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Oakton adopts video conferencing in some branches

Oakton (ASX:OKN) has reduced travel costs and improved communication across its Australian and Indian offices through the deployment of video conferencing.

General manager of national managed services at the Australian consultancy, Phil O'Brien, said he sought out a new form of communication for the company's 1150 staff members, based in five different locations.

"We act as a national business... so it was primarily driven by the national view of our operations," he said. "As well as this, having an office in Hyderbad [in India], we thought we'd improve the communications across staff."

O'Brien said Oakton, which provides IT services in partnership with Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, looked to video conferencing after ruling out desktop conferencing and Skype.

"They certainly have their place and we do use them, but we wanted a more robust more compromised solution," he said.

Oakton selected LifeSize for the rollout, installing the vendor's high definition video conferencing unit, Room 220, in its Melbourne office. The remainder of its offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Hyderabad installing LifeSize Express 220.

Read the business case for video conferencing.

O'Brien said the rollout process took six weeks to complete across its five offices, and has already been successful financially.

"Instead of flying someone interstate for an hour long meeting, we can now have a meeting that's more productive than a phone call," he said. "The ROI I would say for what we purchased was about 12 months but we're now looking at extending the capability of what we've purchased.

"There's a focus on increasing the connectivity of our staff down to the level of social networking tools and enhancing our video conferencing capabilities."

Meetings amongst its wide-spread workforce have become more productive at Oakton, as a result of video conferencing's real-time capability.

"We can have a team meeting in a virtual environment and everyone can see and hear each other and contribute," he said. "The ability to present documentation and architectural diagrams in real-time, where everyone can interact, has been a great thing for us."

Next on O'Brien's agenda is a move to Cloud computing, with Oakton looking to shift more of its internal operations to the Cloud.

"We're looking at what more we can put out into the Cloud externally and looking at what the pros and cons are of this," he said.

The news comes as Oncall this week revealed it had slashed travel costs through deploying video conferencing|new]], and as Queensland based Mercy Health last year deployed videoconferencing capability to improve internal communications and increase employee safety.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow CIO Australia on Twitter: @CIO_Australia


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