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The Telepresence Journey of Tommy Hilfiger
November 22, 2010 | Chris Payatagool
It doesn't take the grounding of planes for all companies to realise the potential of telepresence, ECE looks at the telepresence steps being taken by Tommy Hilfiger, Kelkoo and Omega World Travel.
Tommy Hilfiger, one of the largest designer apparel brands globally, has signed a five-year managed services contract with BT. Under the terms of the agreement; BT will provide a videoconferencing solution which includes the industry's first 'virtual fitting rooms', which the company jointly developed with Tandberg, now part of the newly formed Cisco Telepresence Technology Group. These telepresence rooms enable immediate global 'in-person' communication and collaboration among Tommy Hilfiger's designers and manufacturing facilities. The solution connects offices in Amsterdam, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo, with potentially more units to follow.
The contract includes two Tandberg Telepresence T3 systems (Amsterdam and New York), one Telepresence T1 system in Tokyo, three customized 'virtual fitting rooms' (based on the Telepresence T1) in Amsterdam, New York and Hong Kong, desktop units, supporting infrastructure (such as recording facilities) and software.
Tommy Hilfiger will also receive BT's One Source for Tandberg, a complete and ubiquitous managed services wrap which includes 24/7 helpdesk support, automated call scheduling and call launching, on-site maintenance, pro-active system monitoring and remote diagnostics. This reliable and easy to use service provides users and administrators alike with a single point of contact for all their support needs.
The virtual fittings rooms (based upon BT's Unified Communications (UC) video solution coupled with Cisco's Tandberg technology) include add-ons such as mobile cameras and recording facilities to enable the design team - based in Amsterdam and New York - to collaborate faster and more effectively with the manufacturing team in Hong Kong. Teams will be able to discuss the development of every single piece of the collection face-to-face without having to take long-distance flights.
Fred Gehring, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger Group, said, "We were impressed by BT's knowledge and experience in the videoconferencing area. This, combined with the creative, innovative solution which the BT-Cisco team offered, made the decision easy. "The solution will bring us an immersive virtual meeting experience and save both time and money. Teams will be able to interact and collaborate as if they were in the same room, making us much more agile and competitive. We look forward to better and more regular communication between our entities across the globe."
Bas Burger, CEO, BT Benelux, added: "This solution will also significantly lower carbon emissions. It is a good example of where sustainability and cost-savings go hand-in-hand. We at BT understand that sustainability is not an altruistic activity. To sustain the business, investments need to show return."
Fredrik Halvorsen, former Senior Vice President, Telepresence Technology Group, Cisco, said: "Tommy Hilfiger has always been a trend setter, now further illustrated by their innovative approach to virtual design and collaboration. Like many other leading companies, Tommy Hilfiger has recognised that high quality telepresence can make their processes faster and more effective, delivering a distinct competitive advantage."
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