I'm blogging from iLinc's annual customer summit, being held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not much going on in town this week... Just a major golf tournament and a little event called the Super Bowl. Tomorrow I'll be giving a presentation at the summit, but today I'm listening to customers and experts talk about their experiences.
One of the most interesting presentations of the morning session was given by Chris Gosk of Global Knowledge. It turns out that Chris works a few miles from me in beautiful Cary, North Carolina. We only had to travel 2200 miles to meet each other.
Chris is in charge of delivering services and support to large enterprise customers of Global Knowledge. His company provides fee-based training to business students around the world. Much of their subject material is highly technical in nature. It is common for their classes to be five days of eight-hour sessions, with a 300-page course manual.
Global Knowledge uses local classroom training, but it also delivers many classes remotely, using iLinc's web conferencing technology. Chris said that they are running about 30 virtual courses per month, using up one million iLinc connection minutes. Yes, per month.
One of the key topics in Chris's presentation was a quantitative look at carbon footprints and environmental impact. He showed a slide with calculations of total carbon emissions associated with one of their average classes as delivered locally and remotely. Looking at impacts associated with facilities and overhead, physical materials, and travel, Chris came up with an estimated 15,941 pounds of CO2 emissions for a local class and 11 pounds of emissions for a virtual class. That isn't 100% savings, but it's close enough for most of us.
He went on to point out that from a sheer profit perspective for Global Knowledge, they find that their cost per session and cost per student drop dramatically (75-79%) when using iLinc versus classrooms. But more than that, they get benefits from the green perspective. They are still relatively small in measurable terms... They are able to meet client RFP requirements for green sourcing strategies and they can show some market leadership that benefits them in publicity and marketing.
But the interesting perspective is a look at the near term future. Chris predicts more legislation associated with the politics of global warming. Companies will need to show compliance and need to show measurements to get tax credits.
iLinc has published one of the few tools meant to help individuals come up with a way to do quantitative estimates of their carbon footprint offset for meetings. A mini calculator lets you put in travel distances and methods and see CO2 contributions to the environment. This is admittedly simplistic, but if it helps get people thinking and talking about the issue, that can't be bad. iLinc's CEO, James Powers, is chummy with Al Gore from their shared upbringing in Tennessee and it's nice to see that they also share some of the same concerns about ways that we can all help monitor and adjust our behaviors and their impact. iLinc's web conferencing technology has a built in calculator that takes the idea one step beyond by automatically figuring out the locations of meeting attendees and making a thumbnail calculation as to how much CO2 is being saved by not making them travel.