Internode is the first SA-based company to purchase the Cisco TelePresence system, which creates a live, face-to-face communication experience over the network with high quality video and audio.
Using five-year projections based on its 2007-08 activity, Internode estimates that its TelePresence suites will eliminate more than 150 tonnes of carbon emissions from its operations through reduced travel. That is equivalent to planting more than 12,000 trees.
Internode is already using the TelePresence system to connect its Sydney and Adelaide offices. Its new Melbourne office will come online later this year after the fitout is complete. As well as internal meetings, Internode is using the system to communicate with business partners, vendors and customers.
Internode CEO Patrick Tapper said the TelePresence suites had already contributed to greater productivity. "We expect this facility will help us to win new business as well as do an even better job for our existing customers," he said.
"Our main reason for installing TelePresence is to make Internode's expertise more accessible nationally. Whether it's a sales meeting or a technical planning session, we can bring in the right person, regardless of where they are located."
"In addition, we expect it will significantly cut our travel costs and, of course, that translates into a reduced impact on the environment, which fits with other 'green' initiatives by Internode."
With a large business customer base, Internode earns most of its revenues outside its home state of South Australia. The national company has 430 staff at its Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne offices.
Internode has spent nearly $500,000 to purchase and install the three Cisco TelePresence System 1000 units. The systems are designed to create a "virtual table" around which as many as four participants can meet. The system also supports multipoint meetings, allowing the connection of all three locations.
Each TP 1000 installation has a 65-inch, 1080p high-definition plasma screen to display life-size images of two meeting participants at each location. As well as providing video clarity to capture every facial expression, the system has CD-quality audio to let you hear every word.
Mr. Tapper said high resolution videoconferencing was a truly remarkable experience. "We've configured our Adelaide and Sydney Telepresence suites to be mirror images of each other, so everyone in the meeting appears to be in the same room," he said.
"After a few minutes in the meeting, you actually forget that you're talking to someone on a screen: The sound and vision are so immersive that technology disappears from the communication."
"The move from a videoconference call to TelePresence is like moving from dial-up to broadband."