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Use Video Conferencing—Save the Planet

Increase the use of video conferencing in your company to help fight global warming

By Nina Parker

The evidence is overwhelming: the Earth's climate is in crisis. This year the leading international network of climate scientists has concluded that global warming is a reality, and that the actions of humans are to blame. Therefore, it is our moral obligation to take action now to slow the course of global warming. To help save the planet, we must implement policies in our organizations to change not only our own behavior, but that of our fellow employees.

The crisis of global warming

The Earth's climate is in crisis. Increasing amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere, and this is causing the climate to become warmer. This warming trend, which has been especially noticeable since the development of industrial economies, is called global warming. Many scientists believe global warming has influenced our planet's temperature, precipitation, storms, and sea level. This can mean disastrous consequences for the Earth and its population, since parts of the planet may eventually become less habitable.

Human activities have been found to be a main cause of global warming. The burning of fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal for energy releases harmful amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, 84 percent of which is carbon dioxide. The United States, which has five percent of the world's population, contributes about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions; this is more than any other country. The U.S. also has the highest amount of CO2 emissions per person - five times the world average.

U.S. businesses must take a leading role in changing these unacceptable statistics. We have an obligation as corporate citizens to change not only our own behavior, but that of our fellow employees. If we take action now, we may be able to slow global warming and prevent its devastating consequences. We must do this not only for our own wellbeing, but for the sake of future generations on this planet.

Video conferencing is "green"

Passenger cars and airplanes are responsible for a large amount of CO2 emissions. Companies contribute to this problem when employees commute to work and travel on business trips.

For example, an employee's 70 mile car trip to an off site location once a month for a year will contribute 1,034 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. Or, if a staff member takes one flight from Houston to London to see a customer they will produce 4,505 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. This contributes to the employee's overall carbon emissions per year, increasing a company's carbon footprint.

Much of this travel may be unnecessary. Whether your company is considering purchasing a video conferencing solution, or you already have one in place to increase productivity and improve collaboration, you should also consider this technology as an effective tool in the battle against global warming.

Video conferencing is "green" because it is an effective means of face-to-face communication that reduces the need for business related travel. Organizations can use this green technology as part of an effort to reduce their environmental pollution. When businesses are green it is good for our climate, but it can bring benefits to companies as well.

Making video conferencing easy to use and reliable

Your company's video conferencing solution must be easy to use in order for it to be an effective tool in helping to slow climate change. If the technology is too complex, or the network is unreliable, chances are more employees will not readily select this option instead of traveling. However, IVCi can help you solve this problem.

We will ensure that each video meeting is successful. This means we will help you manage everything from the room to the users, the end points, the network, and the video infrastructure with our IntelliNet Managed Conferencing Services® (MCS). This service delivers reliability by giving you access to a fully managed IP video conferencing network.

IntelliNet MCS will let those employees who are not comfortable using the technology feel at ease, since there is no need to interface with the system to schedule meetings, launch calls, and solve problems. Your employees will want to continue to choose video conferencing for collaboration because each call will be high quality and interruption free.

IVCi will also create a conference room that is ideally suited to video meetings. Audio visual solutions with user friendly systems combined with content sharing applications can be integrated with managed conferencing services so that your staff is truly able to focus on the meeting, and not the technology. The more collaboration your employees can do remotely and with ease, the less travel will be required.

Use video conferencing—Save the planet

Once you have ensured that your company's video conferencing system is easy to use and reliable, the solution can become an often used corporate tool that will help decrease your employees' total carbon emissions.

Now it is time to increase the use of video conferencing in your company.

You become a "green superhero" when you get others to see that by using video conferencing, they can help save the planet. Use the critical issue of the environment to motivate your employees to choose video conferencing instead of relying on unnecessary travel. The following are ways to get your team to change its behavior.

Implement a telecommuting policy. Provide the option for employees to work one or more days a week from a home office. They may be at home, but they will still be present at work since they will be able to maintain face-to-face contact with team members through video conferencing. Telecommuting provides a work/life balance because there will be more time available for employees to spend on hobbies or with family members. The reduced commute will not only add valuable hours to their work week, but each time they do not drive to work they will be reducing their total carbon dioxide emissions.

Reduce business travel. Employees should use video conferencing instead of driving or flying to their next meeting. They will be more productive, since they will not have to spend valuable time in transit. Let them know that if they use video for three meetings instead of getting on a plane, the impact on the environment is the equivalent of taking a car off the planet for an entire year.

Get ahead of the curve. Being green puts your company on the forefront in the battle against global warming. U.S. industry does not yet have stringent regulations in place to cap carbon emissions, but lawmakers are designing new measures, some of which will eventually be enacted. Be one of the first companies to voluntarily establish a carbon dioxide reduction policy that includes the widespread use of video conferencing before laws are passed in Congress, and promote this accomplishment to your customers on your corporate Web site and in promotional material. Make sure your clients are aware of the steps your company is taking to reduce its pollution, since customers are increasingly looking to do business with companies that are protecting the environment.

Encourage executive buy-in. You will need top management's commitment in order to implement real changes in your corporate culture. You can use the IVCi tool kit to demonstrate how increased video usage will allow your company to realize more of the benefits of video conferencing, such as saving valuable time and money with reduced travel expenses, improved collaboration, and decreased decision making time; while simultaneously making a positive impact on the environment.

Take action now. Global warming is a serious problem that we in the business community must address. By making video conferencing easy to use and reliable, and by implementing policies that will encourage increased use of the technology, your organization will become more efficient while reducing its carbon footprint. Take action now: use video conferencing—Save the planet.

Click here for The Top Ten Ways Your Company Can Use Video Conferencing to "Go Green" >>

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