According to Mark Baptiste, director of services for Cisco in South Africa , it is not only the high cost of bandwidth locally that slows economic growth and the vital rollout of green IT, but also the pressing need for a fundamental mindset change by local employers.
Local managers need to realise that the business world is irrevocably changing and when this happens, it will be the next evolution of green IT.
“Productivity as ever is key for a successful business but the, ‘you are only working if physically present in the office’ mindset is becoming increasingly irrelevant with current communication and collaboration technologies,” he says.
More employees working from home means less need for the perpetual energy running costs of a large office to be absorbed by South African companies, says Baptiste.
In addition, it would also mean less people on the road commuting to and from the office, consequently reducing carbon emissions and saving both money and energy, vital in light of recent and ongoing fuel hikes.
“People can still participate meaningfully without a long expensive commute to work. Collaboration technology means you can still drive personal interaction with colleagues and clients out of the office. Gated communities and golf estates already exist around the country, especially in Gauteng. By being efficiently networked, these communities could offer most of the benefits of the office while reducing commuter traffic and enable petrol savings across the board.”
Current collaboration tools now mean personal interaction levels are higher than ever before in digital communication. Collaboration technologies now allow multiple people to participate is a single call and actively participate through the convergence of voice, video and data They can also chat on the side, raise their hands or share graphics and content to illustrate points via a modern whiteboard environment, all online.
The recent launch of Cisco’s Personal TelePresence technology also means that executives no longer need to board increasingly expensive air transport in order to attend meetings around the country and globe. Telepresence is increasingly becoming an affordable live videoconferencing technology for smaller businesses, depending on bandwidth costs and availability.
Cisco already has pilot green IT site offices in San Jose and Bangalore equipped with both Telepresence rooms for ‘travel-less’ communication and motion detection sensors that power down electricity usage when people exit rooms. “These technology initiatives have already resulted in reduced energy consumption and sizeable cost savings for Cisco,” concludes Baptiste.