Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Business.view: Grounded | The Economist

A timely reality check; see the full article

Predictions of the demise of business travel at the hands of technology have been made before, but this time there is more reason to think they will prove right. The quality of video conferencing provided through, say, Cisco’s TelePresence system is orders of magnitude better—real-time, good picture quality, extremely reliable—than what was available even a few years ago. And it is increasingly cost-effective. Cisco claims that its system pays for itself within six months on average through lower business-travel costs alone.

This claim is broadly supported by Procter & Gamble, which has been using TelePresence since 2007, promoting it inside the firm with the slogan, “Connect, Converse, Accelerate”. The consumer-goods giant now has over 70 TelePresence studios around the world, and says they are in almost constant use. According to a spokeswoman for the firm, P&G employees say they like the fact that “they can make the connection they need and still be home for dinner”. As well as improving work-life balance, this virtual approach also appeals to P&G staff because of its sustainability—it has significantly lower environmental costs than flying.

Business.view: Grounded | The Economist

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