The Folks at NTR say it's a small, but crucial, step from software to landscape

I spoke with two execs at NTR recently, and they were talking software, of course. But they were really talking about the planet, energy conservation and taking some action.

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I spoke with two execs at NTR recently, and they were talking software, of course. But they were really talking about the planet, energy conservation and taking some action. Now. Not waiting. Not expecting a magic fix. NTR, based in Barcelona, is a major supplier of software for remote management and telecommuting. They sell services to thousands of companies around the globe. And they make a strong case for using their software to make an enterprise more efficient.

I spoke with Andre Angel, CEO of NTRglobal North America, and his environmental exec, Andrew Harsch. Harsch has a long record of working on locaL environmental issues. Both men were at the NTR North American HQ, in Dallas. At one point, they iterated how nice it would be if Texas had more trees. They made a strong argument for doing something, personally or as part of a business. And then explained why NTR is helping plant more trees on our earth. They hope families, customers, other corporations will find their action worth copying. This time, more is better.

"Why tree-planting?" I asked. It's something that can be done now. It can be done in many locations, from central cities to rural areas. One person, or a large corporation, a small group or an entire city--the scale of the tree-planting project is flexible but always worthwhile. Planting trees and reforesting areas that once held native forests can "payback" quickly by absorbing CO2 from the air, providing shade, holding down soil.

NTR has taken the step of throwing effort and money behind two non-profits that are planting trees. They are partnering with Plant-It 2020, a group founded eighteen years ago by the late popular singer, John Denver. Plant-It works on replacing native trees in areas that have been deforested. But they don't walk away. They form local groups to maintain the replanted forest, water saplings, care for and protect the reforested areas.

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Courtesy Plant-It: reforestation of hillside in Central America.

They are also partnering with Treelink, a group that works on planting trees in urban areas. Harsch pointed out that New Orleans needs another quarter-million oalks to get its canopy back after Hurricane Katrina. Bet the folks in Big Easy do NOT want to wait for FEMA or the Corps of Engineers to plant those trees.

Why city trees? They provide shade. The NTR folks cited their own city of Dallas where the temps run two-three degrees hotter on average in the center where there are fewer trees. Heat islands are a major factor in energy waste in many cities around the world. And down in Houston, where they know a lot about air pollution because they lead the league for North America, they have studied how much help trees can provide. Here's their info. THE SOFTWARE STORY

And about that NTR software for remote management, diagnosis and telecommuting. Angel points out how often an IT specialist drives to a location to diagnose a problem that may only take a few minutes to fix. Coulda stayed back in the office with the right software tools, or better yet, he coulda stayed at home. Worked there, perhaps not driven a car at all. NTR is especially keen to help companies with centralized IT services, help them work efficiently on analysis and solution...help them keep the IT folks out of vans and cars, off the road. They pointed out that many school district necessarily have a centralized IT service, they can't afford a tech at every elementary or middle school. Much better for them not to literally drive all over the district fixing problems.

That focus on schools is not coincidental. NTR will be partnering with many schools in tree planting exercises on campuses, or in nearby parks.

Angel pointed out the NTR software fits nicely with his company's encouraging folks to do something now about addressing environmental issues. NTR remote service apps are browser-based. They can be ordered and applied online in short order. No major capital expenditure, no time lag waiting for new gear or solar panels or an installer to schedule the work. And, insists Angel, the NTR apps quickly start to show an ROI. He says there's global interest now in remote work for employees and more efficient ways of deploying IT services across large organizations. Japan, Latin America, Europe. The trend is now. One major reason: high energy costs.* Again, it's a business choice being driven by ROI. This isn't happening apart from any government programs or regs.

* FOOTNOTE: TUESDAY CRUDE OIL PRICES SET ANOTHER RECORD, OVER $129 PER BARREL. MAKES A LITTLE COOLING SHADE AND FEWER MILES DRIVEN LOOK LIKE WORTHWHILE INVESTMENTS.