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Dec 17 2007

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Web conferencing and sustainability

Two-and-a-half years ago, when I was putting the finishing touches to the final chapter of my book manuscript, I sketched out ideas of how web-based conferencing solutions might be used to replace some face-to-face meetings in construction projects. At the time, I focused on the convenience aspect of such ‘net meetings’ and their value alongside construction collaboration applications, rather than how they might help reduce a project team’s carbon footprint.

In the past three months, I have used various tools to participate in meetings and seminars delivered over the web, including Glance, Live Meeting and WebEx. I mentioned this to Building magazine journalist and blogger Phil Clark when I met him recently and he suggested I write about the sustainability dimension as part of a review article for the recently launched Building Sustainability website. The article Virtual conferences analysed was published last week.

Phil also kindly forwarded a news release discussing research conducted for another conferencing vendor, Netviewer. Based on responses from 332 enterprise IT managers, the research found time and cost savings were regarded as the major benefits, with the ability to reduce travel requirements thereby cutting carbon emissions largely overlooked. Gary Taylor, managing director of sustainworld.com, is quoted:

“… over just the last three months we have saved a huge amount of otherwise unproductive travel time. In addition to that direct benefit, Netviewer helps us ‘walk the talk’ from an environmental point of view – we advise on sustainable construction and being able to minimise our own carbon footprint in such a cost effective way is a strong plus. Web conferencing and remote meetings are a simple way in which most businesses can improve their environmental performance.”

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2007/12/web-conferencin/

1 comment

4 pings

  1. Cece Salomon-Lee

    Hello Paul, You definitely highlight the benefits of leveraging technology to reduce travel which impacts an individual’s carbon footprint.
    I also wanted to introduce you to our company ON24 (http://www.on24.com). We’re a webcasting company and have seen our technology used for larger virtual events. In addition to reducing a company’s carbon footprint, we’ve discovered that webcasting can minimize the amount of paper printed and copied for virtual events.
    For example, we estimate that one webinar averages 200 attendees with 40 PowerPoint slides. This saves about 16 reams of paper through digital distribution instead of printed hard copies per attendee. I even researched a formula that then translates this into the number of trees saved.
    Let me know if you’re interested in learning more about my company’s thoughts on this topic.
    Best,
    Cece

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    […] Earlier this week, I wrote about web conferencing and its potential contribution to reducing carbon footprints by eliminating some travel. In a comment, Cece Salomon-Lee of ON24 noted that such online sessions also reduce the need to print out copies of presentations, etc (assuming, of course, that participants don’t later download the presentations and print them out locally). […]

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