Video conferencing technology is helping many companies reduce their environmental impact and cut travel costs at the same time. The Financial Times reports that video conferencing is one of the innovations leading the "IT for green" movement, which uses technology to create sustainability outside the normal realm of IT.
A recent report from IDC says that while many information technology sectors experienced stagnant growth in the midst of the recession, video conferencing technologies grew more than 16 percent in 2009, and they are predicted to grow more than 400 percent by 2014.
"The video conferencing market is in the midst of a transition from meeting over video as an option of last resort, to an alternative thats preferred over travelling," says Jonathan Edwards, an IDC analyst.
The paper says that when volcanic ash shut down European air travel earlier this year, video conferencing helped many companies keep working while key employees were stranded overseas.
Many companies are also using conferencing technologies to help employees work from home more often. TMCnet reports that the average American worker wastes more than 100 hours every year simply commuting to work.