Irish environment department goes green with Polycom

Around 900 government workers will be able to use the unified communications system for video and content sharing

Polycom has signed an agreement with Ireland’s department of environment, community and local government to provide a unified communications solution to its staff.

The department is under pressure to cut costs during difficult economic times, but also to ensure it is keeping relationships with external partners high on its agenda with the Ireland’s impending European Union presidency in 2013.

It recently rolled out Microsoft’s instant messenger and communications platform Lync to encourage more forward thinking ways of communication, but decided it needed to build on this with the use of high definition video to be even more productive.

“Prior to deploying the combined Microsoft and Polycom solutions, we would have had various iterations of documents flying around the network,” said Paul McDonald, principal officer for ICT and communications for the department. “The increased collaboration has been hugely beneficial as meetings can now be done over a video call.”

As well as proving webcams and HD video solutions at the desk level, Polycom has installed its RealPresence Room offering using both its HDX 7000 and HDX 4500 equipment for high-definition voice, video and document sharing for group meetings.

In the space of an hour or two you have a working document that may have taken weeks to complete in the past

Paul McDonald, principal officer for ICT and communications, Irish Department of Environment

“We can share the document during the video meeting and work on it together so everybody provides input,” said McDonald. “In the space of an hour or two you actually have a working document that may have taken weeks to complete in the past.”

The solution aims to minimise bandwidth use so as to not interfere with other operations on the organisation’s network and layers security on the connections to keep government level meetings confidential.

However, one of the most key elements was making sure the product adhered to open standards so that it could work alongside the Microsoft deployment or any future technologies the department wished to introduce.

“Polycom support for multi-supplier environments makes our Microsoft Lync decision work,” added McDonald. “We were able to tie our existing endpoint investments with Microsoft Lync with the help of Polycom’s RealPresence Platform. The ability to meet in a virtual meeting room powered by Polycom makes our solution work.”

In just six months, more than 95% of the 1,850 department meetings had used video, allowing for staff to collaborate more closely with colleagues and the EU. It also reduced the money needed to travel between meetings, between the department’s four offices situated across Ireland in Dublin, Ballina, Tubbercurry and Wexford, and helped reduce the carbon footprint – something the department likes to be seen leading on.

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