NEWS

New technology brings public services to people

A new way of bringing together all the members of management, or for people to communicate with public services without being physically present in the same place, is being inaugurated by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Video-conferencing, which combines video, sound equipment and computers, will certainly save many people from having to make time-consuming and sometimes pointless trips. The minister has issued an encyclical giving public offices until November to design suitable ways of using video-conferencing in the maximum number of administrative matters. Initially, the ministry proposes setting up video-conferencing rooms at key points where they will serve the most people. Such points include regional administrative offices, prefectures, municipalities, provinces, ministries, small islands and remote areas. Such infrastructure will enable someone to, for example, appear as a witness in a case being examined by a local administrative committee of the social insurance fund IKA, without incurring travel costs, which frequently discourage witnesses in such situations. The witness will be able to visit the closest public service office and use its video-conferencing facilities to communicate with the committee. Working groups from different ministries will also be able to communicate with each other from their own offices, having previously exchanged reports by e-mail. In its simplest form, teleconferencing can be conducted by a telephone with a loudspeaker. Video-conferencing adds images, on a small telephone screen or a larger computer screen with a built-in camera. The method is already being used by the armed forces, in hospitals (to observe surgical procedures) and in law courts when cases are heard in other countries. Telephones with screens have already been installed in the ministries of Transport and Education. A service may either purchase the equipment or hire the use of it from 60-70 euros per conference.