Innovation will help firms to deliver on sustainability programs that aim to cut costs and achieve environmental benefits. Telepresence is a proven example of a new technology that delivers on the sustainable business agenda while enabling companies to realize financial benefits. Executives should think of telepresence as a valuable option in the portfolio of sustainability investments their firms need to make to transition to low carbon business models.
So what is telepresence? Once used, the benefits of telepresence are clear, but for those unfamiliar with it, telepresence describes an innovative, immersive form of video conferencing. The technology, offered by firms like AT&T, Cisco, HP and Tandberg, offers a much richer “real life” visual experience, high-definition sound, simple set up and reliable connectivity.
Telepresence solutions typically require dedicated meeting rooms. These telepresence rooms vary in size from just one 56 inch screen to more immersive rooms with six screens – sometimes aligned on one side of the meeting room table to mimic a real meeting.
This study, conducted by the independent analyst firm Verdantix, provides detailed analysis on the return on investment of telepresence and carbon reductions. With the aid of a detailed model, we demonstrate how projected telepresence adoption would drive huge economy-wide benefits in two example countries – the UK and the US – from both a financial and carbon perspective.
The purpose of this study is to get first hand accounts of companies’ use of telepresence and quantify the potential financial, environmental and productivity benefits that can be achieved from this technology. For energy and climate change policy-makers the analysis explains how telepresence can assist countries to reduce CO2 emissions. This research6
is based on:
1. In-depth case studies with 15 Global 500 multi-national corporations, across a broad spectrum of industries, who have invested in telepresence. Case study material was gathered through interviews with senior managers from IT, corporate sustainability and environment management teams.
2. A financial model built to calculate the ROI of telepresence based on up-front investment costs, operating costs and quantifiable business benefits from travel avoidance.
3. A carbon reduction model built to calculate carbon reductions from telepresence based on travel patterns, utilization rates and the ratio of meetings that substitute travel (substituted meetings) to meetings that are set up because the technology is available (stimulated meetings).
4. An economic model, based on financial data for over 3,000 global firms operating in the UK and the US that forecasts economy-wide financial and environmental benefits from telepresence over a ten year time horizon.
• Section 1 of this report reveals key findings from the 15 detailed case studies.
• In section 2, we provide a ten year forecast for telepresence financial benefits and carbon reductions for global firms with annual revenues greater than $1 billion operating in the UK and the US.
• Finally, section 3 makes recommendations and highlights best practices for firms to achieve both financial and environmental benefits.
6. Detail on the research and model used can be found in the appendix of this report.
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