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

 

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.