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Green, Financial Gains from TelePresence

Telepresence video communication systems enable groups of people to meet and collaborate in multiple locations worldwide -- while feeling as if they were all in the same room together. Executives can now equate the full positive impact from several tangible benefits of utilizing telepresence systems, according to the results of a new market study commissioned by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

U.S. and U.K. businesses that substitute some business travel with telepresence meeting services can cut CO2 emissions by nearly 5.5 million metric tons in total -- the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing more than one million passenger vehicles from the road for one year -- and achieve total economy-wide financial benefits of almost $19 billion, by 2020.

Other conclusions of the global market study determined a business with $1 billion or more in annual revenue that utilize four telepresence rooms could:
  • Achieve a financial return on investment in as little as 15 months.
  • Save nearly 900 business trips in the first year of using telepresence.
  • Reduce emissions by 2,271 metric tons over five years -- the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing 434 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
The study also revealed that telepresence solutions can help speed decision-making, improve employee productivity, and provide workers with a better work-life balance.

Modeling the Benefits of Telepresence Applications
The study was produced by Verdantix, who conducted in-depth interviews with executives of 15 Global 500 firms that are early-adopters of telepresence. They used the findings of those interviews to develop a detailed model to calculate the financial return on investment (ROI) and carbon reductions of telepresence.

The model looks at projected telepresence adoption among companies with $1 billion or more in annual revenue and forecasts how the financial and carbon reduction benefits achieved by early adopters of telepresence would translate into economy-wide financial and environmental benefits in the U.S. and U.K. by 2020.

Carbon emission reductions among U.S. companies with annual revenues over $1 billion were forecast at approximately 4.6 million metric tons by 2020 -- the equivalent of removing more than 875,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

Among large U.K companies, carbon emission reductions by 2020 were forecast at approximately 940,000 metric tons -- the equivalent of removing more than 179,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

Total economy wide financial benefits that could be generated by 2020 as a result of large companies using telepresence in place of some business travel were forecast at over $15 billion for the U.S. and almost $4 billion in the U.K.

"Companies that invest in carbon cutting technologies and re-engineer the way they do business will not only be better placed to succeed as we transition to a low-carbon economy but can experience considerable business benefits during this transition," said CDP chief executive officer Paul Dickinson. "Telepresence is a good example of a low-carbon solution that can bring financial savings and increase productivity while reducing emissions."

Study participant Zelda Bentham, senior environment manager of global insurance company Aviva, said, "We compared executives traveling from the nine months prior to telepresence with the nine months following implementation. From an air travel perspective, we observed a 25 percent carbon footprint reduction."