Procter & Gamble cites progress, issues with TelePresence

P&G, one of Cisco TelePresence early adopters, shares experiences

Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble wants to be the most collaborative company in the world.

That's a tall order for an US$83 billion company with operations in more than 80 countries. But telepresence -- the life-size, high-quality, virtual conferencing capability -- is helping to make that goal a reality.

P&G is an early adopter of Cisco's TelePresence systems, which were unveiled in October 2006. P&G began evaluating telepresence in 2005, however, as a way to foster more collaboration among its far-flung employees.

"We started a journey in IT to provide some modern tools that will enhance collaboration," says Laurie Heltsley, director of Global Business Services at P&G.

P&G was introduced to telepresence by HP and its Halo systems and studios, Heltsley says. But the company didn't start kicking tires until late 2006/early 2007, after Cisco entered the game.

"We agreed to do a 90-day sprint" with Cisco, Heltsley says. "We installed four TelePresence units in four locations around the world, captured some business data and made the decision to move forward."

In October 2007, P&G "put the accelerator down" on telepresence and now has over 40 units installed worldwide in what the company calls video collaboration studios, Heltsley says.

"So it was a fairly long journey and exploration with some different kinds of challenges depending on technology," she says.

P&G selected Cisco over HP due to speed of deployment, Heltsley says. P&G could turn up more studios in more locations in less time than with the Halo systems, she says.

But the Cisco TelePresence systems were not without challenges. The systems require between 9Mbps and 15Mbps of bandwidth.

With a huge and mature Cisco router and switch networks, P&G has scores of Cisco IOS software releases and versions deployed, most of which predate TelePresence. Bringing all of those IOS versions up to speed and then conditioning each link between TelePresence studios was a long and drawn-out process, Heltsley says.

"We had to shake down a few network issues here and there because it is quite network intensive," she says.

"Most people assume that these technologies are just network capacity constrained or in need of significant network capacity. And while that's not totally untrue, what we found was that it was more that outside detailed scrubbing of the path between point A and point B to ensure the equipment is up to date, it has the most current level of code. All of those details, down to the wires in the wall and the jacks in the wall, we had to scrub that entire path on a point-to-point basis essentially 43 times. That can be quite tedious. And in the course of doing that you uncover all kinds of little surprises and little nuances.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jim Duffy

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?