11:37 AM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
Connect Directly

Saving the Planet with Unified Communications

At this week's VoiceCon event in Orlando the highlight was a "virtual" presentation by Cisco CEO John Chambers and former Vice President and Noble Laureate  Al Gore on the potential of using unified communications technologies to reduce greenhouse emissions.  Gore spoke not only on how virtual applications such as telepresence could reduce the need for travel, but also how distributed groups developing greenhouse gas emissions policies are leveraging telepresence to improve their meeting experience, leading to more effective collaboration.

I've had the opportunity to speak to a number of end-user organizations that are investigating the potential of telepresence.  Most dismiss the idea that telepresence can reduce travel costs, as in-person meetings are still largely preferred over virtual conferences.  Instead, two "killer-apps" for telepresence are often cited:

  • Improving the quality of meetings compared with audio conferencing,
  • Increasing client/partner face time with senior executives

One executive I spoke with cited the ability to meet with half a dozen clients in a day using telepresence compared with how long it would take to travel to each client location.  He noted that he would normally conduct client or partner calls via telephone, but with telepresence, he felt that they were achieving a stronger level of client/partner interaction.

These benefits are of course difficult if not impossible to quantify, and the inability to create a firm ROI model has been a limiting factor in telepresence purchase.  But as system prices fall, and more people become aware of the benefits of telepresence versus a traditional audio conference, I'd expect to see deployments continue to increase.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
The weekly wrap-up of the top stories from this week.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.