Telepresence is at a tipping point

New communication and collaboration technologies allow for the development of new, smart working practices

August 3, 2010

New communication and collaboration technologies allow for the development of new, smart working practices.

Polycom Inc., a global leader in telepresence, video and voice communications solutions has enabled thousands of organisations across the globe to work smarter through the use of the company’s collaborative technology solutions and given the changing market, telepresence is now at a tipping point due to three factors. Firstly the improved networks and widespread availability of bandwidth, secondly the accessibility of telepresence solutions ranging from consumers and the mobile market to SMBs, enterprises and service providers and lastly due to the cultural acceptance of video.

Says Dan Engel, regional sales manager of Polycom; “We are at the next stage of the video revolution: Video revolutionised the music industry with MTV, video transformed the internet with YouTube, and now video is transforming how businesses collaborate and create meaningful value across teams and locations. They say that seeing is believing, but seeing also means more effective communications ensuring better experience and better results.”

Polycom has dramatically intensified its reliance on its enterprise-wide unified collaboration environment, arguably the most extensive in the world. That environment allows Polycom’s 2,600 employees, partners, suppliers, and even customers to engage with one another through any combination of voice and video communications, content sharing, presence awareness, and instant messaging. As face-to-face collaboration has increased, so have Polycom’s cost savings, productivity gains and environmental benefits.

The company has realised an immediate return, including a 30% reduction in airline ticket purchases. In fact, in the first quarter of 2009, the virtual approach saved Polycom $35,537 in airfare, $16,320 in hotel costs, daily expenses of $10,800 and $1,899 in land transportation costs – for a total of $64,556. The company also saved $151,000 in salary by sparing attendees from losing 1,510 hours to travel. Together, that’s more than $200,000 per quarter – or $800,000 annually.

Polycom’s blended training programme through UC also has saved 4,788 hours of employee time that otherwise would have been spent traveling. When the programme reaches all 700 salespeople, productivity gains will have topped 8,300 employee hours.  Based on a 40-hour week, that’s more than four years of work time reclaimed and put to productive use, saving Polycom roughly $600,000. Add to that the savings of $626,017 in hard costs, and the overall bottom-line benefit jumps to $1.2 million.

Reduced travel also means fewer carbon emissions. In fact, by using video to train the worldwide sales team will save an estimated 374 metric tons of carbon emissions and the Industry Solutions Marketing team’s teleworker model saves 112 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. Just these activities reduce Polycom’s carbon emissions by an estimated total of 513 metric tons – or the equivalent of removing 171 cars from the road every year.

“While 2009 was the year of cutting costs and streamlining as much as possible, 2010 is the year of smart and cautious optimism. A transformational change is coming. In the same way that people now Fed-Ex materials, Google information, people will soon Polycom the meeting, substituting the single dimension of audio-only meetings or the time consuming effort of travel with a rich, immersive HD experience,” continues Engel.

“Working smarter isn’t about working harder. Change something about the way you work, because if you keep doing the same things over again, you’ll stand still. New approaches to the way you and your organisation works will also help energise staff and help you to compete with emerging competition,” concludes Engel.