In our latest customer story, we examine in more detail how cloud videoconferencing was implemented in a global enterprise with a large, mobile workforce spread throughout the world.
Nidera is a large global corporation trading in mostly agricultural commodities. Internal communication systems serve approximately 4000 people globally, but with 2500 concentrated in the South America region. Nidera was an early adopter of emerging videoconferencing systems in the early 2000s, starting with now (almost!) forgotten ISDN-based networks, before moving onto an internet enabled infrastructure later in the decade.
What happens when the picture keeps on moving...?
Nidera’s operations span more or less every conceivable stage of production and the supply chain, all over the world. Operations can be impacted from a wide variety of factors at any given time, from regional economic fluctuations, changing laws and regulations to unseasonal weather patterns. The use of videoconferencing in different forms has been crucial to Nidera’s modern expansion, but as an organization, they found that as they increasingly depended on video, their existing infrastructure was unable to keep up with demand. The video systems in use relied on video systems placed in physical meeting rooms, meaning all videoconferencing had to be arranged around specific times and the fixed locations.
Jos Balster is the Manager of Infrastructure for ICT (EMEA & APAC). His team noticed several years ago that people had started to provide their own solutions, bringing their consumer habits into the workplace, with platforms like Skype or FaceTime for mobile video communication. But whilst people began to ask the IT teams if they could support this technology in the workspace, Balster knew this couldn’t be a satisfactory long term solution. Managing a jumble of different networks and technology was one challenge, but reliability was another. A worldwide enterprise needs enterprise-grade performance from its tools, and consumer services could only fill in some of the gaps. Network coverage was often volatile, and tasks such as holding large meetings with multiple participants/locations, or sharing documents effectively for example, were virtually impossible.
Balster understood their business needed a professional tool designed for business, a videoconferencing service that could be as agile as their people and their other processes. This underlying concern for a reliable, flexible system was the foundation for a project to identify a videoconferencing solution to serve the whole enterprise, wherever they might be today. Or tomorrow.
...Then VCaaS is the answer
So, altogether, there was complex mesh of factors to unravel:
- consistent even network coverage across regions, with true global reach
- integration with other business tools
- a flexible, user-friendly approach available on multiple devices
- gathering global legacy systems
Jos Balster’s search to meet this criteria led him to the emerging ‘VCaaS’ (videoconferencing-as-a-service) model, whereby videoconferencing could be offered over a cloud network. The cloud approach could solve a major problem: a true cloud service should give interoperability, so that users can connect to the service from multiple points and devices, leaving them several options for how they want to use the service on each occasion.
The search finally led Balster to the Videxio service, one of the only VCaaS providers offered over a true cloud network. Videxio runs over a network infrastructure owned and built internally from the ground up. This gives the service the ability to offer best-in-class coverage, with superior call quality good enough to support even the largest business with far away locations, and its most critical communications, with reassuring confidence.
An added value of the Videxio service for Nidera was that it’s the only global video service to offer reliable network coverage within China. Videxio's physical network infrastructure inside China was particularly important for Nidera after the Chinese conglomerate Cofco acquired a stake in the company in 2010. In the end, choosing Videxio was simple, because:
"The power of the Videxio service is the interoperability it offers with various business tools, including Skype for Business"
Jos Balster, Manager of Infrastructure for ICT (EMEA & APAC), Nidera
Persuading people to adopt the new system was incredibly simple as the technology was easy to use, so people were not “afraid” of using it Jos explains; people could join meetings with a single click.
This finally combined the simple, user friendly approaches of the consumer video products people were used to, but offered a true ‘business-class’ service, giving an advanced level of dependable performance and functionality.
VCaaS in Nidera Today:
- Video has become an even more integral part of Nidera’s working practises, used daily for internal dialogue, combining both scheduled meetings and ad-hoc calls
- Business units separated by land and sea can easily conduct quality progress reports and status updates
- Nidera’s management believe enhanced video has added greater purpose and clarity to internal communications compared to simple audio calls or chat messaging/email alone
- Since users can observe and respond to the body language of other participants people can now, quite simply, ‘read the room’ and adjust their messages accordingly
- Has helped to make those out on the road, or consultants who normally work from home, feel much more included in everyday conversations
- Common sense names for the VMRs help people find the right room more easily, with people treating the digital spaces in a similar way to physical meeting rooms, booking them within the same workflows
- Mobile users can join video calls with audio only if required when data connection is unavailable