Looking at the future

Interaction and collaboration in international financial markets can lead to success. The art of video conferencing elevates global communication possibilities


The fast-paced world of international business demands decisions in real time. From multi-million pound deals to large scale mergers and acquisitions, executives need to be immediately accessible to provide counsel to clients and colleagues across the globe. Successful business interactions and agreements are facilitated when trust and a solid relationship have been established. Particularly in finance, where significant sums and pressures are involved, individuals need to be able to gauge reactions and emotions across time zones.

While email and telephone offer instant and reliable contact, they lack a crucial component of communication: meaningful personal interaction. Video conferencing enables individuals to see and hear each other for a more intimate conversation from the comfort and convenience of their desk. Designed to meet the real needs of business users, the high-quality audio and video of Sony’s desktop video conferencing solutions enable colleagues to read expressions, observe body language and hear voice tones for improved inter-personal communication.

As a cost effective, hassle free and environmentally friendly alternative to travel, video conferencing is becoming increasingly widespread. Across a range of industries, both large and small corporations are investing in video conferencing solutions to reduce travel budgets, time spent out of the office and an improved work-life balance for employees. Easy to install and operate, the near universal adoption of global broadband networks is helping make video conferencing a viable solution for time-poor executives eager to avoid the stress of airport security queues, plane delays and the effects of jet lag. From the comfort of your desk, you can speak with colleagues abroad, call meetings between distant parties and then return home at the end of the day.

Essential tools
With environmental concerns at the top of every corporate agenda, video conferencing is becoming an increasingly essential communications tool. Reducing the number of flights required for business travel, would significantly reduce a corporation’s carbon footprint: a staggering 22.3 million tonnes of CO2 would be saved were 20 per cent of business travel within Europe to be replaced with video conferencing. As environmental concerns continue to grow, we at Sony are also committed to responding responsibly. Through investing in technology and researching carbon intensive alternatives, we are aiming to achieve a ‘zero environmental footprint’.

With a diverse range of video conferencing applications, Sony offers accessible solutions for businesses of all sizes and budgets. Extremely affordable and easy-to-use, the personal desktop systems from Sony minimise desktop clutter while increasing communication efficiency between geographically distant offices for a complete all-in-one solution. Sony’s IPELA range of IP (Internet Protocol)-based communications combines Sony’s expertise in video conferencing and high-end desktop LCD technology to offer unrivalled communications possibilities. With your PC monitor doubling as the video conferencing screen and safeguarded video, audio and data measures, colleagues can share files securely and display data for a more flexible and productive work environment.

Environment creation
Efficiency, performance, autonomy – video conferencing reduces training costs and travel expenses for the Portuguese Immigration and Border Control Department by 75 percent. Like many of today’s businesses, public sector organisations are increasingly looking to create an environment where decisions are made faster, and where ideas, knowledge, and inspiration can flow securely from colleague to colleague.

The Portuguese Immigration and Border Control Department (SEF) is a security department, attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has administrative autonomy and forms part of the country’s domestic security operation. The department’s objectives are to control the movement of people at the borders as well as the residence and activities of foreign nationals in the country. Its job is to monitor and control border posts, including international areas of ports and airports. Besides performing these functions, the Portuguese Immigration and Border Control Department aims to provide effective management and communication of data relating to the Portuguese area of the National Schengen Information System (NSIS). Other information systems under the SEF’s jurisdiction include those common to the Member States of the European Union regarding controlling the movement of people, as well as the systems relating to Portugal’s passport issue data base (BADEP).

The Portuguese Immigration and Border Control Department realised that it urgently needed to adopt a video conferencing system capable of covering each one of the departments it deals with on a daily basis, including the regional offices. The main driver was a need to exchange information in real time, but without jeopardising data confidentiality.

The SEF’s main requirements were:
• To increase communication efficiency between all the offices by means of a multi-conferencing system;

• To share thousands of files effectively and securely;

• To guarantee integration between the information and communication systems of its offices, while ensuring the flexibility and scalability of both systems; and

• To allow for the possibility of managing communications and system usage times centrally.

Sony Professional Solutions Europe designed a global solution that combines the Sony PCS-1P group systems and Sony TL30 individual desktop systems with network infrastructure products from Radvision. Besides this, Sony created a complete solution that allows the SEF to control and manage all sections and users on a central basis. As well as guaranteeing information-sharing in real-time and an increase in internal productivity, the Sony solution allows the SEF to access reports of all its communications, whenever it so wishes.

In order to implement its video conferencing solution, Sony Professional Solutions Europe went into partnership with Datinfor, a Portuguese market-leading systems integrator with a strong public sector background. Determined to ensure that the whole solution implementation and optimisation process was completed quickly, Sony Professional Solutions Europe decided to draw up a virtual configuration for the entire installation of the video conferencing systems and network infrastructure products in advance. As a result, the complete implementation and optimisation stage was carried out speedily and without delays. From ascertaining the SEF’s needs and devising a tailored solution through to the centralised management and monitoring of the system, Sony fulfilled all of the SEF’s requirements quickly, and the efficiency of the organisation’s internal communications was immediately increased. The Sony solution currently incorporates the headquarters, regional offices and other departments and consulates, with a total of 37 units installed to date.

Increased efficiency
The rapid integration of the Sony solution with the existing information system, the easy management of the system and the immediate increase in communication efficiency within the SEF, have had a significant impact on the running of the agency. The solution supports mobile video conferencing whenever the customer needs it (via simple access to an IP line), and so it is possible to adapt the communication network without involving major investment. In this way, Sony Professional Solutions Europe has guaranteed not only that the whole solution may be mobile, but also that it may be managed on a central basis, making the Portuguese Immigration and Border Control Department self-sufficient in controlling and training all users. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Sony solution has rapidly become the main training tool used at the SEF.

People typically process information faster and retain it when ideas are shown rather than just told, especially when the subject is itself a visual idea. Video conferencing creates an environment where informed decisions are faster and stronger and more informed teams are built across geographies. In addition to helping organisations achieve greater profitability and enhanced long-term value for stakeholders, video conferencing also helps an organisation reduce its carbon footprint.

For further information:
www.sonybiz.net/video conferencing.