Law firm Bryan Cave provides all lawyers with Pexip Virtual Meeting Rooms

Global law firm sees tremendous uptake in usage and efficiency

International law firm Bryan Cave LLP, uses Pexip for its flexibility, ease-of-use, and compatibility across devices and solutions to connect its 1,000 lawyers and 1,600 employees at 25 offices across North America, Europe and Asia.

The challenge

Bryan Cave needed to scale its capacity, simplify usage, and ensure interoperability between existing and new video conferencing devices and solutions to enhance collaboration between its thousands of employees and external clients and participants.

The solution

Bryan Cave decided to deploy Pexip Infinity in three of its data centers, St Louis, London, and Hong Kong, to quickly and simply enable all of its employees with interoperable video, audio, and web conferencing capabilities.

The result

Bryan Cave has greatly reduced the complexity of use for its employees and virtual meeting participants. At the same time, the company has reduced its cost not only in supporting video conferencing, but also for audio conferencing, as virtual meetings are now consolidated to a single platform.

Pexip Infinity was the only platform that offered virtualized bridging and a licensing model that supported providing video conferencing to every attorney that wanted it.

Who is Bryan Cave?

With more than 1,000 highly skilled lawyers in 25 offices across North America, Europe, and Asia, Bryan Cave LLP of St. Louis, Missouri is a truly global law firm. It provides diversified transaction and litigation practice for business and financial clients around the world; including publicly held multinational corporations, large and mid-sized privately held companies, emerging companies, not-for-profit organizations, government entities and individuals.

Bryan Cave, founded in 1873, is a forward-looking law firm that provides world-class legal services through the use of technology – including video conferencing. The firm’s Director of IT, Dave Medley, and his trusted consultants, Covene, engaged Pexip to help the firm create a pervasive visual collaboration solution which would meet the needs of wide range of internal and external users. The firm’s legacy video conferencing system relied on dedicated rooms and active IT booking support – restricting the usage and adoption of video conferencing. “To use the system, our lawyers and staff had to have someone from IT setup and tear down their video calls for them, due to the complicated controllers that were being used,” said Dave Medley, Director of Infrastructure Services at Bryan Cave. “It was anything but scalable or convenient.”

Collaboration challenges

To break the video conferencing bottleneck, Medley and his staff looked for ways to resolve the legacy system’s capacity and convenience limitations. After much research, Bryan Cave and Covene determined the Pexip Infinity platform would be the optimal choice to rapidly expand the firm’s video conferencing capabilities and transform collaboration. The firm deployed Pexip Infinity after a short pilot and rapidly trained and enabled every employee with a personal universal virtual meeting room which worked natively with their Cisco Communications Manager and Room systems. Lawyers can host their own meetings, with participants using anything from dedicated video conferencing equipment to web browsers or standard telephones. External clients can join via Skype for Business, Skype Consumer, or legacy systems with ease.

As part of a thorough evaluation, Bryan Cave evaluated several hardware and software-based video conferencing solutions. Pexip “was the only platform that offered virtualized bridging and a licensing model that supported providing video conferencing to every attorney that wanted it,” said Andrew Berryman, Bryan Cave’s Video Conference Senior Analyst. “There were other solutions that offered interoperability, but the price tag was too high and the solutions were too complex.”

How Bryan Cave runs Pexip Infinity

Today, Bryan Cave runs Pexip with 1,600 user licenses in a VMware software environment installed on Cisco UCS blades in the U.S., London, and Hong Kong locations, with the Infinity platform having been integrated with Cisco Unified Communications Manager. “We have been using it in a variety of configurations such as room to room, room to desktop, and desktop to desktop.’ said Berryman. The platform is being used for both internal video meetings, but also to link Bryan Cave’s lawyers to external clients. “We have been using it very successfully to link internal to external participants,” he said. “It is very well liked when used by external participants.”

Bryan Cave simply deploys their own branded client to each user that wants it. In addition, they have more than 500 Logitech C920-C Business web cams in use among its employees.

Deploying Pexip has also delivered an ROI for the firm as third-party audio conferencing has been transitioned over to the Pexip Virtual Meeting Rooms

Since being installed in 2015 at Bryan Cave LLP, usage of Pexip Infinity’s meeting platform has grown by leaps and bounds. “It seems to be averaging about 30,000 minutes per month and is climbing as word of mouth spreads,” Berryman noted. “We aren’t pushing for desktop video adoption. It is an optional capability. As users experience it, they talk to their peers and adoption has grown.” Deploying Pexip has also delivered an ROI for the firm as third-party audio conferencing has been transitioned over to the Pexip Virtual Meeting Rooms.

Bryan Cave has applied their own branding to all aspects of Pexip Infinity.

When participants use Pexip to meet over audio or video, they help the firm reduce its expensive audio-conferencing usage. This is because Pexip is integrated with their Cisco Unified Communications Manager as a Media Resource for simple 4-digit dialing from any desk/softphone. External users who may be traveling and unable to join via video can dial a toll-free number which hits their regional Pexip node to create an on-net audio call which is free or dramatically less on a per minute basis. It’s the magic of VOIP combined with the Pexip Infinity collaboration platform. All meetings allow the host to enter the client matter code for appropriate client billing purposes.

Gains and results

As a result of its compatibility with legacy and current-generation video conferencing and collaboration solutions, Pexip Infinity is easily added to and integrated with existing communications infrastructure. Its ability to work on a full range of communications equipment – from smartphones to full-blown video conferencing enabled boardrooms – allows the software to vastly expand any enterprise’s access to video conferencing; converting face-to-face tools from an expensive option for the elite to a productivity-driving essential tool for everyone.

“We no longer have to book conference rooms for 1-2 participants and have users compete for conference room time. They are able to quickly start a video call from their desks at any time they want.

For Bryan Cave, “the ability to do video calls from a desktop or mobile device is great,” said Andrew Berryman. “We no longer have to book conference rooms for 1-2 participants and have users compete for conference room time. They are able to quickly start a video call from their desks at any time they want.”

The process of adding Pexip Infinity to Bryan Cave’s IT infrastructure has been pain-free. Pexip’s expert technicians have been readily available to help as needed. “Pexip support has been phenomenal,” said Berryman. “Even when the issue turned out to be a configuration issue on my end, they still were patient with me and helped lead me to the realization that it was my configuration that was the problem. I am impressed with the speed to roll out bug fixes and feature requests – even one-off feature requests.”

Conclusions

For Bryan Cave LLP, moving to a Pexip solution has radically simplified and democratized access to video conferencing. Instead of having to call tech support to book, setup, and teardown individual video meetings, Bryan Cave’s lawyers and staff can set up their own virtual meetings as needed. “With Pexip, they can type in their VMR on their own from their desktop or the conference rooms, thus not having to rely on IT staff availability.” Berryman said. “The result is highly-available, accessible, and very affordable video conferencing that scales as much as we need it to.”

You can read more about Bryan Cave and its operations at www.bryancave.com

 

Arup leverages Pexip to effortlessly scale video collaboration

Arup uses Pexip to scale its video capacity and bridge video conferences with Skype for Business.

In the fields of design, engineering and building planning, effective collaboration is fundamental to ensure project success.

At Arup, an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, 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.

Faced with the challenge, Arup sought a new solution to bridge the gap between its video conferencing rooms and software solutions, effectively both increasing its video conferencing capabilities, but also bridging its various technology platforms, specifically Skype for Business and its Cisco video infrastructure.

In January 2014, the company launched Pexip and went from limiting meetings to having no cap on the amount of meeting participants and possible ways of meeting.

In this video, Chris Ellen, Arup’s Global Unified Communications Manager, discusses why video collaboration is so critical to Arup’s success and why scalability and flexibility play a crucial role in enabling teams worldwide to connect effortlessly.

Results and outcome

  • More than 400 traditional video conferencing rooms, as well as external clients on other platforms, are now able to seamlessly connect to Skype for Business meetings via the Pexip interoperability gateway.
  • ARUP’s prior hardware-based meeting systems made it difficult for Arup to scale usage effectively. Now, with Pexip Infinity, the company has no capacity constraints.

 

Nordea hires 60 new advisors after strong growth for video meetings

Nordea, the largest financial group in the Nordics, introduced the option to hold video meetings in place of  branch office visits – and was overwhelmed by the success.

Disclaimer: This article has been translated from Norwegian financial daily Dagens Næringsliv. Nordea uses Pexip Infinity for its internet video banking service. The original article (in Norwegian) can be read here. The article does not directly endorse Pexip, nor Pexip Infinity as a product, but discusses the application of video in banking.

 

“We were caught a little with our pants down, we didn’t expect it to come this fast”, says John Sætre, leader of Nordea’s operations in the Norwegian retail banking market.

In January, Nordea had 4,000 web-based video meetings with its customers, up from 500 a year ago. We are well underway to hosting half of our customer meetings virtually, rather than in a traditional meeting at the bank, says Sætre.

“Things really took off when we started using video in our meetings. People think it is nice to see the bank’s advisor, and most of them also think it is good to be seen”, continues Sætre, who explains that it is optional for the customer to show his or her face in the meeting.

Needed to expand

Sætre showcases the company’s new offices which it has had to rent because of the overwhelming success. A stone’s throw away is Nordea’s Norwegian HQ, centrally located in Oslo which opened one and a half years ago. It did not have the space needed for all the new hires specialising in video meetings.

“We have hired 60 new employees in our advisory centers to be able to cope with all the online meeting demand”, says Sætre.

Sætre suggests video meetings are popular because customers save a lot of time, and are able to set up meetings much more quickly. Meetings are booked in advance, or customers can connect online and ask to meet with the next available advisor.

“It can happen on a Sunday afternoon after having looked at a new house. People are ready to take the next step there and then. Now they can just jump onto their computer and speak to an advisor immediately about how big of a mortgage they can receive”, says Sætre.

It is not just young people who are using this type of meeting.

“Half of those over 80 years old who have logged in to online meetings say that they don’t envision conducting physical meetings again”, says Sætre.

“Chat will always work for simpler things, but as a relations-focused bank, I think the customer appreciates the personal contact. Robots can help the customer with getting a new card, account summaries, and such, but with greater life-changing events I think people want someone to talk to”, says Sætre.

Trial and error

Sætre explains that the bank has tried a few different solutions over the past two years, including external services for video meetings. “Now, everything is setup by logging into to the mobile or web-based online banking portal, without the customer having to download software. That has resulted in a lot less technical trouble, and allows the customer’s financial data to be shown on part of the screen”, Sætre says.

He suggests that video meetings save a lot of time, both for the bank and for the customers.

Customers don’t need to take personal time off from work to get to the bank. They don’t have to park their cars, and they don’t have to dress up, for those who still find that important before they meet with the bank, Sætre says.

He says that Nordea conducts meetings with people who are at their holiday house, in their boat, or on vacation all over the world.

Read the original article in Norwegian here.

Pexip Infinity 20 is now available

Microsoft-certified Cloud Video Interop for Microsoft Teams and more

It’s here! Pexip Infinity 20 is available. Go here to download now.

Certified for Microsoft Teams

This much-anticipated release enables professional video conferencing interoperability for Microsoft Teams. Infinity is certified by Microsoft for use with Teams so traditional standards-based video conferencing systems can join Teams meetings. Pexip’s unique solution provides an enhanced user experience as it allows trusted participants to directly join a Teams meeting, bypassing the meeting lobby.

Pexip Infinity now allows SIP and H.323 video conferencing systems from vendors such as Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize and others to join Teams meetings, and also enables a wide range of web browsers to join the meetings using WebRTC or RTMP.

Migrating to Microsoft Teams? Read up on the documentation to see how to get started.

Improved admin experience

Administrators will love Infinity 20 with the introduction of improved diagnostic tools. You now have the ability to create custom graphs to easily identify system dynamics like call rate and participant creation times.

As part of the ongoing platform development, Infinity 20 improves the logging strategy and reduces potential performance impacts of logging and analytics. In addition, the time period of the logs and call history to store on Pexip nodes can now be specified.

A fresh face

Infinity 20 users will now be greeted with an updated theme in Pexip Infinity. A picturesque fjord replaces our previous clouds image. As always, the background, welcome message and circle icon are customizable.

 

Additional features of Infinity 20:

Altogether, there are nearly 20 new features, additions, and updates to Infinity 20. Some include:

Infinity Connect (desktop, mobile, and web)

  • Improved join experience
  • Timeline zoom
  • Settings panel improvements

 

For Google Hangouts Meet interop

  • Improvement in media handling
  • Separate recording and streaming indicators
  • Increased flexibility in the trusted participant configuration

Visit docs.pexip.com for a full listing of all the news, additions, and enhancements.

What is a Virtual Meeting Room and what are the benefits?

You can think of a Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) as you would think of a physical one: Everyone knows where it is, it has a name, and holds some collaboration tools and likely a few chairs and a table you can sit around and discuss. It almost always contains a screen where you can share information, documents, presentations, and much more.

Figure 1: It is easy to think of a Virtual Meeting Room as being cloud based, but it doesn’t have to be.

A Virtual Meeting Room is much the same. But instead of having a physical location, it has a virtual address in the form of a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier), formatted just like an email address. This address is unique. A VMR is a personal static resource, just like your email address. So perhaps, if your email address is name@company.com, your personal VMR would be meet.name@company.com.

But how do you use it and how can you benefit from having one?

How do I use a VMR?

A Pexip VMR is a simple and easy way to meet on video or audio, and in which you can share presentations and collaborate. It is always available and always accessible for ad-hoc or scheduled meetings. And, because it is a static resource with a unique name and address, it is easy to invite people to it.

You can access a VMR from nearly any type of device. A videoconferencing system, using a web browser, through Microsoft’s Lync, Skype or Skype for Business clients, a smartphone or a tablet, a regular phone, and in many other ways.

Figure 2: The VMR places the speaker front and center, whereas others listen in.

Once in a VMR – and unless you dial in by phone – you see the others in the room, as in a normal videoconference, or again, as in a standard meeting room. Speakers get attention, and take “the main stage”, i.e. occupy the largest part of the screen. A row of previous speakers and other attendees occupy the lower part of the screen as small thumbnail video pictures.

Attendees are chronologically ordered from left to right in the order they spoke or appeared in the meeting room, with the most recent to the left.

The cultural change – how people collaborate and how expectations change

How people cooperate and collaborate has changed dramatically over the past few years. The availability of tools, driven in a large part by consumer electronics such as smart phones and tablets, has changed how people consume information, where they can access it, and how. So too with visual collaboration and the way people work. Even children today find the use of visual meetings simple and easy through the use of Skype and FaceTime, and expect visual communications.

Work culture is driven by this. When do you want to meet and discuss? Now, when we have the idea, or later, when the collaboration meeting room is free? With a VMR, you can meet ad-hoc, when you have something to say, and not be constrained by meeting room and system availability.

How do I share documents or presentations?

A Pexip VMR supports presentation sharing from numerous devices. Of course, it is imperative that the device and software you join from supports sharing as well.

If you use Lync to join the VMR meeting, you can use Lync’s built in presentation and screen sharing to share a presentation that everybody else in the meeting will see. You can do the same from Skype for Business, from various dedicated video conferencing endpoints from the likes of Cisco, Sony, Polycom and many others, or you can do it from a web browser such as Google Chrome.

If you dial in audio-only via telephone, you can also watch shared content on your smartphone using the Pexip app – for instance when you are on the road, on a train, or in a location where Wi-Fi and video calling is not supported.

What is the capacity of a VMR – how many people can I have in the room?

For all practical purposes, a Pexip VMR can host any number of people and participants. The standard VMR meeting screen layout is that you see who’s speaking taking up the main part of the screen, and with a row of up to seven thumbnails across the bottom.

If the number of participants is greater than that, you will have an indicator saying so, in the form of “+X” participants. Pexip also has a layout that supports up to 21 little thumbnails, called a Virtual Auditorium™, for those larger meetings where participants are many.

Bottom line – you can use VMRs actively and to fit your way of working, and to drive decision processes when you want to

A Pexip Virtual Meeting Room is simply a meeting room in your pocket that you can invite meeting participants to. It’s your personal meeting room, and it supports participants from a near unlimited number of devices and endpoints. You can use it to share presentations, collaborate and meet.

Just like you would in a normal meeting room.

A demonstration of Pexip Infinity for Microsoft Teams

At the recent Microsoft Ignite conference, Pexip announced the imminent release of Infinity for Microsoft Teams. In short, it allows third-party video conferencing systems and devices, as well as WebRTC-based video clients from any web browser, to join Microsoft Teams meetings with full video, audio, and content-sharing capabilities.

Pexip’s Graham Walsh, Director of Solutions Architecture, spent a few minutes demonstrating the platform’s capabilities, including the two-way content sharing:

In his demonstration, four systems join the Microsoft Teams meeting:

  • Microsoft Surface Hub – using the recently released native Teams client – joins as a native Teams client
  • Cisco MX300 joining remotely from the Pexip NYC office
  • Cisco DX 80 desktop system from within the Pexip booth
  • Cisco Spark Room Kit small room system from within the Pexip booth

Capabilities and demonstration

Pexip Infinity features numerous essential capabilities that make it ideal as a companion for Microsoft Teams, including:

  • Native user experience for all participating systems
  • Full HD video quality
  • Native dual-channel, bi-directional content sharing between all attached systems and clients
  • Native rosters, status indicators, and much more

Importantly, with content sharing, the complicated wording means you can share from a video conferencing system to Microsoft Teams clients, and, moreover, content shared from a Teams client to a video conferencing system shows on two separate screens where applicable.

Just like a video conferencing user expects.

Migrating from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

In Graham’s 2nd demonstration he looks at how the Pexip Infinity platform is ideal for use with both Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams at the same time. Regardless of if an organization has Skype for Business Server or Online, Infinity can seamlessly handle both Skype and Teams meeting side by side.

This functionality is ideal for organizations that carefully plan their migration path, and shift users by department, geography, or otherwise.

Take a look:

Pexip Infinity for Microsoft Teams becomes generally available on October 19th, 2018.