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April 28, 2009

Global business centre provider rolls out hi tech video conferencing suites

Technology giant Cable&Wireless has joined forces with the world’s largest provider of flexible workplace solutions, Regus, in a move that will see Polycom’s market-leading Telepresence video conferencing suites established at Regus’ premier global business centres.

In a joint initiative worth around £32 million over five years, Regus locations in world business capitals, including London, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Manchester, Mumbai, Moscow, Frankfurt, Paris, Shanghai, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, will be fitted with the suites, giving business leaders a genuine alternative to executive travel.

Green incentive
As the global economy tightens, businesses are attempting to control costs, become more competitive and address the green agenda by reducing the corporate carbon footprint. This venture is designed to enable businesses to achieve all three without the high capital costs associated with installing high-end managed video conferencing solutions in their own offices.

“As the world’s largest operator of video conferencing studios, we know that our customers appreciate the benefits of this leading-edge technology and are excited to use the product,” said Regus chief executive Mark Dixon. “Companies that utilise this virtual tool will save time and money on business travel, while minimising their impact on the environment. We are revolutionising how people meet by delivering services that will optimise their performance."

Cable&Wireless chief executive for Europe, Asia and the US, Jim Marsh, agreed, adding: “This will be a new way of working for many businesses, but it’s a method where cost savings and improved productivity are realised immediately.”

Eye contact
Cable&Wireless and Regus are convinced that the latest videoconferencing technology, which enables 10 colleagues per site to meet virtually, provides an authentic face-to-face meeting experience. On-screen meeting participants are shown in their actual dimensions, which the companies insist allows “genuine eye contact and enables delegates to pick up on the non-verbal communication that’s essential for a productive meeting experience”. The high definition technology also allows users to share desktop content between locations, to improve collaboration.

Although not naming the company concerned, Cable&Wireless claimed that by rolling out high-quality video conferencing across its business, one global technology organisation estimated that it was able to bring its latest product range to market nine months earlier than scheduled, saving US$17 million in the process.

Better collaboration
Unsurprisingly, Cable&Wireless was keen to stress that its new deal with Regus “gives businesses of all sizes the opportunity to take full advantage of this technology, and the benefits associated with it, at a fraction of the cost”.

It’s certainly true that, while some large enterprises are able to justify the purchase of video conferencing units in a small number of major corporate locations, this option provides a flexible way of supporting services beyond existing corporate sites and enterprise boundaries. What’s more, using the wider Regus video conferencing footprint gives businesses a viable avenue through which to drive inter-business collaboration.

The suites, which can be hired on a pay-as-you-go use hourly basis, will be available globally from summer 2009.

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