Increased investment in ICT could save Australians about $8.1 billion and more than 27 million tons of carbon pollution, according to Telstra.
The Telstra Connecting with a Low Carbon Future report quantifies the potential benefits of seven key ICT opportunities to Australian businesses and consumers in 2014.
The report found these tools could save business and consumers an estimated $8.1 billion in energy and travel costs and cut national carbon emissions by 4.7 per cent, the equivalent of taking around two thirds of Australia’s cars off the road for a year.
Telstra Group Managing Director, Paul Geason, said smart, affordable ICT solutions had the almost unrivalled potential to provide many Australian businesses with a major step change in their approach to reducing carbon emissions.
“Businesses are always looking at ways to improve productivity while growing the bottom line. Of all of the options on the table investing in smart technology is by far one of the most effective,” he said.
“In addition to having the potential to increase productivity and new business opportunities, modern information communication technologies also have the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions.”
Geason said Telstra first identified seven ICT opportunities for Australian businesses and spelt out the potential benefits in 2007.
“When we first started looking at this issue closely seven years ago we thought existing technologies would provide the biggest benefits to business in terms of cutting operating costs, creating opportunities to generate new business cutting carbon emissions,” he said.
“We’re seven years smarter and excited that innovations have emerged that could further benefit business, including smart cities and infrastructure and mobile carbon guidance.
Geason said the most profound conclusion from this report was that Australians were leaving around $6.5 billion in savings on the table by not investing more in ICT.
“Technologies such as telepresence have proven a strategic and sound investment that can reap significant savings for businesses with employees in multiple locations. However the potential of this and other ICT solutions to realise further carbon and cost savings, is only expected to increase in the future with rising energy consumption and prices,” he said.
The initial telepresence solution (installed in 2009) for the Department of Finance in Canberra hosted 1,031 meetings during the first 18 months of operation.
The cost avoided for travel and associated expenses was estimated to be up to $70,000 per meeting.
As a result of the reduction in travel government was able to avoid costs in excess of $12 million during this period.