As countries across the world transition to a more service focused economy, a large portion of which are small businesses, the amount of energy consuming office equipment will also increase. Just like VoIP, “Green IT” is becoming a hot topic for small businesses today that are concerned with efficiencies, bottom line, performance and customer service. A sustainable and encompassing “green strategy” should not stop at energy saving servers, computers, and monitors, but should also include VoIP phone system communications.
Using energy efficiently within your business can provide a number of benefits. Not only will you help to protect global energy reserves and reduce your environmental impact, but you will also save your business money and reduce overhead costs. As a resource efficient business you will be demonstrating that you recognise your responsibility towards the environment, and promoting yourself as an environmentally friendly business is a strong marketing message which is likely to attract new customers to your business.
The following 5 steps can help make your business greener and save money:
1. Develop a Green Strategy: Find steps you can accomplish almost immediately, and then build from there with actions that cost nothing or very little to apply, for example:
2. Introduce VoIP/Video Conferencing: Video conferencing can help take your business to new levels as you’ll be able to speak face to face with existing or potential new clients across the world. Talking to people through video, web and teleconferencing, avoids the costs, time and stress of travelling. Video conferencing solutions are available that support free video calls via Skype as well as SIP/H.264 such as the Grandstream GXV3140 video phone. In the long term, VoIP/video conferencing equipment will pay for itself when you take into account the cost of fuel, potential hotel prices and work time wasted driving.
3. Use Low Power IP PBX hardware: Phone system power consumption can be reduced by using low power IP PBX appliances instead of IP PBX tower/rack servers. Low energy consumption means a return on investment is likely to be far shorter than with IP PBX tower/rack servers. For example, the G-Series Asterisk IP PBX Appliances from Positron Telecom have no moving parts and are silent in operation, this combined with their ultra compact size makes them an ideal solution for businesses with 2-50 employees looking to save costs and help the environment. A Positron G-Series Asterisk IP PBX Appliance only uses 1W-3W of power, which is at least 95% less than an IP PBX tower/rack server which typically uses about 75W-90W.
4. Install a Fax Server: An integrated fax server like Hylafax that comes with Elastix (a free Open Source Unified Communications Server) supports faxing from/to the desktop as well as fax-to-email without the use of mechanical fax machines. Faxes arrive in an electronic format instead of paper, which can drastically reduce or even eliminate the printing of incoming faxes and can have a huge positive impact on the environment. An integrated fax server also helps reduce costs by saving the cost of paper, toner, supplies and maintenance charges.
5. Deploy Low power VoIP Phone Handsets using PoE: Another way to reduce the amount of energy a phone system uses is to deploy energy efficient VoIP phone handsets. For example, recent independent testing of VoIP phones from seven well known manufacturers revealed that Snom phones have the lowest power consumption in each respective phone class, with a power saving of over 50% in some cases. Most VoIP phones today support Power over Ethernet (PoE), which means they can be deployed without having to pay an electrical contractor to run power cables and install AC outlets.