Is digitisation for more sustainability a saviour or a false promise?

The comparison of the Footprint of digital technologies with their benefits in terms of energy and material savings is not clear in all cases. However, there are areas where the opportunities of digitisation clearly outweigh the opportunities, most notably in video conferencing.


The media discourse on digitization and climate in the summer of 2019 could give the impression that people are committing the same climate sin whether they are watching a video on YouTube or sitting in an airplane. A video stream is compared to a video conference that is held. If that were true, video conferences would not be a means of avoiding CO2 emissions.

But the impression is wrong. From the published scientific studies on the electrical power required for a video stream on the Internet, emissions of 28 to 150 grams of CO2 equivalent for a video stream can be derived, in the worst case 620 grams. During a flight hour, however, around 130 kilograms of CO2 equivalent are emitted per person, or 130,000 grams.

So why are video conferences still relatively unusual? One of the reasons is quite banal: Because unexpectedly many of the systems used work worse than airplanes. Good videoconferencing systems, on the other hand, do not force anyone to install software clients, perform any maintenance or dial cryptic dial-in codes. In today's age of videoconferencing, it is standard practice to be able to dial into a videoconference from any system with just one click. In short, you get an invitation with a green dial-in button. This will appear immediately on your selected devices, so you can also connect to the meeting from your conference room. The fact that picture and sound are not synchronous and delayed is also a thing of the past. The audio quality is very good, even if nobody uses a headset. This is also thanks to active speaker tracking, which recognizes who is speaking and focuses on that person automatically. In addition, there are various ways to connect your devices a lá BYOD to the conference and share its content. Privacy is respected and the systems have a long life span.

Unfortunately, video conferencing systems are not yet part of everyday culture for most people. However, it is especially important to convey visual signals in group discussions or when speaking to an audience. Signalling understanding and incomprehension, agreement or disagreement, requests to speak and pointing to content - all this no longer works in a group if they do not use a suitable VC system. Even if only part of all travel can be replaced by virtual presence - the potential of good VC systems for saving travel and thus emissions is far from exhausted.

Knowing that there are good and bad VC systems does not solve the problems of most companies. Therefore the questions still arise: How do I distinguish a good VC system from a bad one? Which VC system is the right solution for us? DEKOM is the ideal partner to consult you and to answer all your questions regarding video conferencing, so that you too can reward your ecological thinking and acting with a more effective work culture.