Coincidentally, Green Prophet spoke earlier today with Zohar Zisapel, a founder of RAD, the company that owns RADVISION, a NASDAQ-traded company. Zisapel, who says he’s looking to solar and green tech, will appear soon in a story we’re writing for ISRAEL21c. Today we have a guest post from RADVISION’s Sagee Ben-Zedeff, on the greenness of video-conferencing technology:
Earlier this year, former US Vice President and Nobel laureate Al Gore spoke on a virtual panel that discussed the role of enterprise technologies in environmental matters, most notably climate change. Gore said that climate change is an “urgent crisis,” in which “scientists are practically screaming” at governments and citizens to take action.
It seems that there is a great deal of pressure, mainly in Europe and the US, to make an effort and reduce the carbon footprint. Climate change, global warming, pollution – all are threatening our lives, all are most probably our fault.
It wasn’t a coincidence that Gore called for action in a VoiceCon, a convention about enterprise communication, and that he chose to do so in a virtual panel. Communication and collaboration technologies, such as video conferencing, have long been considered “green,” and are now mature enough to play a key role in the enterprise “green” initiatives.
A proper disclosure – the event was organized by Cisco, the networking giant, to showcase its video conferencing technologies as a “green” solution. While the conference was held in Orlando, Gore spoke from a location near his home in Tennessee, his host, Cisco CEO John Chambers, was located in San Jose, and the moderator spoke from outside London. The panel included audiences in Orlando, London, Warsaw, Dubai and Paris. All were using Cisco’s Telepresence technology.
The fact that most of the people involved in the panel did not have to leave their homes or offices and fly in order to participate in this event may seem trivial, but even in 2008 video conferencing and other collaboration technologies are still considered “nice to have” by most enterprises, a fact that is quite alarming in light of the environmental crisis we are all facing.
We all know that the Internet can bring most of the world together. With technologies such as video conferencing and online collaboration, those face-to-face meetings, which force us to not only waste valuable money and time in traveling but also contribute dearly to the global pollution, can become history, or at least go down dramatically in scale.
“Business leaders are way ahead of political leaders,” argued Gore. A market transition towards “greener” technologies will not only make an immediate impact, but will also help show politicians and decision makers that this is doable and economical. He also urged regulators to explore whether video conferencing technologies can be used in global carbon regulations post the Kyoto Protocol era.
In the panel Cisco’s CMO said that Cisco itself has been using the technologies it is promoting, saving not only a $100 million in travel expenses, but 15 million cubic tons of carbon emissions. Enterprises using video conferencing and online collaboration can also reduce car travel, burning (and consuming) less gasoline, and reduce the expense and footprint of their corporate offices.
Early video conferencing was either very expensive and restricted to large-scale conference rooms or free but low quality. But the technology today is established, affordable, efficient and can work on your desktop.
Video conferencing can now provide an experience that is in close proximity of face-to-face meetings. When considering all the pros in using video conferencing and online collaboration instead of flying, commuting or driving, one can understand how enterprises can play a key role in the fight for a better, cleaner environment.
Hard times call for hard measures. And yet with video conferencing it seems that being green is not that hard. It is no longer a luxury, and it should be regarded as a “must have”, not as “nice to have”, as this crisis is one that we MUST solve.
Sagee Ben-Zedeff has been developing video technologies and video related products for the past decade. His experience includes research and development of video coding technologies and managing of development teams working on complex media processing products for the V²oIP market. Sagee currently manages the DSP group in RADVISION, a leading provider of products and technologies for unified visual communication over IP and 3G networks.
He also writes one of RADVISION’s corporate blogs, Video Over Enterprise, which deals with video and video applications “with an enterprise slant”.
In his (sparse) spare time, Sagee is a proud father, a struggling athlete, a strong-minded critic of Israeli music in leading music websites, an aspiring author of poetry and short stories and an avid blogger in his personal blog, www.videooverenterprise.com.