Toyota starts up video conferencing

Car maker Toyota has started using videoconferencing technology for visual communication between its local offices and Japan.

The project began in April 2004 when an IT team was assembled to implement the project as part of Toyota's new $50 million corporate headquarters in Victoria.

Toyota Australia's corporate IT operations manager, James Scott, said videoconferencing technology has provided the company with "smarter" communications solutions to time-critical business challenges and has "radically improved communication methods and productivity".

"Using videoconferencing for visual communications - especially between Australia and Japan - offers us effective solutions far more quickly than a succession of phone calls could," Scott said.

The new Port Melbourne headquarters gives some 340 staff a converged IP telephony solution with videoconferencing technology, wireless, and unified messaging.

"Integrated communications are vital between our Australian and Japanese operations, so implementing an advanced videoconferencing solution to drive the business in years to come was a key priority," Scott said. "The planning of our new corporate headquarters provided a catalyst for selecting and implementing a 'best-in-class' suite of videoconferencing equipment that could achieve this."

Toyota deployed 22 Polycom videoconferencing systems within its local network.

Polycom Australia and New Zealand manager James Anderson said larger, international meetings are now more efficient and cost effective, and increased content sharing has allowed faster understanding and decision making processes between Toyota's offices.

Within the boardroom of the new Port Melbourne building, four fixed cameras allow visual delivery for meetings with up to 20 participants. The main auditorium's videoconferencing capabilities allow as many as 500 people to participate in video conferences for events like company announcements and launches.

Videoconferencing also allows Toyota to provide video-linked meetings between regional and national offices and its dealers.

Scott said the solution has delivered on its original objectives and Toyota is now looking to broaden the capacity to include more users.

"In addition, we are investigating upgrading our Sydney operations to an IP-based system, the adoption of an audio conferencing system and the potential of 'PC to PC' desktop video conferencing," he said.

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