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Cementing a high performance team
With over 30,000 residents and customers and a workforce of 900 people, Hanover Housing Association (Hanover) is a leading UK specialist provider of retirement housing and related services. It manages almost 19,000 properties on 600 estates in 175 local authority areas across the UK. The company also provides related services, including home improvement, alarm monitoring, and emergency response services.
Managing a large and diverse property and services portfolio is complex. It requires regular interaction between Hanover management team members, based at a number of locations, including at the Head Office in Middlesex, and regional offices in West Yorkshire, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, and Central London.
"Daniel Saward, Infrastructure Engineer at Hanover, explains: “We use audio conferencing services but often there is no substitute for face-to-face contact, particularly when a presentation is involved. We were finding that people were spending a lot of time and money travelling between sites for meetings."
Some people found themselves with a six-hour round trip for a one-hour meeting. Others were incurring hotel and subsistence costs for overnight stays.
All things considered, it was decided that the most effective way to solve these issues was through video conferencing. Hanover invited proposals from several potential suppliers before selecting BT Conferencing."We chose BT on price, service offering, and track record,” notes Daniel Saward.
The solution is based on Polycom technology connected over the company’s MPLS Wide Area Network. It comprises five HDX-7000 High Definition endpoints, with an RMX-1000 multipoint video bridge.
BT Video Conferencing facilities are now available in all of Hanover’s principal offices, enabling face-to-face meetings to be held without the cost, time, and environmental impact of travel.
Daniel Saward observes: “We use the video conferencing facilities for a variety of things, including team meetings, project review sessions, presentations, training events, and even one-to-one discussions and staff appraisals.”
A usage survey conducted by Hanover over a three-month period revealed conservative estimates of 72 working days travel time saved, as well as £7,000 in travel-related costs.
Although primarily used for internal meetings at the moment, the next stage is for Hanover to use video conferencing to conduct meetings with external bodies, such as local councils and government departments. It is also considering using the facilities to record meetings and corporate announcements for replay via its intranet or external web site. To support Hanover with the secure extension of video conferencing connectivity beyond its core network BT has most recently provided a Polycom Video Border Proxy gatekeeper.
Daniel Saward sums up: “The BT video conferencing solution has helped us bring dispersed teams closer together. It has enabled important decisions on large projects to be made much more quickly and efficiently than ever before.”
- BT One Collaborate video conferencing solution featuring Polycom technology