Time. No one has enough. Projects, tasks, briefings, meetings… anything that gets in the way of efficiency leads to toe tapping and anxiety.

Wouldn’t it be nice if connecting to a meeting was less of a hassle? Eric Steimel (Director Real Estate Technology and Collaboration) of Pitney Bowes, agrees and had a vision to give time back: Make every meeting a Skype for Business meeting.

Eric and his team have spent countless hours upgrading the communication experience at Pitney Bowes. It started with standardizing the meeting experience within the office – from the video equipment, to the position of the video screens to the furniture – everything was arranged to make the overall experience consistent and exceptional.

Pitney Bowes embraces an active flexible working culture and many employees connect to meetings from someplace other than the office. They also connect from various platforms which can make scheduling difficult.  Eric’s plan: find a solution that can seamlessly auto link their existing voice and video systems into a Skype for Business call.

The answer is the new Polycom RealConnect for Office 365, a solution from Polycom which simplifies communication by bringing Skype for Business and non-Skype for Business endpoints together into one meeting.  Participants can connect however they please and receive the same experience. Pitney Bowes received a pre-launch preview of the solution.  Here is their story:


How did you come to know about RealConnect for Office 365?

Eric Steimel: Our original videoconferencing experience was challenging, because remote workers had video the size of a postage stamp- but they still used it.  One day, we upgraded our infrastructure and the system failed.  It surprised us how much people missed being able to connect different platforms in the same meeting.

So much has changed since then. With Skype for Business, our experience has improved dramatically.  Our culture is more agile than ever with distributed teams all over. They’re in remote offices, in the field or at home. You never know where people will be or which device they will be using. As a result, it’s difficult to schedule and have meetings that work for everyone.

RealConnect for Office 365 is exactly what we needed. Instead of people spending time at the beginning of each meeting trying to get the technology to work, they now just join from wherever, from whatever platform they’re comfortable with and focus on the meeting. Our vision is that every meeting is a Skype for Business meeting. This makes it easy to both schedule as well as join a meeting.   It saves time in each meeting, especially during new employee training. It’s just easy having everything and everyone under one roof, technologically.

If you didn’t have this type of technology, how would Pitney Bowes work?

ES: Because it’s a cloud solution, the RealConnect for Office 365 is a good fit for us. The biggest draw is I don’t have to deploy anything on-premise to make it work.  No on-premise infrastructure, no need to build servers and appliances. This facilitates the deployment.  I manage RealConnect for Office 365 the same way I manage everything else in Office 365 – I can introduce it and scale easily and confidently.

What does it mean to you that this has been created by Polycom and Microsoft:

ES: The world has become much more interconnected in terms of these solutions working together. To me, it’s important that the vendors I work with work closely with each other. It’s important to me to have a solution that’s embraced by both Polycom and Microsoft. If there are challenges, they’re more likely to be fixed, and it just works seamlessly. Having the tight integration in the Office 365 portal allows us to more easily deliver a service to our internal customers.  Employees don’t care about the underlying technology. All they care about is that when they come into a meeting, it works. It’s just easy, so they can focus on collaborating with their peers.

How has the experience been so far?

ES: We have many work groups at Pitney Bowes. Teams that use video find their remote participants  have a more engaging experience. They can see facial expressions and feel more a part of the conversation. Body language is a big way we communicate and visual cues improve collaboration.

What would you say the ROI has been using RealConnect for O365

ES: Improved meeting effectiveness. Starting a meeting is a snap – no wasted time struggling to get the technology sorted out at the beginning of a meeting. Training a new employee is easy. Being able to have one click of a button to bring everyone together in one meeting is really a great experience.

Polycom RealConnect for Office 365 will be available next month.  If you are interested in receiving a free trial, please contact us at TeamMicrosoft@polycom.com