Copenhagen countdown - Audio and video conferencing technology

Going mobile set to reduce green house gas emissions

Computerworld concludes the Copenhagen Countdown series by taking a look audio and video conferencing technology as a way to help reduce green house gas emissions.

Conferencing technologies produced by companies such as Cisco and used by firms such as KPMG, have revolutionised the modern way of doing business. From top level executives to junior employees, the practicality and benefits of adopting conferencing technology not only improves the effectiveness and efficiency of business, it adds value to the business chain from top to bottom.

In recent years large and medium organisations have invested a fair amount in audio and video conferencing technologies. The employment and use of such technologies have brought many benefits, namely the reduction in costs of travel to and from meetings and the freeing up of time which was once set aside for such travel.

According to Chief Technology Officer for CSC Australia and Asia and National Director of AIIA, Bob Hayward, the availability of audio and video conferencing has provided three main benefits: firstly, the conduct of business and meetings can be done remotely without having to meet in person; secondly, it allows large groups of people to collaborate through networks leading, the way for educational opportunities such as online classrooms and distance learning; and thirdly, it reduces pollution and lessens the environmental impact as businesses become more efficient in communication and travel.

Conferencing technology is also popular for the real and immediate experience it provides.

“It gives you the impression that you’re sitting across the table from someone. You can really see into their eyes, pick up on their body language and to all intent and purposes, you might as well be in the same room even though you’re in a different city,” Hayward said. In fact, the only problem Hayward found using the technology was the rooms in which the equipment was installed became so popular they became booked out in advance.

“We had to go out and get more rooms with the equipment, “ he said.

Traditional conferencing technologies required desktop-client software or ‘touch tone’ phone menus to manually control and manage conference calls. For mobile workers requiring access to enterprise conferencing capabilities, the physical limitation proved a challenge to business productivity. The introduction of mobile communications technology, however, means businesses and individuals are now able to manage conference sessions away from desk phones, freeing up not only business costs but time that was previously set aside for conference sessions.

Telecoms software developer, Net Dev, took the innovate step removing the physical limits of conferencing technology and taking it to the streets with the release of Conference Controller, a conferencing application that allows mobile workers to access enterprise conferencing capabilities from their handset.

The benefits of tech innovation can be used to deliver greater efficiency, said Alison O'Flynn, Fujitsu’s Director Sustainability. “The innovative use of technology can lead to new ways of conducting business such as the removal of physical assets as in the case of online music versus CDs or the enablement of flexible and home working; less travel, peak congestion and, in the longer term, less commercial real estate,” O'Flynn said.

“Effective communications clearly brings massive benefits to any organisation. Unified communications also has significant environmental benefits. With today’s advanced technology, broadband networks and widespread availability, unified communications are already changing the way organisations are collaborating and working, with less travel and more effective flexible working,” she said.

Read the complete Copenhagen Countdown series about the five technologies helping the ICT industry to reduce green house gas emissions: Power management; Virtualisation; and Datacentre; Carbon emission management software

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