It’s an oft-used cliché but the greenest mile is the one not driven. And it’s also the cheapest mile.
This is where tele-conferencing and video-conferencing come into the equation.
There will always be a need for face-to-face contact and delivery-based organisations clearly cannot replace journeys with virtual discussions, but many miles can be removed by using software.
And the return on investment (ROI) can be fast – whether replacing regional, national or international meetings – once you consider the cost of fleet and fuel, or alternative travel, accommodation, subsistence and employee time.
Tele-conferencing is an accessible business option with countless service providers offering low-cost solutions on a dial-in basis.
Jon Appleton, managing director of Conference Genie, (CG) which offers video-conferencing, suggests that companies primarily use audio-conferencing: “For daily meetings and run of the mill conversations, audio is sufficient.”
CG offers services where callers pay for their own calls, or toll-free services invoiced to the host company.
Although data can be shared through free online services, including Google documents, video-conferencing comes into its own when people want to share presentations or work through spreadsheets with full and high-quality visibility.
Video-conferencing is growing for two reasons: the development of HD and the relative cheapness of bandwidth.
For relatively small monthly sums you can get internet capable of sustaining good-quality real-time video-streaming.
Appleton says the market is moving rapidly towards personal desktop conferencing.
Companies buy a solution which works within a web browser, needing no hardware or software beyond webcam and speakers.
“For £200 a year you can have video conferences with up to 10 people per call anywhere in the world,” he says.