Europeans Asked to Cut Business Trips

Teleconferencing is great, but the electronic infrastructure may not be in place to support widespread use of it. (Photo: Kai Hendry [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

If the European Commission gets what it wants, business travelers in Europe will reduce their travel by 20 percent and rely on the use of teleconferencing and other information and communications technologies (ICT) products. The commission estimates that a 20 percent reduction in business travel could cut greenhouse gas emissions to the tune of 22 million tons, annually.

While traditionalists may prefer the intimacy of in-person meetings, today’s teleconferencing and other ICT products provide businesspersons with the ability to chat, collaborate, and share documents in real-time.

Teleconferencing products have been used for years but today’s offerings are a far cry from the technology’s early days. One company, Premiere Global, offers conference and collaboration, fax and document delivery, e-marketing and customer engagement, and notifications and reminders products to its customers.

The conference and collaboration product line offers customers the ability to integrate audio, video, web, and event-conferencing technologies. Two of its product lines, ReadyConference Plus and GlobalMeet can be used with a customer’s existing technology – no additional hardware or software programs are required to take advantage of these two teleconferencing products.

Customers of Premiere Global can also forego printing out pages of information; the company offers digital meeting packets, transcription services, and audio recordings.

Although teleconferencing products like those offered by Premiere Global exist, some worry that the European infrastructure is not currently capable of handling the high-speed data transmission that is required to take advantage of the high-end videoconferencing products.

“To tackle this potential lack of ICT infrastructure, the Commission will issue proposals before the end of the year on how to invest in optical fibre networks (so-called Next Generation Networks), which are expected to replace the existing mainly copper-based Internet infrastructure.” Source: EurActiv

One of the technologies that the European Commission is exploring is the use of cloud computing. Initial estimates show that using cloud computing could save individual business owners money as the less in-house equipment is needed. Additionally, businesses could save up to 80 percent on energy bills by using offsite hardware.

The European Commission is expected to publicly release its ICT recommendations on Oct. 8 and then publish information about fiber networks by the end of the month.