BT Conferencing has announced a product called Engage Tracker, a tool to help companies document monetary savings resulting from the use of video conferencing. The tool is available as an add-on module to BT’s online scheduling and call launch tool - Engage Meeting Manager.
Engage Tracker calculates how much air travel, and hence cost and emissions, has been saved through the use of videoconferencing. It uses the customer’s data to make the estimates and can include both the travelling itself and the associated subsistence costs of being away from the office.
Initially this sounds fairly interesting, but realistically, is it much help? It sounds more like a tool for justifying videoconferencing investment after the event, so the supplier has most to gain. It’s only available if you’re already a BT Engage customer, so not much help elsewhere
There are also mixed messages here. Is it for tracking savings in cost or emissions? The two are, of course, connected, but the inclusion of other subsistence costs associated with travel suggests that its more to do with costs, despite carbon savings being a headline.
Apart from that, why only air travel? Videoconferencing can be just as effective in reducing car and train travel. In any case, the problem with assessing the savings from using videoconferencing is that it has the potential to become an additional facility, i.e. to become widely adopted within a company without a commensurate reduction in travel.