The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is saving nearly $1million annually by relying on high-definition (HD) telepresence solutions from Polycom,(NASDAQ: PLCM), the global leader in telepresence, video and voice communication solutions.
The Polycom systems help CDOT save time and money as it manages Colorado's 9,161-mile highway system, a network of roads and bridges that annually handles more than 28.6 billion vehicle miles of travel. Before deploying the agency's video communications network, employees at CDOT's six regional offices had to regularly drive to Denver and other offices throughout the state to meet with senior management or engineering specialists.
Richard Reynolds, transportation director for Region 5, calculated that employees in his region alone spent $49,000 in travel costs in a single month. "My main office in Durango is about seven hours from Denver, and that's in decent weather," said Reynolds. "In bad weather, it's a full day's drive. So traveling to Denver for a meeting usually means spending at least one night in a hotel, and at least two days of per diem, not to mention the costs for mileage and lost productivity."
Thom Rivera, enterprise architect for CDOT, said the agency began exploring the idea of using video conferencing to connect CDOT facilities throughout the state. After evaluating several vendors and technologies, Rivera and CDOT video engineer Dalton Brooks chose Polycom. "In researching our options," said Rivera, "it was clear Polycom was well ahead of the market, not just in terms of product but also in pricing and support."
The year-old CDOT video communications network includes 22 video conferencing sites equipped with 14 Polycom HDX 7000 telepresence solutions and eight Polycom VSX 8800 systems. Via a Polycom RMX 2000 multipoint conference platform, the systems link CDOT's Denver headquarters and main regional offices with additional engineering and maintenance facilities around the state. The entire video network is centrally managed using the Polycom Converged Management Application, which also features integrated CMA Desktop capabilities that will also allow CDOT to cost-effectively extend desktop video conferencing to additional locations.
Polycom's UltimateHD technology – which enables users to see and interact with HD video, HD audio and HD content – makes a difference for hydraulic engineers and others who need to communicate details that matter. "It's like being in the room," said Rivera. "In the old way of doing business, it would take weeks to make a decision. Now everyone can collaborate because everyone sees the same things at the same time, and they can make decisions a lot quicker."
For CDOT management, the bottom-line benefit of keeping employees in the office and productive speaks for itself. "We'll save close to a million dollars this year," said Rivera. "In the 18 months since we made our first purchase, these Polycom systems have paid for themselves."
In Durango, where employees rely on the Polycom systems to collaborate with other Region 5 offices located up to 3½ hours away, payback came even faster. "We made up our investment in Polycom, including a year's worth of operating costs, in four or five months," said Reynolds.