High definition video conferencing is one suggested method of cutting costs and carbon emissions.

12 March 2014 — Billions in travel and energy costs could be saved and carbon emissions reduced if Australia invests in information communication technology, a Telstra report suggests.

The report, Connecting with a low-carbon future, states that $8.1 billion in travel and energy costs, as well as 27 million tonnes of carbon pollution, could be saved if “seven key ICT opportunities” were employed:

  • Remote appliance power management
  • Context-aware power management
  • Decentralised working
  • Personalised public transport
  • Real-time fleet management
  • Increased renewable energy
  • High definition video conferencing

Telstra group managing director Paul Geason said ICT solutions had the potential to provide Australian businesses with a major step-change in their approach to carbon emission reduction.

“Businesses are always looking at ways to improve productivity while growing the bottom line. Of all of the options on the table investing in smart technology is by far one of the most effective,” Mr Geason said.

“In addition to having the potential to increase productivity and new business opportunities, modern information communication technologies also have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions.”

The seven ICT opportunities were first recognised in Telstra’s 2007 report, Towards a High-Bandwidth, Low-Carbon Future.

“When we first started looking at this issue closely seven years ago we thought existing technologies would provide the biggest benefits to business in terms of cutting operating costs, creating opportunities to generate new business cutting carbon emissions,” Mr Geason said.

“We’re seven years smarter and excited that innovations have emerged that could further benefit business, including smart cities and infrastructure and mobile carbon guidance.”

He said the potential of ICT solutions to realise further carbon and cost savings was only expected to increase with rising energy costs.

An example of successful ICT solution was a “telepresence” system for the Department of Finance in Canberra, which hosted 1031 meetings during the first 18 months of operation, saving travel and associated costs of up to $70,000 a meeting – over $12 million during this period.

“Savings are being made by companies right now through the strategic deployment of ICT. The opportunity to further improve productivity, while responding to increasing societal pressure to reduce environmental impacts, is only expected to increase in the future,” Mr Geason said.

How the recently elected government’s position on the National Broadband Network affected the viability of ICT solutions like high-definition video conferencing was not canvassed.

Read the full report.