12 Jan 2015, Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China --- A Chinese worker holds an oil nozzle at a gas station in Nantong city, east China's Jiangsu province, 12 January 2015. China's crude oil imports rose above 7 million barrels per day for the first time in December, reaching record levels as plunging international prices allowed the world's largest importer to fill strategic and commercial reserves. International crude prices are near six-year lows, revisiting levels last seen in the wake of the global financial crisis. While price controls over transport fuels limit the boost to the Chinese economy, the drop has presented an unusual opportunity for China to increase reserves of crude oil at relatively little cost. China imported 7.15 million bpd in December, bringing its full-year crude imports to a record 308 million tonnes up nearly 10 per cent on the year. Some of that additional demand reflects economic growth --- Image by © Imaginechina/Corbis

Technology, An Alternative To Rising Fuel Costs

As South Africans come to grips with the reality of the fuel price hike, which is at an all-time high of R17 per litre, Cisco has looked at technological alternatives that will ease the financial strain of travel costs. Given the country’s constant fuel hikes and the ripple effect on the cost of food, electricity and other commodities – minimising the usage of the car aircon, driving at 60 kmph and carpooling seem to be outdated methods.

“Most travels involve driving to and from workplaces every day. While many jobs still require a physical presence, at Cisco we believe we need to think about the way work has evolved, especially when it comes to knowledge workers. Chances are it’s no longer a 9 to 5 job and it does not need to take place in the office. In today’s digital world, it’s all about productive teamwork, anytime, anywhere,” says Clayton Naidoo, Cisco General Manager sub-Saharan Africa.

Clayton Naidoo, General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Cisco

“This is why technology can help address the rising fuel costs in South Africa. It is worthwhile for local businesses to explore this global trend and invest in digital tools that allow meetings to take place virtually. There are tools that offer full office capabilities and team collaboration without employees having to get into their vehicles.”

If the South African workforce can benefit from the ‘work from anywhere’ methodology, the domino effect would be remarkable to say the least. Returns on this investment will be of considerable value as businesses would no longer need large office spaces which would, in turn, reduce the cost of rent, electricity and energy consumption, water, cleaning services, office maintenance, telephone usage, travel allowances, parking bay costs etc.

Cisco Webex is one such application. It is “video first” because seeing and being seen is fundamental to good teamwork. Gone are the days when you would stare at the screen only to see a presentation—now you can see all your teammates in crisp, clean layouts whether you are on your laptop, your Cisco video room device or your mobile device.

As we know, what happens between meetings is sometimes even more important than what happens during a meeting. Therefore, meetings, as point of time discussions only, will be replaced by ongoing collaboration within and across teams, assisted by context-aware technologies. To bridge smoothly the time period before, during and after meetings, Cisco offers Webex Teams, a platform for ongoing team collaboration.

“Individuals and businesses can accomplish more and serve customers better while spending less on travel. Using Webex saves time and money and it reduces carbon emissions,” says Naidoo.

“Cisco Webex will help enhance business outcomes and increase employee satisfaction using a single application, while keeping all your important information safe with advanced security.”


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