At a Glance
- Rapid adoption of visual communications
- Increased employee interest
- Reduced business travel costs
- Quick and easy setup
Polycom Single Touch Visual Communication Solution Exceeds French Company’s High Expectations
Single touch visual communications solution exceeds French company’s unique expectations for international, multi-lingual team work.
A Mid-Sized Group with a Global Presence
Founded in 1854, French Group Touax started out as a freight company transporting goods along the Seine and Oise rivers. Driven by its innovative spirit and diversification of trades, the Group gradually evolved into a global company and is now one of the world’s largest players in the operational leasing market, specializing in the four fields of shipping containers, modular buildings, river barges and freight wagons. With its workforce of 665 employees, the international Group offers its customers a global service thanks to its network of offices, agents and warehouses located at the world’s main ports across five continents. In 2010, Touax generated sales of EUR 302 million.
A Need to Communicate Differently
As an operational leasing company specializing in shipping containers and modular buildings, the Group’s operations are inevitably scattered around the globe, particularly in view of the fact that one of its strategic objectives is proximity to its customers. This desire for proximity has seen Touax open agencies at various ports within the countries in which it operates, resulting in a dense network of operations and significant dispersion of its employees.
Philippe Lasserre, Director of IT at the Touax Group tells us: “in order to progress as a company, our employees need to meet, and that involves a lot of travel.” As meetings involve people from different departments, the need for more face to face meetings has increased resulting in an increase in the business travel expense.
A Need for a New Method of Communication
Email is an asynchronous tool lacking in warmth and little suited to negotiation. Although synchronous, talking over the phone is not the easiest way to discuss the layout of a building site or module. Another problem is the use of English as a common language but a second language for many employees. This can result in misunderstandings and incorrect interpretations. A visual communication solution was the obvious choice for Lasserre, who wanted a high-quality and user-friendly system.
Quality and Simplicity
“Our desire to work with market leaders with an international presence swung our decision in favor of Foliateam and Polycom,” explains Lasserre. The Group’s key criteria in selecting the integrator and the solution itself were a market leader with an international presence, ease of use and audiovisual quality. In Polycom, Touax found a market leader in its field that could offer guaranteed technological expertise and sustainable investments. “Our desire to work with market leaders with an international presence swung our decision in favor of Foliateam and Polycom,” explains Lasserre. The Group’s key criteria in selecting the integrator and the solution itself were a market leader with an international presence, ease of use and audiovisual quality. In Polycom, Touax found a market leader in its field that could offer guaranteed technological expertise and sustainable investments.
Touax asked Foliateam to integrate a touchscreen to enable employees to set up a virtual meeting at the touch of a button.
Touax also wanted high-quality audio and visual capabilities to allow its employees to continue using plans during meetings — an easy task thanks to the 12x zoom of the Polycom EagleEye camera of the Polycom HDX 7000 and HDX 8000 systems, which enables plans to be presented as required in front of the camera.
Touax made telepresence rooms available to all its employees right from the start of the project. These rooms are always occupied and the company believes virtually all employees have already participated in a videoconference! Three benefits of the new solution have emerged during use:
- Linguistic aid: Lip-reading facilitates comprehension of words spoken in a different language, while gestures help viewers understand the meaning and intention of what is being said if the syntax itself escapes them
- Ease of use: As the rooms are listed in the directory of each system under the name of the city in which they are located, all the user has to do is pick up the remote control and select the destination from the screen
- Fast meeting setup: The Meeting Room function offered by the Polycom RMX conference platform enables meetings to be set up extremely quickly for greater flexibility and adaptability and rapid decision making. For instance, the “New Product Development” meeting room automatically connects three sites: Germany, the French city of Chartres and the Czech Republic when a user selects it from the directory.
This success can be attributed to two factors:
- The example set by management: The managers involve their colleagues in video conferences, and in turn these employees encourage the people reporting into them to use the tool in what can be described as a snowball effect.
- Word-of-mouth: The interest generated by the technology and the convenience it offers is prompting each and every employee to use the work tool Many employees have grasped the social and economic benefits of telepresence. While they are aware this doesn’t do away entirely with the need for in person meetings, they appreciate it when it can save them a day’s travel. What’s more, visual communication promotes the feeling of being part of a team, as Lasserre explains: “during a meeting in telepresence; you see straight away any negative effects and can rectify the situation immediately — something that wouldn’t be possible over the phone (with no picture) or via email (asynchronous).”
An ROI that Goes Beyond the Financial
Studies conducted by the Director of IT indicate a return on investment of three years. However, as Lasserre explains: “It’s not only a question of savings, but also a means of strategic development.” Three development opportunities offered by visual communication:
- Expansion of geographical coverage by increasing the number of telepresence points
- Exploration of new usages, both with major customers and external partners such as suppliers and investors
- Provision of portable solutions for greater integration of visual content in professional communication
The Choice of Polycom/Foliateam
In Polycom and Foliateam, the Touax Group found the partners it was looking for to make its project a success. Polycom offered a range of high-quality telepresence systems and an extremely user-friendly conference bridge for multi-site conferences, all with an attractive price tag. Foliateam brought its integration expertise to the project, notably its audiovisual know-how for the touchscreen and its knowledge of networking to check the suitability and technical implementation of the solution. The Touax Group was impressed by Foliateam’s responsiveness and expertise and entrusted the integrator with the installation of its telepresence infrastructure in Europe and also the training of internal teams.
“ With telepresence, you see straight away the audience reaction, any potential negative effects and can rectify the situation immediately — this is not possible over the phone or via email.”
Philippe Lasserre, Director of IT, Touax Group