Saatchi & Saatchi install HD video conference system

Technology & Convergence

Saatchi & Saatchi has announced it has installed a High Definition Polycom video conferencing system, making it the first South African ad agency to adopt this technology. The system is aimed at increasing inter office creative collaboration both locally and globally, and improving client turnaround times.

“We are now able to share data from our laptops with each other either between users in Cape Town and Johannesburg or with other global offices instantaneously,” says Stephan Carstens, group technology manager at Saatchi & Saatchi. “We can hook a laptop up to the video conferencing unit and play PowerPoint presentations, video clips, audio clips, or any other applications running on a user’s PC, which can be viewed live.”

Carstens says that the major benefit provided by the equipment is improved team collaboration and a higher level of communication between the Cape Town and Johannesburg offices for teams working on clients such as Peugeot, P&G and Guinness. “Being able to get Cape Town and Johannesburg employees to collaborate on a more frequent and enhanced basis increases the creative output, and the speed at which creative processes and decisions are made,” he adds. “Clients also benefit as it speeds up the turnaround times for jobs.”

For Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town, the main benefit is inter office communication across the globe. “We constantly sit in conference calls with Saatchi & Saatchi and clients in London, about work that we are creating here in SA for Guinness and Malta Guinness,” says Carstens. “Great creative work comes from people collaborating, feeding off each other, and telephone conferencing puts the creative process at a huge disadvantage. We wanted technology that would virtually put our London colleagues and clients into the same room with us.”

Carstens explains that another motivator was the fact that Saatchi & Saatchi believes in sustainable practices. “The installation fits in with our ‘blue’ philosophy spear headed by our new Saatchi & Saatchi Sustainability (S) division, which promotes sustainability as irresistible and our ‘greatest imaginable challenge’, a project to rally 1bn people to adopt sustainable practices,” he says.

With regard to why Polycom was chosen, Carstens says that the Saatchi & Saatchi London office has also invested in a Polycom video conferencing system and that Polycom is considered the worldwide leader in Video Conferencing products providing a superior level of interoperability and full end to end solutions covering audio, video and infrastructure products.

Kathea, Polycom’s exclusive SA distributor, installed the equipment in the Johannesburg and Cape Town Offices, and Polycom account manager, Luke Marthinusen says that the new High Definition technology far exceeds the experience delivered by traditional video conferencing.

“Traditional video conferencing provided an acceptable experience, but the details of emotion, facial expression and colour were not conveyed very well,” he explains. “High Definition technology provided by the Polycom HDX range has moved the experience beyond video conferencing to Telepresence. The technology is so advanced and the quality so good that it allows a person to feel as if they were truly present at the remote location.”

He points out that the High Definition systems that Saatchi & Saatchi have invested in are capable of 9 times the resolution that traditional systems produce. “In addition to the visual clarity; the new Polycom HDX systems offer High Definition audio, whereas the traditional systems produced sound similar to FM quality,” he adds.

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