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A look at how an IT Solutions company implemented Lifesize to improve cross-team cooperation.

“It’s important
that we provide
the right tools
for our teams
so that they
can accomplish
what they need,
regardless of their
physical location.”

When cross-team cooperation is critical to
success, many companies count on video
conferencing to streamline communications and accelerate results. Also, teams
frequently need to connect from multiple environments, whether they’re conference
rooms, individual workspaces or worksites in the field. Lifesize Cloud enables users
to connect from a range of devices wherever they are, but these days one of the more
common use cases is a hybrid approach, where multiple users are joining meetings
from multiple platforms.

To hear more about this particular kind of implementation, we sat down with
Christopher Thompson, IT infrastructure manager for Westwood Professional Services,
Inc. Westwood provides multidisciplined surveying and engineering services for
commercial and residential development, renewable energy, power delivery and oil and
gas projects. The company serves clients across the nation from multiple U.S. office
locations.

How and when did Westwood start using Lifesize?

We consider ourselves to be a forward-looking company as far as technology goes.
We began using Lifesize about a year ago, right before Lifesize Cloud was introduced.
Each of our offices has its own Lifesize Icon system in its primary conference room.
Nowadays we also use the Lifesize Cloud desktop client for our power users.

Lately Westwood has implemented a number of initiatives focused on team
engagement and collaboration. Is there a driving force behind this? How do you
think collaboration is changing the workforce?

With the proliferation of high speed Internet, geographical location has become much
less important. As an IT professional, there’s really no reason in my mind why we
shouldn’t be able to provide essentially the same interactive experience no matter
where someone is located. As an engineering company, we have employees out in the
field at all times. They work on large pipeline and power projects that span several
hundred miles across the US and Canada. It’s important that we provide the right tools for our teams so that they can accomplish what they need, regardless of their physical
location.

Can you talk more about how your teams use Lifesize in particular?

Lifesize is in nearly constant use, especially in our conference rooms. We have at least
one business head at each of our offices, and they may be responsible not just for their
particular office or region but for an entire market. It’s important for our managers
to be able to connect face to face to discuss the trends or projects they’re working
on. We also see frequent use of the Lifesize Cloud desktop client, particularly in our
smaller offices. One of these is only about ten people, but the office manager there is
responsible for one of our larger markets. He is constantly using Lifesize on his laptop
not only for one-on-one conversations but to speak with entire conference rooms full of
people. We also make heavy use of the screen-sharing function.

Is there anything else you like about Lifesize Cloud in particular?

I appreciate that Lifesize is continuing to develop its web app for HTML5. This feature is
beneficial to our clients because they are not required to download or install anything.
Or, if they do need to download something, it’s very small and it can be completed
without needing administrator rights. We currently use Lifesize internally, but we want
to start using it more with our clients. If we are going to be collaborating with third
parties, the system needs to be incredibly simple. I noticed that Lifesize is making
progress in this capacity, and this is important because those capabilities are the
future of business communications.

Can you talk more about how you foresee using Lifesize to communicate with your
customers?

I can envision a couple of different scenarios. I can see people using Lifesize Cloud in
one-on-one interactions from their desks, just like they would with WebEx. I can also
see us holding entire conference meetings using the room-based systems. I have done
some testing, and I am happy to say I’ve been able to integrate Lifesize with Cisco and
Polycom systems through the cloud. That is a very positive capability.

What are some of your other favorite Lifesize features?

The touchscreen on the Lifesize Phone is one of the most important features and
something most people can pick up pretty easily. Also, the HD video syncs so well with
audio and provides so much clarity of detail that video conferencing stops being a
novelty and becomes a useful tool. Data sharing is another really important feature.

Aside from easier collaboration, have there been any other tangible benefits since
implementing Lifesize?

At one time, I remember our VP of Finance seeking us out because he was so pleased to
see our travel bills in decline! We host monthly ‘town hall’ style meetings and quarterly
business planning meetings. More and more, these meetings are being attended
remotely over Lifesize.

What advice would you have for others considering video conferencing?

Research is important. And when it comes to installation, details matter, like the
camera height and the distance between the camera and the end of the table. Other
than that, it’s pretty simple to get on board with Lifesize. The easier it is, the greater the
adoption will be.