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Merck immerses itself with Polycom

Maintaining optimum communications with overseas offices is a recurring challenge for any multinational company. Pharmaceutical and chemical giant Merck has upgraded its Polycom installation.

Global pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck has long recognised the benefits of videoconferencing in improving productivity and reducing travel costs. Now, Merck has turned to Polycom’s immersive telepresence video conferencing systems to enable fast and efficient employee communication despite long geographical distances, and to lower the effort involved in international travel. The recent acquisition of Millipore, a large biotechnical and chemical company based in the U.S., accentuated this need. After an evaluation of available telepresence solutions, Polycom was selected as partner of choice.

“Innovation is one of our core competencies. Our Polycom immersive telepresence environments give us a competitive edge because our managers can communicate more quickly and react faster,” said Gunter Bert, associate manager networking and telecommunications, corporate information services at Merck. “The Polycom OTX 300 immersive telepresence rooms put our geographically separated executives in a life-like virtual conference room without the inconvenience of long-distance flights. This results in faster decisions, saved travel costs and more productive employees. Polycom’s solutions offer us real added value.”

Merck expanded its existing Polycom portfolio with the Polycom Open Telepresence Experience 300 (Polycom OTX 300) with high-definition (HD), for its company headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, and at its newly acquired Millipore office in Billerica, a town in Massachusetts, USA. The Polycom OTX 300, which consists of three large (65-inch/165cm) LCD monitors is embedded in a unique telepresence room. Incorporated in these flat screens are new PS-VA liquid crystals (polymer-stabilised vertical alignment), pioneered by Merck itself, that offer improved contrast and low power consumption. The result is said to be lifelike HD video and audio that shows meeting participants in full-sized proportions so that even the smallest gestures and elements of body language can be interpreted. In addition, the Polycom OTX300 uses H.264 High Profile, a powerful new standards-based video compression technology, to further reduce the solution’s consumption of network bandwidth.

Merck’s business analysis shows rapid return on its Polycom investment. According to calculations, the company believes that the new Polycom OTX 300 systems will be amortised very quickly because of long distance travel cost savings.

Merck already deploys video communication and telepresence systems at most of its locations and is now increasing its adoption of high-end immersive solutions for management. Due to the success of the new Polycom OTX 300 and its existing telepresence rooms, Merck plans investments in telepresence solutions for other regions.