At a Glance
- Improved collaboration among offices
- Opened communication and encouraged partnership
- Flexible work space liberated users
- Immediate adoption Improved flexibility in work
Evolving new Netherlands town takes measures to be as vibrant and connected as befits its young age
Flexible communication system allows newly formed Netherlands city to give township employees the modern tools and balanced lifestyle they need to think, act and work with vibrant innovation.
Nieuwegein is one of the youngest cities in the Netherlands. Not so long ago, cows grazed and the sluices in the river Lek ensured busy shipping traffic. Today, there is a medium sized town, with approximately 65,000 inhabitants. The project of creating this new city started in 1970, with a clear vision: to be a green, clean and safe town. Nieuwegein is new, and modern. The large zoning plans are complete, and the dynamic and autonomous city is in constant progress, continuing to innovate and create to deliver the best services to its citizens.
Young and Current
The local municipality is in continuous evolution, and always searching for ways to efficiently serve its community while remaining cost effective. During the last 40 years, municipal offices have been established in several locations and - now that the town has reached full occupancy levels - all official city employees have been bought together in the same offices and have the opportunity to rethink the way they work. As they planned the move into a new building, the system and network team, lead by Frederik Lefevre, Senior System / Network Administrator, decided to create a modern and flexible work environment for each employee.
The objective was to remove the personal desk and to give employees the ability to work from wherever they were located: office, home office, or while traveling, by finding their personal environment on any computer.
Frederik Lefevre looked for partners to help him realise the vision, and enlisted the expertise at Polycom. Lefevre explains: “We were breaking new ground, and needed guidance. Polycom was willing to embark on the journey with us, and was involved in the project from the design stage. The Polycom team was instrumental in bringing our vision to life.”
The Platform – the Solution – the Pilot
To create this new communication platform and work environment, Lefevre chose three partners: Polycom, Microsoft® and Citrix®. Polycom would be the partner leading the project and building the pilot. Nieuwegein chose to implement the Microsoft Lync™ Server 2010. They then installed the Citrix XenDesktop® to allow the flexible work space. To combine Polycom HD Voice technology with the advanced presence-enabled telephony capabilities of Lync, they put together a pilot program to test the purpose-built voice and video collaboration solutions available. This resulted in Polycom CX600 and Polycom CX500 IP phones being installed on all desktops and the Polycom CX3000 IP conference phone and the Polycom CX5000 Unified Conference Station in the conference rooms as these phones provided the most unified, intuitive, collaboration experience and the most consistent UC experience for the desktop. As well as Polycom Spectralink 8840 wireless handheld phones, both natively integrated with the overall Lync solution and delivering the highest-quality and secure voice communications.
Freedom, Flexibility, Functionality
The purpose of the project was to free the individual from their desk. Each employee is able to connect from any desktop computer and have a personal environment, and own phone number. In the new offices, very few have an assigned desk. All desks are considered a ‘hot desk’. This is a very innovative, effective and personalised collaboration experience, and it has to be simple and accessible for all employees. With the thin client, and the Citrix USB redirection built in, added Lync functionalities are available on the Polycom CX end point. It was clear from the start, the Polycom, Microsoft and Citrix solution would change the way the workforce would interact with co-workers, customers and partners, and modify the way they work on a daily basis.
The True Evaluation
Lefevre knew there was some apprehension from the workforce: “To be considered a success, the solution has to be adopted by the workforce. It needs to be easy to use, and the benefits need to be visible immediately.” Once the surprise of not having an assigned desk passed, the true evaluation of the solution began. The first reaction was on the audio quality of the new Polycom phone, which employees found to be amazing. The high definition, wideband audio was a true upgrade.
As the Polycom CX phone is optimsed for Lync, it provides best-in-class user experience with rich presence and personalised content. The enhanced conferencing such as calendar, the large color display make the real-time collaboration as simple click of the mouse. As Lefevre and his team had predicted, the adoption was fast and smooth. There was an immediate productivity boost. The simple and reliable means of instant messaging, file transfer, voice and video collaboration bring employees into a new dimension, making the virtual desktop a true success.
Reflecting on the project, Lefevre is proud of the enormous accomplishment. The flexible work environment and unified collaboration platform enables the agency to be more inclusive and efficient in the way they operate. It has extended the reach and quality of services delivered across multiple media, channels and locations. The Polycom collaborative communication solution promotes responsiveness and improves user satisfaction. Lefevre believes this will be replicated in other offices, as the model give true freedom and excellent productivity results.