Cisco Systems’ new ‘Telepresence’ video conferencing facility featuring a 65 inch plasma screen offering twice the clarity of a standard high definition TV has the potential to become a billion dollar earner and cut down on global warming.
Prices start at £176,000 for a six-seat unit (and a company needs a minimum of two) but with the potential to save £60m on airfares and reduce CO2 emissions by 10% over the next ten years it is already an attractive proposition to a number of FTSE 100 companies.
One company that has shown a keen interest is HSBC which last year declared itself the first carbon neutral bank in the City. HSBC found that long haul flights accounted for more than half of its CO2 emissions and video conferencing could reduce the amount of flying undertaken by the company by nearly 70%.
A number of factors have transformed the video conferencing market which has until now had a poor reputation. Climate change has risen up the business agenda at a rapid pace over the past 12 months but also prices for high-speed internet access have been falling and compression technology now allows vast quantities of data to be transferred in milliseconds between continents.
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It is no surprise that a company like Cisco, whose networking and communications technology already supports great swathes of the internet, is at the forefront of video conferencing research and development. But this particular R&D is predicated on the assumption that responsible businesses will seek to fly less often to reduce their CO2 emissions.
As the reversal of global warming becomes more urgent there will be a plethora of technological contributions to the solution. This offers innovative companies in the south east an excellent opportunity to capitalise on a whole new sector of the economy which is eminently exportable to the rest of the world.
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