Brisbane-based reseller, eVideo, has helped Australian visual effects company, Alt VFX, transform the way its professionals collaborate through the deployment of a Cisco video conferencing solution.
The creative agency has worked on projects for leading brands such as Pepsi, CBA, NAB, Qantas, Toyota, and Optus.
But the company was struggling with its existing video collaboration systems as Alt VFX head of IT, Pete Herbert, told ARN.
“We have begun sharing projects and collaborating between our offices more frequently,” he said.
"Normally we would segregate work to a particular office and it would get done exclusively by that office, so moving it between the new offices required communication especially between our producers and our visual effects artists and the ability to share content.
"The tools we were using like Zoom, Skype and a fully subscribed [Microsoft] Lync service kept falling over. On top of that, the spaces which we work in are quite large and echoey and certainly not designed for video teleconferencing."
Herbert said that the biggest issue centred around the microphones, which could not adequately pick up audio in the company’s collaborative spaces.
"We started the journey trying to find the best codec for audio particularly and the best microphones for pickup and processing,” he explained.
"I had been through a couple of solutions with a couple of other providers and all of the promises from these providers fell over, especially with the audio."
eVideo Communications director, Tom Morgan, said that, based on previous experience with such solutions, the customer did not have a lot of confidence in the benefits of collaboration technologies.
“The need was always there but for management there was not an emotional driver to commit money until they saw it in action,” he said.
As a result of the company’s previous experience, Alt VFX tested the equipment before purchase. The eVideo team, working alongside Cisco and distributor Dicker Data, delivered two Cisco SX20n video conferencing systems on a 14 day trial period.
"They allowed us to hold on to it until we got the PO through and I was able to set it up with some assistance from the eVideo engineering team which was specific to the Cisco products and how they operate,” Herbert explained.
Since purchasing the first two Cisco systems, Alt VFX has since purchased two more smaller SX10 systems.
Morgan said that the try-buy system (used by Cisco in other markets) has never really taken off in Australia and is an underutilised aspect of the vendor’s partner program and broader sales strategy.
Having been in the video conferencing space since its beginning 28 years ago, Morgan said he believes the influx of free tools such as Skype and Google hangouts has lowered the bar because it has lead customers to believe each experience will be akin to those they have on these free services.
Herbert said the solution eVideo deployed - which includes hardware and Cisco’s WebEx software - has allowed the company to collaborate extensively on projects between offices in Sydney, Brisbane, New York, and Los Angeles. He added that the benefits have gone beyond productivity.
“It has helped with our travel as well. The type of reliable meetings we can have [via the solution] has reduced the need of getting clients up from Melbourne and pushing people between Brisbane and Sydney as well, so we have saved on travel expenses.
“We can playback video across the two sites across the systems which we would have had to do with a third party provider before so that was another subscription we could release.
“The costs have gone down marginally but the experience has improved drastically. The guys are always on them now, sometimes we have them running during the day between our two visual effects suites of 10 to 15 people in Brisbane and Sydney each.
"Sometimes they leave them on and collaborate throughout the day."