By Ian Neubauer
New videoconferencing technologies are promising to take a bite out of the business travel market in the face of skyrocketing fuel costs and mounting environmental concerns.
Among the growing number of businesses investing in videoconferencing infrastructure and endpoints is Accenture.
The global technology consultancy firm has installed 13 videoconferencing rooms built by HP in 13 offices around the world and plans to install another 22 before the year is out.
Built by Hewlett-Packard at a cost of $370,000 a piece, the high definition Telepresence systems are saving the company millions of dollars in travel costs every month and improving the moral of travel-weary employees.
The global market for videoconferencing solutions is likely to grow by as much as 30 per cent over the next few years, according to US-based research firm Gartner, with UK analysts Frost & Sullivan forecasting growth of 44 per cent by 2010.
Growth is being powered by increased installation of endpoints, the increased availability and affordability of high-speed internet and the growing popularity of internet telephony.