that translates to greater productivity and better service. 

When I came to work for the State of Wyoming four years ago, five people reported to a contract CIO and operations happened at government speed. The department drew in 300 people from other agencies, and IT teams were assigned to different opportunities. I wanted consolidated IT rather than siloed and needed a culture of urgency and innovation for the state, so we began looking at tools to help us do that. Building on the efforts of the previous administration, the Governor moved all state employees to Google Apps for Work. Today, Chromebox for meetings improves transparency and brings public servants, citizens and elected officials closer together.

Before moving to Chromebox for meetings, we spent $1.5 million a year on a legacy video conferencing system. I felt we weren’t getting enough capability with the technology for the amount of money we were spending. So we phased out all the Tandberg systems and got 178 Chromebox for meetings licenses using a small fraction of our budget.

The cost savings is tremendous, but we’re even more thrilled with the way Chromebox for meetings transforms how we do our jobs and think about public service. Specifically, this technology cuts down on bureaucratic processes and hierarchical protocol. Everyone from the Governor and executives to agency directors use Chromebox for team, cabinet-level and all-hands meetings. Participants can comment and ask questions regardless of their location. We’re also introducing Chromebox for meetings throughout the school system to improve communication between teachers, administrators and students.

With Chromebox for meetings, we’re opening up meetings and making them less formal. We have Chromeboxes in our halls, allowing people to gather around and have impromptu meetings that anybody can join — the closest thing to a watercooler conversation you can get over the Internet. It’s also easier to work together on documents that are viewable on monitors at the stations, making meetings even more interactive and productive.

This technology has also reduced people’s travel time and increased productivity. Wyoming is a large state with a small population and a lot of open road between cities — you can drive for miles on the highway without seeing another car. Chromebox for meetings shortens the distance between offices by allowing people to have a face-to-face interaction without getting in their cars.

I get most excited about the fact that we can be collaborative with Chromebox for meetings. In the future, I’d like to set up an online help desk via live Hangout that’s accessible through the state’s website, so that when web visitors need help, we’d be there to help them right away. We’re connecting people at all levels of government to each other and to the public. With Google tools we can move as fast as our ideas can take us, which is just what we need to bring startup innovation and agility into the halls of government.