Budget Group Case Study
Time and distance prove no restriction for quality videoconference systems
Thirteen may be unlucky for some but that is exactly the number of days that JKC had in which to design, supply and install a new videoconferencing system linking Peterborough and Cape Town for the Budget Group of companies. And they did it – on time and within budget. Here’s how!
The Budget Group
The Budget Group of Companies, since its launch in 1992, has gone from strength to strength by using the latest technology to make it easier for its customers to buy insurance by telephone. As a pioneer of 'paperless' insurance, Budget introduced call recording to replace traditional written proposals and forms. Now, policies are sold and administered by telephone linked to sophisticated computer systems.
Budget is committed to stay at the forefront of technology to maximise the efficiency of its business and the level of service it provides its customers. Therefore, when an important meeting was required between directors based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Cape Town, South Africa the company decided to install videoconference suites at both sites so avoiding the time and expense involved in travel.
A challenging time scale
Budget contacted JKC after searching for ‘videoconferencing’ on the Google search engine, finding the JKC website at the top of the page. After initial discussions of the system requirements JKC sent quotations to Budget and this was followed by a site visit to Peterborough by Rob Gowman, a senior sales consultant for JKC.
It was at this meeting that Rob learned that the system was required for an important all-day directors’ meeting between Peterborough and Cape Town in just 13 days time. Less than a fortnight to source the equipment and install it at both locations.
The system chosen for Budget was a Polycom VSX7000 with a Pioneer plasma display supplied by Review Video (UK). The VSX7000 is a top of the line, mainstream conferencing system that provides premium audio and video performance in a split form factor for optimum flexibility. It provides everything required for highly effective video conferencing while providing for future growth and investment protection.
The system is ideal for medium to large conference rooms and provides the highest quality video with Polycom Pro-Motion delivering smooth natural motion and sharp, crisp images. Superior audio performance is obtained by using the most advanced audio standards and technology.
For the display JKC recommended the 42 inch PDP-42MVE1 plasma display from Pioneer. This has a host of features to enhance the WVGA display performance including Pioneer’s encased cell structure coupled with pure digital signal processing to improve image reproduction.
Budget has very good bandwidth available at both sites and this means that the systems run at 512Kbps. This optimises the effect of the Pro-Motion facility on the VSX7000 providing a very high quality experience.
The security of GoldSeal support (Now Replaced with Touchline Support)
The system was installed under the terms of the Review Video (UK) GoldSeal warranty programme. This includes next business-day equipment replacement with all shipping costs covered by Review Video (UK) and also provides GoldSeal technical support assistance between 8.30am and 6pm, five days a week to help diagnose any equipment or network failure.
GoldSeal also provides remote diagnostic support to determine where any failures occur, remote installation support plus unlimited user training via video link.
The logistics of installation
Review Video was able to supply the equipment to JKC immediately from stock and JKC then shipped it to a strategic partner in South Africa for installation in Cape Town and meanwhile the system was installed in Peterborough. As there were no compatibility issues, once the Cape Town system was up and running the first test call was executed without difficulty proving that time and distance is not a problem to JKC.
John Cooper, managing director of JKC, explains: "The success of achieving an aggressive deadline requirement is dependant on recommending the right solution and working with all people involved to make sure deliveries and installation times are met. We enjoy a challenge here at JKC and with our team we can certainly deliver."
A great success
Having achieved the required deadline, the directors’ meeting went ahead as planned and the system has been accepted readily by senior staff at Budget. It is now used two or three times a week for all-day conferences with South Africa and personnel are carrying out inter-office laptop presentations and making full use of one of the major advantages of videoconferencing; that of sharing presentations, spreadsheets and other data while getting immediate verbal and visual feedback.
The savings in travel are significant and the system is proving to be so effective that there are already plans to expand videoconferencing to a further two sites in the UK.