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SPAR Builds Videoconferencing System to Save Money on Travel Costs

September 19, 2013

SPAR, a U.K. grocery chain, has used cloud communication technology to eliminate the costs of business travel.

In the past, executives would have to shuttle between the company’s five distribution centers scattered around the U.K., not only in England but in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well.

Not only would the executives have to travel to the sites, they would also have to pay for hotel accommodations and be away from their families for a few days. The personal and financial costs add up, and the U.K.’s winter weather can make travel even more difficult.

“We have a lot of senior executives travelling to a central point or host distributors for meetings and these will be, what we believe to be, in excess of 50 meetings a year,”   Roy Ford, SPAR UK’s IT controller, told Cloud Pro.

“Now, this is fine in the good weather, and everyone likes a nice trip out to Dundee or Cornwall, but as the weather hits us in the latter part of the year, this gets disrupted.”

Videoconferencing emerged as an alternative during the difficult winter months, but the proposal would be forgotten when spring rolled around. The deployment costs were also relatively high.

Eventually, Ford went with an Avaya-based solution, bringing down costs down 50 percent from the 200,000 pounds ($320,700 U.S.) that he’d been quoted.

“The combination of Avaya's industry-leading video solution, which allows SPAR to have multiple connections in high-definition to each of our seven business units, using the cloud-based, hosted platform from Videonations, made the decision process easy. The ease-of-use of the Scopia system ensures that our adoption curve will be more easily managed than with other solutions, and we expect our use to grow as the system beds in at SPAR."

SPAR deployed the system gradually, starting in one center and moving to cover all of them. The system will not replace face-to-face meetings, but will make meetings easier to arrange without the overhead of travel costs. It’s already cut in half the time executives spend out of the office.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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