Jean-Pierre Labry, executive vice-president of R&M Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Jean-Pierre Labry, executive vice-president of R&M Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

Swiss structured cabling specialist Reichle & De-Massari (R&M) has optimised internal communications and eliminated the need for one in every five business trips though the deployment of a streamlined conferencing solution from Swisscom. The regional Middle East, Turkey and Africa R&M office is also utilising the solution.

R&M estimates that in addition to increased efficiency and cost savings, the system has helped reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 by about 12.5 tons.

"In the Middle East, being successful in business is very dependent on building meaningful relationships which is why we have a strong and widespread local presence. Virtual conferencing helps facilitate speedy and cost-effective communications between members of our team and has the added advantage of being an effective tool in climate protection," said Jean-Pierre Labry, executive vice-president of R&M Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

The system is designed to enable phone calls and the transmission of images and virtual presentations over a web cam. It also has file sharing functions for exchanging documents and jointly editing them in real time. It allows as many as 25 participants to cooperate intensively and virtually and to compare notes. Training and lectures, consulting sessions and sales pitches can be conducted directly online, as can team meetings, product development work, and support services.

In the pilot phase, which was conducted in mid-2012, participants at R&M initially forewent about 10,000 kilometers of flights and drives. Approximately 12.5 tons of CO2 emissions were avoided in the process. According to R&M, each person reduced his or her travel time by about 20 hours. In order to promote usage of the service, R&M started an incentive program at the time of the launch of the online conference system. An internal promoter dubbed "Angel" trained the employees. Individuals who made the most intensive use of the tool and reduced their travel immediately were rewarded by management.

Following a six month pilot phase, R&M incorporated the system into everyday operations. It is now available to all office workstations in the R&M Cube in Wetzikon and at subsidiaries and branches throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.