Telepresence Has the Potential to Cut Millions of Tons of CO2

This past century has seen emerging communications markets skip an entire generation of technology infrastructure, namely, the wired telephone system. Large portions of the population in countries like India and China now have cell phones in areas that never had traditional landlines. 

If these countries build a transportation infrastructure based on the model in the United States, the emissions could have a major impact on the climate. However, if they choose to skip a generation of infrastructure, emissions growth will be far more manageable. In an effort to do this very thing, China has been investing heavily in modern mass transit, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). They have surpassed the United States in both these areas and yet Americans cling to the outdated model. 

Can we achieve a similar critical dematerialization of communications through telepresence as an effective substitute for much repetitive business travel? We need to do it, and we now have the technology to do it. So my best guess is—to coin a phrase—‘yes we can’.

Paul Dickinson, as CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), used these words to rally his troops behind the telepresence revolution. As part of their ‘yes we can’ attitude the CDP conducted a comprehensive study examining the environmental and economic benefits of using telepresence in the short term, and after long-term, large-scale adoption of this technology. 

The CDP study piggybacked on the Smart 2020 Report that forecasts an emissions savings of 7.8 billion tons of CO2 by 2020 through the smart integration of ICT in the workplace, and personal space. In an effort to better quantify the environmental and financial impact of telepresence, the CDP collected data from 15 of the Global 500 companies that have already upgraded to the telepresence model. 

The CDP concluded that telepresence could avoid millions of tons of CO2. A single business with four telepresence rooms can reduce CO2 emissions by the equivalent of 400 passenger vehicles in the span of five years, 2,271 metric tons. Implementing telepresence throughout the US has the potential to reduce emissions by almost a million metric tons per year. 

Besides the environmental benefits, the CDP study also concluded that deployment of telepresence in businesses with annual revenues of more than $1 billion could see an economy wide financial benefit of $3.5 billion by 2020 and this is in the US alone. 


Video Conferencing: A Good Way to Keep Your Meeting from Having a Giant Footprint

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Leaving a large footprint wouldn't be a bad thing if you were Robert Wadlow, the Giant of Illinois. When you're 8' 11.1" tall with a foot that's 17 inches long and a shoe size of 37AA, it's kind of expected.  Just ask the world's tallest living man and the man who currently holds the record for having the largest foot. They'll tell you.

But as everyone knows, the footprints humans leave behind and the ones businesses leave behind are two different things. Both may leave impressions on the Earth, but only one will vanish without leaving a trace. The other can leave traces that will last a lifetime. Because of that, many businesses today are looking for ways they can make their footprints smaller; and one of the ways they're finding is with video conferencing.

Video conferencing is exactly what it sounds like - holding a conference via video options with attendees being in various locations instead of face-to-face in one place. Many businesses are finding that using this method for some of their meetings not only saves them money, but makes them more eco-friendly as well. How? Well, let's take a look and see.

Fewer Carbon Emissions

According to one study, a conference can be responsible for creating more than a ton of carbon dioxide per attendee. How? Between the fossil fuel used to fly the plane that brought the attendee, the fossil fuel used for the attendee to get to and from the airport and around town, and the fossil fuel used to create the electricity for the attendee's hotel room - let's just say it all adds up quickly. Obviously, with a video conference, the need for so much travel is eliminated. The result? The meeting's footprint begins to shrink. 

Less Waste for the Landfill

According to some statistics, the paper making industry around the world uses about 4 billion trees each year with every person in the United States using 749 lbs of it. A lot of that paper eventually winds up in landfills. Traditional conferences are often a part of that scene. Papers get printed and used for a bit and then get thrown away at the end or when the attendee gets home. A video conference eliminates some of those paper needs, meaning less trash for the landfill and a need for a few less trees to be cut. The result? The meeting's footprint shrinks even more. 

More Involvement with Green

Eco-friendly factors like fewer carbon emissions and less waste may be the biggest and most direct green advantages to video conferencing, but they aren't the only ones. Less travel and fewer printouts also mean less money being spent overall on the conference. How is that green? Well, less money spent on a conference means more money available for making the company greener. Efforts here could offset the conference's remaining footprint even more. The result? A footprint that so small, you might need a magnifying glass to see it.

 

Video Conferencing vs. Travel

I was just reading an article from Small Business Labs, about saving time, money & the environment, all from considering video conferencing over travel. There are three points that are made in the blog post, that definitely resonate, and provide motivation for any company to consider:

1. Video Conferencing Saves Time:

According to the Travel Industry Association of America the average business trip last 3.3 days and the average business traveler takes 5.4 trips per year.

2. Video Conferencing Saves Money:

According to American Express, the average business trip costs $1,110 in T&E expenses.

3. Video Conferencing is Green:

The Nature Conservancy recommends video conferencing as one of their top 10 tips for saving the climate. Jet's are heavy emitters of CO2 and produce 12% of all transportation related greenhouse gases.

Now it's probably not realistic to assume that all business travel will cease to exist starting tomorrow, however, with all the benefits for video conferencing over travel, it would be hard for companies not to take seriously.  If you consider the first point, and the average business trips we're reduced by 50% and supplemented with video conferencing, the effects from this decision could be felt throughout the company and our environment.  

Obviously, I have a biased opinion, as my intentions are to sell you our video conferencing service. Never the less, it is nice to read articles about the benefits of video conferencing over travel, as it reminds me of the impact this solution can immediately have all around you.  

My pitch...

I would consider our video conferencing service from Batipi, for the following reasons: 

  • Powered by Vidyo (the latest in video conferencing technology)
  • No hardware installation required
  • Pay one low monthly subscription
  • Available 24/7
  • Minimum requirement: Webcam & desktop microphone or USB Headset

 

 

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