Smiths Group PLC

At a Glance

  • Video Conferencing at Smiths:
  • Bridges the distances between global locations
  • Brings mobile employees together Face-to-Face
  • Increases global collaboration
  • Accelerates time-to-market
  • Improves quality
  • Reduces costs through minimizing travel expenses
  • Improved productivity and work-life balance

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Smiths Group PLC Uses Polycom RealPresence Video Solutions and Microsoft® Lync™ to Unify Video, Voice and Data Communications across 400 Locations Worldwide.

Solutions improve productivity and reduce costs across Smith’s five business divisions by creating a virtual link for 23,000 production, office and mobile employees in over 50 countries.

Global technology firm Smiths Group PLC uses Polycom® RealPresence® video solutions in combination with Microsoft® Lync™ Server 2010 to unify video, voice, and data communications across 400 locations in over 50 countries, as well as for all of its mobile employees, improving engagement, teamwork, and collaboration for the entire company.

Bringing Global and Mobile Employees Together Face-to-Face

Smiths Group has five divisions creating products, technologies, and services for the threat & contraband detection, medical devices, energy, and communications markets worldwide. The group currently employs over 23,000 people across more than 50 countries to serve diverse customers in a range of industries, including transport, military, petrochemical, healthcare, telecommunications, and equipment manufacturing.

With employees dispersed over so many different business groups and locations, Smiths faced challenges in communication and project collaboration; in the speed of decision making; and in mounting travel costs. Working with Polycom partner Insight, Smiths implemented Polycom® RealPresence® room video solutions (including the HDX® 8000) and Polycom’s executive desktop solution (HDX® 4500) in fixed locations, and Polycom RealPresence Mobile 2.0 for employees on the move. All RealPresence video solutions are powered by the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform – the most interoperable and comprehensive UC&C software infrastructure for universal video collaboration.

Polycom and Microsoft Lync Delivering a Unified Communications & Collaboration Platform

Smiths is currently expanding the use of Polycom’s RealPresence Platform by connecting it with Microsoft Lync desktop clients. “Interoperability was an absolute necessity for us to achieve our long-term plans for enterprise-wide unified communications and collaboration. One of the main drivers behind our decision to purchase Polycom RealPresence video collaboration solutions was their interoperability with Microsoft Lync,” said Simon Quintin, Director, Workplace Services, Smiths Group PLC.

Smiths' ultimate vision is to deliver more agile, cost-effective services to all customers around the world. And for Smiths this means standardising on core enterprise solutions, especially for communications and collaboration, to ensure that its diverse and globally dispersed staff and customers can most efficiently and productively work together. Smiths are rolling out Microsoft Lync across the entire company with a target completion date of mid-2013. The fact that RealPresence video solutions are seamlessly connect with Microsoft Lync was a major selling point for Smiths. The goal is to "drive a different way of working" with more engagement, better communication, less travel, and faster reactions enabled by Microsoft and Polycom.

Polycom video collaboration is now seen as one of the primary communications mechanisms within Smiths and is used 24/7 for internal meetings, regular board meetings, project and product reviews, HR interviews, and training, enabling the various business units to work better and more productively. Manufacturing, product development, and management use video to increase engagement in the product development process with other groups, partners, suppliers, and distributors, to accelerate time-to-market and control costs, while also improving quality.

As adoption of Polycom video collaboration solutions has spread across the company, mobile access has become increasingly important. The Group is currently running a pilot using Polycom® RealPresence® Mobile 2.0 for about 250 mobile staff using tablets and smartphones to extend video collaboration beyond the office to virtually anywhere. The Group plans to extend RealPresence Mobile to more of its mobile workforce in the coming months.

Due to the demanding nature of their business and the frequency with which video is used, a key requirement and benefit of the solution was the comprehensive product support provided by Polycom. Smiths Group deployed Polycom® Elite Service, which provides direct access to an assigned Elite Service manager and engineer, as well as 24/7 telephone technical support.

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“Polycom video conferencing has significantly changed our way of working, enabling the company to break down some of the barriers to communicating across a distributed work force whilst reducing travelling costs, improving employee collaboration and increasing efficiencies across business units.” 

Simon Quintin, Director, Workplace Services, Smiths Group PLC.