Last week the New York Times reported that “Travel Goes the Way of the Dodo at Cisco,” noting that Cisco CEO John Chambers told analysts that the company had saved a lot of money during difficult times by cutting back on travel and increasing web conferencing. Sadly, Chambers didn’t mention that web conferencing is an excellent greening strategy for small businesses. Its a silver lining that the bad economy has led companies to consider alternatives to travel such as web conferencing and teleconferencing.
In fact, if every small business owner in the United States conducted one teleconference in lieu of a domestic business trip, it would save $25.4 billion dollars in travel expenses and 10.5 million tons of C02 in just one year.
If you are interested in web conferencing there are lots of resources on the Internet. You can start with C-Net software reviews. Kolabora is an essential web conferencing resource for those stepping into the field for the first time. ConferZone is good for guidance on web conferencing including terminology, questions to ask when deciding on a web conferencing solution site and the latest web conferencing research. Thinkofit offers a guide to web conferencing services and solutions including topics such as real-time conferencing, collaborative work environments, and book recommendations. Webseminarian provides a comprehensive guide to web conferencing news, reviews, and opinions.
Of course, Cisco stands to gain from the growth in web conferencing. They sell both WebEx Web Conferencing SasS software and the routers and switches necessary to handle the network traffic. But there are other providers worth looking at. Adobe Acrobat Connect, GoToMeeting by Citrix, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, and Webconferencing.com are all worth a look.
Webconferencing has long been (well, as long as its been around) one of those easy to sell greening strategies: it offers real cost savings along with the carbon avoidance. It goes without saying that business travel consumes energy and generates waste. In fact, airplane travel, lodging and rental car usage can consume almost 1/4 of a business’ carbon footprint and as much as 3% of its revenue. It makes sense for companies to ask themselves before traveling whether they can accomplish their purposes without a face-to-face meeting? The answer is often yes.