Department of Environment deploys webcams and HD video to 900 staff

4 Sep 2012

Ireland’s Department of Environment, Community and Local Government is to deploy video conferencing technology from Polycom in a move that will see 900 staff kitted out with webcams and HD video and 95pc of meetings taking place via video conference.

The move will help reduce carbon footprint for an environment department that is dispersed between offices in Dublin, Ballina, Tubbercurry and Wexford.

While the Department is in regular contact with the European Commission on a number of fronts, the international dimension of the Department’s work will take on particular importance before and during Ireland’s six-month Presidency of the European Council in the first half of 2013.

The Department said it expects to see a significant increase in the demand for external video collaboration facilities during the course of the Presidency and also as they shadow the current Presidency for the six months prior to taking over.

A key requirement for the Department was the need for an easy-to-use, secure and stable video solution to visually connect staff with external stakeholders across dispersed locations.

Open standards

The Department also wanted an open standards-based solution, to support high-definition, face-to-face, multi-party meetings that combine video, voice, and content-sharing to improve team decision making, productivity, and efficiency.

The Department decided to procure a unified communications solution that could be managed centrally within its recently deployed Microsoft Lync environment.

With nearly 900 staff supplied with webcams and HD video solutions, the Department also uses the RealPresence Room solutions (HDX 7000 and HDX 4500) for real-time communication between decentralised locations and workers.

Over a six-month period the Department says it conducted over 1,850 meetings with over 95pc using video.

“Prior to deploying the combined Microsoft and Polycom solutions, we would have had various iterations of documents flying around the network. The increased collaboration has been hugely beneficial as meetings can now be done over a video call,” said Paul McDonald, Principal Officer for both ICT and Communications Units.

“We can share the document during the video meeting and work on it together so everybody provides input. In the space of an hour or two you actually have a working document that may have taken weeks to complete in the past,” he added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years