Going Green

Going Green

Is it time to make the switch to VoIP?  Many telecom directors have asked themselves this question.  There are many things to be considered before deciding Avaya VoIP or Nortel VoIP is right for your company.  As you put together an analysis of the situation there is one aspect that you may overlook and it deserves consideration.  David Byrd breaks it down in the following article “Go Green”.  Rest assured that either way, VoIP or existing TDM, Cornerstone Communications offers affordable maintenance solutions for your Avaya or Nortel telecom system.

Go Green
Published on March 02, 2010 in Market News, SIP
by David Byrd

Businesses as well as employees want to be environmentally friendly. Using a VoIP solution for communication can make a difference, but servicing a phone system requires lots of energy to operate the Internet and maintain network communications and data centers as well as other resources, so many telecom analysts claim that VoIP cannot be considered green technology. This premise is easy to accept because data centers that house VoIP and SIP Trunking equipment are filled with environmentally unfriendly components. Ecologically safe disposal of computers and electronic components is difficult and frequently people simply ignore the risks. Contamination occurs every time a CRT is tossed into a landfill because it releases mercury, lead, cadmium and flame-retardants.

None of these facts support the claim that VoIP/SIP Trunking is a green technology, yet there are other consumer products that are touted such as hybrid automobiles that are not completely eco-friendly either. They still use gasoline, oil, antifreeze, processed plastic, rubber tires, batteries full of hazardous chemicals and potentially damaging electronics, but when compared to those with few or no elements of green technology they are definitely a better choice. Why? Their electric motors or rechargeable batteries make them greener than conventional counterparts.

Following this logic, VoIP and SIP Trunking are definitely greener than existing TDM technology. A side-by-side comparison reveals why. The servers used to operate IP networks use less energy, require less cooling and are less massive than the central offices and tandem switches they are replacing.  The cost and material required to build a data center for SIP Trunking services is less than that of a TDM switching center. The reduction in energy use for power and cooling can be up to 40%. The improvement is so significant that IP communications can easily claim the position of being a green communications service.

Additionally, it allows for more telecommuters while providing more features and benefits to those workers. Two years ago, the Consumer Electronics Association commissioned a study that identified 3.9 million telecommuting American workers. At that time it was estimated those workers saved 840 million gallons of gasoline per year, resulting in the prevention of 14 million tons of CO2 emission. According to a report published by the Texas Transportation Institute, travelers spend the equivalent of one full work week each year waiting on expressways. The corresponding amount of carbon emissions could be eliminated by permitting workers to telecommute. Probably all of those numbers have increased since those statistics were gathered and the technology supported by IP communications has expanded as well. One relatively new technology is telepresence conferencing, which should increase the number of telecommuters and decrease the number of people flying to various meetings. The obvious savings is fuel consumption, but there are several additional positive impacts on the environment.

They require less office space, reducing the amount of construction materials, land, heating and air-conditioning.
They tend to leverage their personal equipment in the performance of their jobs, requiring fewer computers, printers, phones and fax machines.
They contribute to reducing traffic congestion, thereby improving commuting times and reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions .

VoIP phone systems are becoming environmental friendly, with renovated technology that makes them more energy efficient. Internet-related activities already consume nearly 4% of North America’s power supply and the number is going to increase with added VoIP features such as video conferencing and one-click dialing. Proponents have started developing new ways to utilize features without consuming so much energy and being wasteful. Some recent technological advances are:

Telephone VoIP Adapters (TVAs), which enable businesses to adjust their existing phone lines and infrastructures to be VoIP-compatible. This allows existing desktop handsets to gain access to many enhanced  features and eliminates the expensive, time-consuming and environmentally unsafe need to rip out old wiring from walls and dump old handsets in landfills.
Fax over IP (FoIP), which allows faxes to be transmitted via the Internet rather than the analog method of sending them through telephone lines. This enables fax machines to work with a packet-based network which requires less bandwidth, less consumption of energy, and protects employees from exposure to paper dust and potentially toxic toners.

By implementing a series of affordable steps to make business operations greener, it is possible to:
Reduce operating expenses and improve efficiency through waste reduction and energy conservation.
Stand out when environmentally-aware customers are selecting suppliers.
Capitalize on federal, state and local tax and financial incentives to be eco-friendly.
Conserve natural resources and reduce carbon footprint.
Attract and retain employees who prefer to work for an organization that has earth-friendly values.

In addition to potential savings of up to 70% on telecom costs through VoIP/SIP Trunking, these reasons should inspire businesses to carefully evaluate their stance on environmental responsibility and start transitioning to IP communications.  VARs should target companies with this message. The increase in market penetration will help the environment and reduce greenhouse gases.