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Will Companies Ditch Face-To-Face Meetings For Video Conferencing?

With air-related travel by Ceres’ staff doubling to more than 475,000 miles last year, Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, writes in a Worldchanging article that Ceres “could buy carbon credits, of course, but why not cut to the chase and replace unnecessary flying with conference calls or, better yet, video conferences – which would allow us to meet face to face without being face to face?”

Some companies are moving in the direction of video conferencing. Microsoft is already saving $50 million a year by deploying its “Office Live Meeting” conference service, according to Lubber, and State Street Corp. has invested $4 million in video and audio conferencing equipment in the last year alone.

But are most companies ready to give up face-to-face meetings? According to a ZDNet UK article, Chris Lindsay, BT’s general manager of broadband, VoIP and software services, said that acceptance of video conferencing would eventually come about as a result of concern for the environment and the development of new social norms but, despite the fact, BT does offer videoconferencing applications, demand remains low for now.

BT itself claims to have reduced its carbon footprint by 97,000 tons of CO2 per year, that’s 15 percent of its CO2 use, by using phone conferences and videoconferencing to cut back on staff travel for meetings.

“When we talk to customers, if they’ve got an audio conference, whiteboards and shared applications, then the addition of video over and above that doesn’t add tremendous amounts to their experience,” said Lindsay. “Customers are not seeing the increased benefit from having the visual piece over and above the audio.”

Web and audio conferencing software company iLinc Communications says that customers, partners and employees participating in its iReduce program have saved a combined total of one billion pounds of CO2 by avoiding business travel.

Second Life may also have a future as a way for companies to reduce business travel.

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3 thoughts on “Will Companies Ditch Face-To-Face Meetings For Video Conferencing?

  1. What are your opinions about the free video chat market? I wirte for ooVooworld, the unofficial WOM world for the free video chat download ooVoo, and have had feedback from small businesses increasingly using this kind of application now you can get profeesional quality and multi-user facilities with something like ooVoo.

    Sure, it’s not the same as face to face but it does seem a viable alternative for smaller meetings and businesses unwilling to outlay for a fancy expensive system and wanting to up their green credentials.

    I’m amazed by how many people use it daily now instead of text chat online. Could this instinctive use of free video apps filter into the lower end of the business world, rather than expensive larger systems?

  2. Video Conferencing Benefits

    Improve Efficiency & Collaboration. Saves energy money and resources.

    Video conferencing allows you to see, converse, share information and collaborate without ever leaving your office.
    Video conferencing is far more than a simple replacement for travel. Using video conferencing can help companies collaborate with colleagues, customers and suppliers; respond quickly to customer demand; solve support issues; react to market opportunities; deal immediately with crises, and respond to competitive threats.
    • Improve communications by reading reactions and emotions on the faces of those in the conference
    • Build trust, understanding and respect through face-to-face meetings
    • Reduce travel and related expenses – stress, pollution
    • Improve work-life balance by minimizing travel
    • Lessen the negative environmental impacts of travel
    • Utilize for training and in-service
    • Discuss and demonstrate productivity and safety
    • Providing people how to utilize equipment & perform functions
    Presented by: Jay Draiman

  3. Petrol prices are increasing all the time and show no signs of stabilising. there will surly come a point where the big companies will say enough is enough, we cant afford to send all these employees abroad any more and need to find another solution. When that time comes, those who invested in video conferencing shares will be raking in the cash.

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