UN Climate Conference To Use Cisco Telepresence

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But some analysts claim that high-end video-conferencing systems can be extremely expensive and resource hungry

The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December will use video-conferencing to cut down on the amount of travel delegates have to do in the run up to the event, according to the organisers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will use technology from communications company Cisco for delegates to talk with people outside Copenhagen during the conference, although it is not clear at this stage if some delegates may choose to stay at home and telecommute to the event.

The organisers of the UN conference, known as COP15 for short, which will take place in Copenhagen from 7 December to 18 December, have said that the Bella Centre conference venue will use Cisco’s Telepresence technology.

“There is a lot at stake for our planet at COP15. As the host country, Denmark is well aware of its responsibility,” said Svend Olling, head of department, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It is our ambition to find innovative ways for all parties to the convention as well as civil society representatives to cooperate efficiently and in a sustainable way in order to reach an ambitious deal at COP15 in Copenhagen.”

However although the move is being touted as green and sustainable, Cisco’s high-end video conferencing systems can cost in the region of £200,000 and usually require a dedicated room to get the best from the technology.

Some technology analysts have pointed out that video-conferencing systems, particularly high-end telepresence systems carry hidden up-front costs and there are significant cultural issues to overcome in order to ensure staff actually use the systems.

“Enterprises need to plan carefully to integrate videoconferencing into their VoIP and unified communications strategies and to avoid buying expensive islands of videoconferencing for senior managers that cannot interoperate with simpler technologies across the business,” said Forrester analyst Phil Sayer.

A recent study from European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO) and the World Wildlife Fund revealed that if 20 per cent of business travel in the EU was replaced with telecoms technologies, by 2010 around 25 million tonnes of CO2 would be saved each year.