Cost-effective, scalable, user friendly video
In 2013, Unilever launched a rigorous competitive tender process to identify and appoint best-in class connectivity, technology, and managed service providers which together could design, install, maintain and drive the use of a fully integrated video service. The solution needed to be cost- effective, scalable, user-friendly and governed by a single global service level agreement (SLA), while it was vital that this could support any-to-any communications, regardless of device, location or the number of call participants. It also needed to be expertly managed on a day-to-day basis, freeing up Unilever’s team to focus on other mission-critical activities.
Breadth of expertise
We had a history of working with Unilever, having provided support services for the company’s local area network (LAN) estate. This proven track record, alongside our expertise in designing and supporting video and telepresence solutions for other global brands, ensured the company’s name was included on the tender list.
Our breadth of experience meant that it was able to respond to all three of Unilever’s tender lots, dramatically simplifying the tender process for Unilever. We even went through our own RFP process to select the most appropriate partner to deliver the overlay network, while we also demonstrated our experience of supporting video solutions offered by the market’s leading vendors, therefore giving Unilever complete control over which technology to deploy. Our ability to respond to all three lots with one integrated solution, was one of the principle reasons we won the bid.
Emphasis on user experience
Also central to our approach was the emphasis placed on the user experience that would be delivered to Unilever’s employees and external partners. This went beyond the usability of the hardware, to include live in-call video support and a comprehensive employee training programme designed to drive utilisation rates across the globe. The bid included a dedicated User & Adoption Programme Manager whose role would be to help Unilever employees get the most from the new solution as well as identify local evangelists within the business who could further promote participation.
Leading technologies united
Unilever’s newly installed Generation 2 video infrastructure has been architected using leading technology to provide the organisation’s internal and external users with the very best call experience, that’s underpinned by a cost-effective, scalable, and open standards-based solution.
A dedicated MPLS overlay network has been delivered by NTT Europe, the European division of Dimension Data’s parent company, and has been designed to support the specific security, latency and resilience requirements of live video applications. This network connects multiple sites in some 23 countries, comprising 74 purpose-built videoconferencing suites as well as office-based and remote workers relying on desktop solutions via Microsoft® Lync (Skype for Business). NTT is also hosting the core infrastructure in three of its regional data centres, in North America, UK, and Asia.
The solution brings together both new and legacy equipment, which we have knitted together to ensure it can be supported and managed as a single unified infrastructure. Cisco TX9000 TelePresence endpoints together with Cisco Dual Profile 65 TelePresence endpoints have been deployed, replacing the existing Teliris estate. To complement this, Lync (Skype for Business) integration is being rolled out to deliver PC-based video to the user community.
All these systems interoperate with the Condeco booking system, which makes booking any call – whether it‘s a single point-to-point call with a supplier or a multisite call involving Unilever’s senior management team – a completely seamless experience.
Global private video cloud
In support of Unilever’s Generation 2 programme, we are providing a global private video cloud that enables seamless internal and external visual communication from any device. In addition, a broad range of managed services are delivered. We managed the entire global installation and integration of the project, a process that was completed in just seven months.
We are also delivering a number of services to ensure the smooth running of the new programme and to bolster usage, including first line support and a video helpdesk that automatically tests and sets up calls and proactively monitors /troubleshoots any issues associated with call quality. The company has also embarked on a Usage & Adoption Programme to train and empower employees to adopt video services.