Video conferencing: Beyond the boardroom

May 15 2014, 10:50 IST
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Today’s video conferencing extends beyond the walls of the conference room. (Photo courtesy: LifeSize.com) Today’s video conferencing extends beyond the walls of the conference room. (Photo courtesy: LifeSize.com)
SummaryEnterprises can use it on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Today’s video conferencing extends beyond the walls of the conference room. Enterprises can use it on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Some Indian firms are seeing the value of video collaboration beyond simple travel savings, to include reducing time-to-market, increasing customer service, and streamlining decision making

Video conferencing is evolving rapidly—how it’s used, where it’s used, by whom and for what—and its use as an enterprise productivity tool is also growing rapidly. A recent adopter is India’s leading pharmaceuticals company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which attributes secure video collaboration as fundamental in uniting its employees for consultation and speedy decision-making across time zones, not to mention the key role played by it in reducing the time and cost of frequent travel.

Few months back, the Hyderabad-based drug company had deployed video collaboration solutions from Polycom, to enable executives and employees across two major corporate offices in Hyderabad and Bridgewater, New Jersey, USA to collaborate face-to-face via secure, high-definition video. The two locations have been fitted with document cameras to display samples of drugs and generics for real-time inspections with FDA officials, product reviews with co-workers, and sample showcases for buyers. The company’s smaller offices, manufacturing units, and research and development facilities dispersed across the globe have also benefited from the rollout of the video collaboration solutions.

Dr Reddy’s financial and marketing teams are benefiting from video capabilities, for everything from joining the announcement of quarterly results to sharing market development information and product promotions. Additionally, the implementation of new video solutions across iOS and Android smartphones and tablet devices has meant that senior level executives are able to join critical internal meetings from anywhere while on the move.

“Our company’s global demand for instant communication across distances, particularly between R&D teams to make decisions quickly, meant that we required more effective and efficient ways to collaborate. With Polycom video, we are getting the most comprehensive unified communication infrastructure that meets our need to deliver wide-scale communications across the company, enabling our research and technical teams to meet across any distance and collaborate securely and instantly for vital consultation and decision-making,” says Atanu Roy, chief technical officer, Dr Reddy’s. “For our executive team in particular, video collaboration has enabled a new way of conducting business without the need for frequent travel across large distances. This in itself has not only helped us achieve significant savings in time and travel cost, but also establish a better work-life balance.”

Minhaj Zia, managing director, Polycom India & SAARC, says, “In today’s world, it’s not just about video conferences in office environments; it’s about delivering the ability to meet face-to-face in any environment. This makeover is due in large part to the integration of video collaboration into day-to-day mission-critical business operations such as mobile inspection on the factory floor, crisis response centres in government or video-enabled kiosks in banking.”

According to him, companies globally and across the country are now seeing the value of video collaboration beyond simple travel savings, to include reducing time-to-market, increasing customer service, improving crisis management, and streamlining decision making.

Thanks to video conferencing, India’s leading farm co-operative body IFFCO has managed to meet its green IT targets, reduce carbon footprint while saving thousands in costs. IFFCO is a leading player in the fertiliser industry in India and works closely with the government to increase foodgrain production in the country, utilising 40,000 cooperative outlets and 158 farmers service centres in 29 states for the distribution of its products.

With a staff base of over 6,700 spread across five mega plants, 80 marketing offices, and the company’s corporate headquarters, effective communication and collaboration is a vital part of how IFFCO conducts its business, particularly for the efficient management of employee relations and the execution of vital HR functions, such as the company’s annual employee appraisals process. In the past, over 1,000 employees travelled to the company’s headquarters in New Delhi each year for their appraisals, which resulted in lost productivity and substantial travel and downtime costs. Looking for a way to streamline operations, IFFCO turned to high-definition video solutions from Polycom.

According to Mahesh Chandra Srivastava, systems manager for IFFCO, the company has achieved savings of over $200,000 in travel and lodging costs in six short months, equating to a 200% return on investment year-on-year. “The ROI has been phenomenal,” said Srivastava. The video collaboration system is now used in other areas of the company for strategic meetings among leaders, deliberations of plant officials with corporate headquarters, reviews of production targets, crisis communications and regular business meetings and training sessions, broadcasting live audio and video messages to all plants, in addition to hosting small press conferences with media over video.

CARE Ratings, India’s second largest credit rating agency, too is earning greater

improvements in productivity, efficiency, and customer-care since the implementation of video collaboration solutions. Employees have quickly adopted video as the primary method of collaborating with each other on a daily basis and have applied its use for several different purposes, both internally and externally. Use includes review meetings and inter-branch meetings, customer interactions, monthly company meetings for all employees, and investor and press meetings. Internal training sessions and new employee inductions are solely conducted over video; this has proved to be an effective and more personal method of simultaneously welcoming new joiners across several locations and immersing them into the company’s collaborative culture immediately.

Thanks to the Polycom RealPresence Mobile software application, available on iOS and Android, CARE Ratings has also readily embraced the rising bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. Tablet devices have been rolled out for senior management and smartphones for other users, in order to allow staff to easily connect to video conferences while on the go.

Staff at some of the forward-looking enterprises in India are truly immersed in a collaborative culture!

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