This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Record.
Arup, an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, employs over 11,000 people operating across 38 countries. The company relies on approximately 400 video-enabled meeting rooms to connect its global workforce. But, with the amount of team collaboration Arup requires, the company ran into challenges with capacity and meeting sizes and had to limit the number of people it could simultaneously allow to meet and collaborate in virtual meetings – turning employees away and hindering the collaboration process.
Arup sought a new solution to bridge the gap between its video conferencing rooms and software solutions, both increasing its video conferencing capabilities, while also bridging its various technology platforms, specifically Skype for Business and its Cisco video infrastructure.
“Initially, within our proof of concept for next generation virtual meeting rooms, we were evaluating bridging solutions from three different vendors. However, we found these to be more complex than needed – they also required proprietary hardware and could not achieve satisfactory interoperability and HD video integration with Microsoft Lync at the time,” explains Chris Ellen, Unified Messaging team lead at Arup.
A solution from Microsoft partner Pexip promised to solve the problem. “Pexip Infinity was brought in through a revised vendor list. It met our requirements for a software-only solution and we had it working globally in less than two hours. We were really impressed.”
By deploying the Pexip Infinity scalable software platform worldwide, Arup’s thousands of staff across 38 countries are able to use high definition video, voice and data collaboration. Arup’s traditional video conferencing rooms are now able to seamlessly connect to Skype for Business meetings via the Pexip interoperability gateway. Arup staff are issued with a personal virtual meeting room with a PIN number for security. Individual users can control their conferences and view presentations from their own mobile phone or tablet.
The company now has no capacity constraints. “Our existing video infrastructure was physically restricted by the number of hardware boxes in our network. With Pexip Infinity, there’s no restriction on the number of people that can use the system. The platform is always on and always available, which enables the team to connect instantly whenever collaboration is required in their workflow,” said Ellen. “For Arup, minimal to no investment is required to start deploying the solution as we can utilise existing infrastructure. Being virtual also means conferencing capacity can be increased within minutes and the platform is inherently redundant.”
Using Pexip Infinity means users can dial in and use the same PC or device for a video call but at increased quality. “We don’t have to license additional software clients either, which is an attractive value proposition,” explained Ellen.
Arup can also extend the solution to incorporate client meetings. “We can now use the Pexip functionality for external meeting participants. In the past we had to ship a copy of Cisco Jabber and provision a user account. This was cumbersome for everyone involved, it introduced a delay and had a cost attached to it. With Pexip Infinity we now just email a URL and external callers can experience professional quality video via their web browser,” explained Ellen.
“At Arup, we aim to introduce new, forward thinking, innovative and simple to operate technologies into our business. The deployment of Pexip Infinity will not only reinvent how our company communicates internally but will also change how we communicate with our external clients,” explained Roy Salfarlie, visual collaboration specialist at Arup.
This is just the start of the Arup and Pexip relationship. “The way in which Arup has deployed our technology is testament to the simplified, interoperable and virtualised way in which our Infinity software helps people to collaborate,” concluded Anders Løkke, head of marketing at Pexip. “We look forward to enjoying a partnership with Arup for many years to come.”