SAP AG has introduced an application that companies can use to encourage their employees in share car rides to work. It means that employers can save money on company cars, parking infrastructure and travel expenses as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The TwoGo cloud application allows employees to be matched into car pools automatically according to their own preferences. Once a company licenses the solution, employees can sign up online and enter ride-sharing preferences such as area, arriving and departing times, length of diversions to pick up passengers, etc. Rides are instantly matched and communication is handled automatically via email or SMS. It also has added sophistication, such as ensuring that there is a car share available both to and from work, so that employees don’t get stranded at the end of the day.
TwoGo’s geographic capabilities are powered by HERE, Nokia’s location cloud, which delivers location capabilities across multiple screens and operating systems. TwoGo can be used on various mobile devices, via the web as well as through calendar applications.
“We’ve combined our mobile and cloud technologies into a carpooling solution to help provide immediate economic, environmental and social benefits to companies and their employees,” said Peter Graf, chief sustainability officer, SAP AG. “As such, we expect TwoGo to not only help people and businesses save money and greenhouse gas emissions, but to also connect people more closely with each other and with the company they work for. It has been designed around employees with one single objective in mind: create the most effective, intuitive and beautiful experience possible.”
TwoGo is aimed at companies of all sizes - organizations can even decide to allow employees to car pool with people working at neighbouring companies that use TwoGo. It can be used on the Web in English, German, Spanish or French and uses international time zones, maps and measurement units. The mobile app can also provide administrators with reports on employees’ commuting habits and usage trends. There’s more detail on the functionality and capabilities of the software in a video - “Overview: TwoGo by SAP.”
The application has been used by SAP since July 2011. The company estimates that TwoGo has generated more than $5m in value for the company, specifically by helping to save commuting costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by helping to eliminate 400,000 miles of driving and avoid 88 tons of greenhouse gases.
Review: There’s a lot that ICT can do to help reduce carbon emissions in travel and this is a good example. There are several aspects that make it particularly useful contribution to reducing GHG gases:
Watching the video does give a sense that this application has been well thought through from the potential users perspective (not always the case for IT applications). It’s very flexible, works on a number of devices and is, hopefully, easy to use.
Secondly, it comes from SAP, a tried and tested (and trusted) corporate solutions provider. SAP has not always been at the forefront of green IT, but when it does provide solutions they leverage the software suppliers expertise in corporate IT. Many companies are likely to consider this application simply because it comes from SAP.
Thirdly, while many companies have addressed Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect – primarily electricity) emissions, Scope 3 indirect emissions, such as business travel, have generally fallen outside legislation and voluntary targets. This application allows corporations to address this issue – business travel will be the majority of Scope 3 GHG for many companies.
All-in-all this looks like a useful contribution to green IT. It’s the sort of self-contained, IT department-friendly solution that a CSR department could easily pick up and drive through as part of a corporate sustainability strategy.