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August 11, 2009

Telepresence Links Furniture Manufacturer with Overseas Factories

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

A Huntington Beach, Calif. provider of integrated telepresence and video conferencing solutions is helping bridge the distance for a high-end furniture manufacturer between its North American and Chinese operations using telepresence technology.
BrightCom announced that Vaughan Benz, a manufacturer of high-end, custom made wood and upholstered furniture for the hospitality industry, is using the company’s integrated HD video and data solutions. Vaughan Benz implemented BrightCom’s ClearView Telepresence system to enhance communications and strengthen its corporate culture between the company’s North American and Chinese manufacturing factories.
Vaughan Benz sought BrightCom’s telepresence solution to minimize costs and the stress of travel, BrightCom CEO Bob McCandless told TMCnet in an interview. In addition, the technology helps users avoid communication mistakes that typically occurred through e-mail and phone calls due to cultural and language barriers, he said.
According to David Benz, president of Vaughan Benz, communication is paramount when it comes to operating as a global company.
“In working via phone and e-mail with our factories in China, we are, at times, presented with both language and cultural barriers that require extra explanation and thought in order to avoid miscommunication and mistakes in project implementation,” Benz said in a statement.
To overcome those barriers, Vaughan Benz selected BrightCom’s ClearView Telepresence (News - Alert) to link its Los Angeles-based corporate headquarters to its Shanghai office andits partner factories in other cities in China. The system lets Vaughan Benz broadcast high resolution video, and audio between its two locations, as well as collaborate through interactive data sharing of high resolution graphics, video clips, spreadsheets, CAD drawings and other meeting materials.
BrightCom’s “ClearView Telepresence” provides the experience of an in-person meeting making users across the globe feel as if they are side by side. BrightCom’s telepresence server infrastructure, Visual Collaboration System 2.0, adds meeting control management and Web conferencing capabilities, which lets users share data between meeting participants.
“Having instant and face-to-face communication helps avoid project implementation mistakes and allows the two teams to converse on a more ‘water cooler’ level,” McCandless told TMCnet. “They can get to know each other better and therefore work better together.”
Telepresence is also helping Vaughan Benz bring customers closer to their design and implementation planning process. Customers can “attend” meetings with both locations of Vaughan Benz’s operations via Web cams and the VCS meeting environment. Clients can also be part of project planning as Vaughan Benz officials can share and collaborate on high resolution images, CAD diagrams, and video clips, McCandless said.
“As we work with our extremely talented overseas partners, we will able to learn more about each other as we meet eye to eye and place names to faces,” Benz said. “You can learn a lot from a face, and we look forward to having BrightCom help us improve our relationships and communication.”
With the addition of Vaughan Benz, BrightCom’s sales have increased 30 percent over the past year, McCandless said. The new client win is the latest example of how companies are trying to stay competitive and productive amid a weak economic climate.
“Many businesses and organizations are assessing their communication needs as worldly pressures like the economy, public health and environment sustainability affect their competitive strategies,” McCandless said. “The technology of telepresence has also excelled to new levels, and it is the right time for businesses to start thinking of long-term implementations as it becomes a standard for communication.”
As gas prices begin to creep up, more organizations are turning toward telepresence and video conferencing technologyto save on travel costs. Beyond the boardroom, telepresence is also being used in new areas, such as sea exploration. That use, BrightCom officials said, signals an important step forward for telepresence in the communications technology field.
Learn more about BrightCom at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO (News - Alert) West will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit BrightCom at booth #202 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now.


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Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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