Unified communications helps businesses address environmental concerns with teleconferencing, remote collaboration tools and more. Unified communications as software rather than special purpose hardware frequently requires less energy to deliver the same functionality. Here, Knowledge Center contributor David Schenkel discusses a few ways that software-based unified communications can help your business save money while helping the environment.
green with unified communications is easier than most people think. IT
administrators and their solution providers looking to green their
networks should seriously consider software-based unified
These solutions include built-in fax and voiceconferencing
capabilities, which not only drives productivity and reduces human
latency, but also reduces costs, energy use and more. The following are
just a few ways that software-based unified communications can help you
green your business.
1. Eliminate separate fax machines and lines
Fax machines produce a lot of unnecessary paper. They frequently
require additional phone lines, as well as add unnecessary power
consumption to any company's network. This is especially true for real
estate agents, law firms and schools-all of which rely on paper faxes
to shuttle around information.
The best unified communications solutions include fax as part of
their unified messaging offering. Fax messages appear as attachments in
your e-mail. They can be archived, forwarded or printed as necessary.
Employees can fax directly from their desktops, which reduces the need
for printers and print supplies.
Eliminating multiple fax machines and reducing your print supplies
can save hundreds if not thousands for most businesses every month.
Plus, it goes a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint.
2. Save money and the planet with voice and videoconferencing
The costs of air travel, both to your bottom line and to the
environment, are substantial. Voiceconferencing allows employees to do
business with their partners, suppliers and customers over the phone. A
unified communications solution that includes voice over IP (VOIP)
telephony can help bring voice, and even videoconferencing, to your
business at a very low cost. Just make sure to buy a solution that's
interoperable and flexible. Your business probably only needs voice
conferencing today, but it may need videoconferencing tomorrow.
3. Buy software, not hardware
A lot of unified communications vendors will try to get you to rip
out and replace your old, inflexible and proprietary phone system in
order to get you to put in an entirely new, inflexible, proprietary
phone system. Ripping and replacing isn't environmentally friendly.
But if you buy unified communications as a software solution that
runs on a standard server platform (for example, Microsoft Windows),
you can upgrade your phone system by just adding licenses and
installing new software. Unified communications as software rather than
special purpose hardware also frequently requires less energy to
deliver greater functionality.
4. Streamline and automate with phone-based applications
If you've ever done telebanking, you've used a phone-based
application. Sometimes these applications just offer self-service
information (think movie listings) and sometimes they offer
sophisticated, database-enabled transactions (such as telebanking).
These applications are typically very costly to build with traditional
phone systems, requiring a lot of specialized programming and
But providing customers with automated self-service over the phone
is great for the environment. Similar to Web-based applications and Web
sites, they allow businesses to spend less on producing signage,
postcards, advertisements, catalogues, paperwork and a whole host of
other things that require energy, chemical inks, paper and other
natural resources to produce.
This is just the short list of the many ways in which a unified
communications software solution can help your business get green.
Going green with unified communications is a great way to save your
company money while helping the environment.
David Schenkel is Chief Technology Officer at Objectworld Communications Corp.
In this role, David oversees the overall technical direction of the
company and its product development plan. David is also responsible for
the establishment of customer satisfaction through the use of
continuous improvement processes for the delivery of both product and
customer support. To achieve this mandate, David draws on over 25 years
of experience relating technology convergences and market direction to
corporate goals and processes.
Prior to this present venture, David was the CTO of Mobile
Knowledge. In this position, David provided strategic product
direction, and significantly improved the quality of the company's
operations, including IT, manufacturing, professional services and
customer support. David was also Director of Technology at Peregrine
Systems and Loran International Technologies Inc., where he held
similar responsibilities. Throughout his career, David has worked in
large organizations such as Nortel and Mitel, and has also been a
successful technology entrepreneur as one of the founders of Plaintree
Systems. David holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hon) degree from
the Engineering Science Program at the University of Toronto. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.