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Brands turn to telepresence & video conferencing solutions

Following the ash cloud and travel disruption of the Eyjajallajokul Volcano earlier this year, Enterprise Communications reports that many international companies have aggressively expanded their use of video conferencing services.

Reports suggest that this brief grounding of flights led to an estimated saving of some 2.8m tonnes of CO2.  When this figure is coupled with estimates from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) that business travel accounts for 20% of global air travel emissions, many businesses do not see the Icelandic volcano as a brief departure from the norm. Instead, many companies are embracing telepresence and other video conference solutions to remove their dependency on flight – and by extension, reduce their carbon footprints.

This week Enterprise Communications looked at three major firms and how they have taken steps to embrace telepresence and prepare for the future.

Among them is Tommy Hilfiger, the well-known international designer apparel brand. Hilfiger has signed a five year managed services contract which sees them provided with a variety of video conferencing solutions. Not just through the traditional use of ‘in person’ communication via telepresence, but also through specialised “virtual fitting rooms” in the brand’s prestige facilities in Amsterdam, New York and Hong Kong.

Another is Kelkoo, one of Europe’s leading shopping comparison websites. In conjunction with Tandberg VC systems, the company says it has significantly reduced business travel between its 10 international offices.

“Of course our executives still have a need for business travel, but our CEO has cut down unnecessary time out of the office by a third which is extremely valuable,” says Phillipa Hollister, PA to the CEO at Kelkoo. “Our international director too can now meet everyone he needs to face-to-face in a single day – and he does so every week.”

Finally, Enterprise Communications spoke to North American travel company Omega World Travel. The firm are provided with video conferencing services to more than 200 of their office locations around the world through the use of one unified communications platform.

“A strong communications platform is a necessity for our business, as we must have the constant ability to quickly connect with employees and customers around the world to ensure their real-time travel needs are always met,” said Gloria Bohan, President and CEO of Omega.