Heineken taps into UK video conferencing savings

Brewer Heineken has deployed a UK video collaboration system for its sales staff to improve communications and help reduce its carbon footprint.

The Polycom RealPresence video platform is being used to reduce the amount of travel Heineken's 500 field sales people do across the UK, and improve communications between the London office and the head office in Edinburgh, and also between manufacturing sites.

The system has transformed the London and Edinburgh offices into a "virtual campus", reducing travel costs by over £250,000, whilst also saving 160 tons of CO2 in car journeys and flights in just 12 months, said Heineken.

Working with Polycom partner Talk and Vision to manage and maintain all of the systems globally, Heineken has over 11 video-enabled rooms in the UK to complement the existing 160 units installed in over 50 countries across the world, including the Netherlands, Mexico, Romania, Poland and the US.

“The conferencing system has led to larger usage demand for video conferences, with people booking repeat meetings much more frequently,” said Brendan Rafferty, IT architect at Heineken.

“We haven’t even had to launch it internally as it’s been word of mouth that has carried the solution into the live operating environment.”

The brewer says its field-based sales force now enjoy a better work/life balance by reducing their travel across the UK, whilst increasing their ability to share information in real-time throughout the organisation.

Heineken is considering extending the system to iPads, to enable staff to make video calls and conduct face-to-face meetings.

Last month outsourcer Civica said a move to collaboration platform Microsoft Lync 2010, which includes video conferencing, had helped it to reduce the internal costs of travel and subsistence by 19 percent.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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