At a Glance

  • Travel cost savings of over £250,000
  • Eliminates 160 tons of CO2 per year
  • Improved teamwork
  • collaborative decision making and productivity
  • Faster decision making

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Global Brewer HEINEKEN Saves £250,000 in Travel Costs and 160 Tons of CO2 in First Year with Polycom RealPresence Video Collaboration

Through its relationship with Talk and Vision and Polycom, HEINEKEN’S distributed workforce enjoy a world class professional meeting environment with, presentation and IT monitoring facilities and is able to utilise the concierge service from Talk and Vision to take part in one of over 8,000 video conferences held across HEINEKEN globally a year.


HEINEKEN was formed in April 2008 when HEINEKEN N.V. acquired the UK business of Scottish & Newcastle PLC and integrated with HEINEKEN’S existing UK business. The UK’s leading beer and cider business, employs around 2,300 people with a field-based sales force of over 500 people. A brewer and cider maker, wholesaler and distributor of alcoholic drinks, HEINEKEN also manages around 1,400 pubs through its S&N Pub Company business.


With a distributed workforce across a number of different sites, HEINEKEN wanted to increase communication between the UK head office in Edinburgh and its offices and manufacturing sites situated through out the UK, whilst reducing the amount of travel its field sales people undertake. HEINEKEN utilised video conferencing facilities previously, however the infrastructure was a legacy system which resulted in reliability issues and a lack of usage. HEINEKEN sought to upgrade to a unified communications solution that would enable them to connect the London and Edinburgh offices together as a virtual campus. Enabling information sharing in realtime without the need for staff to shuttle from Heathrow to Edinburgh or vice versa. The challenge was to deliver a reliable video conferencing collaboration service that would allow staff to just walk into the meeting room five minutes before the event and have meetings they required using secure and reliable technology.

Solutions and Implementation

Working with Polycom partner, Talk and Vision who manage and maintain all of the existing systems globally, HEINEKEN implemented High Definition (HD) unified communications (UC) video conferencing solutions across over 11 video enabled rooms in the UK. This complements the existing 160 units installed in over 50 countries across the world including Holland, Mexico, Romania, Poland and the US. The centerpiece of the install is the Polycom RealPresence Immersive Solutions (OTX Series) situated in the Edinburgh and London offices. These rooms are now being utilised for a wide variety of meetings, from board meetings to interdepartmental meetings and HR Interviews, due to their ease-of-use, unique multifunctional design, immersive HD quality and life like view of people at the other end of the Polycom video conferencing system.

New smaller meeting rooms and dedicated video conferencing facilities, based on Polycom RealPresence Room solutions such as the HDX 7000 series, are located in cider and brewing operations such as Tadcaster, Manchester, Hereford and other sites around the UK. These help to improve internal communications, speeding up decision making and boost business productivity and collaboration.

HEINEKEN required further scalability to its video solutions and the Polycom RealPresence Resource Manager CMA 4000 was utilised to improve the management of endpoints along with CMA Desktop video solutions to provide a more flexible working environment. The Polycom RealPresence Collaboration Server (RMX 2000) was also added to combine multi-party voice, video and content collaboration sessions together so as to further enable improved teamwork and collaborative decision making.


Through its relationship with Talk and Vision and Polycom, HEINEKEN’S distributed workforce enjoys a world class professional meeting environment. Including presentation and IT monitoring facilities and are able to utilise the concierge service from Talk and Vision to take part in one of over 8,000 video conferences held across Heineken globally a year.

As a 24-hour company, efficiently sharing information is very important for the brewery’s operations. HEINEKEN field sales staff are now able to enjoy a better work/life balance by reducing the amount of travel they do across the UK whilst sharing information in real-time throughout the organisation.

From a user adoption point of view the teams involved haven’t had to launch the new video conferencing solutions internally as it’s been word of mouth that has carried the solution into the live operating environment. The management team at HEINEKEN has lead from the top to inspire people in the company to use the technology and were utilising the Polycom OTX Telepresence Suites on day one to host the first meetings between Edinbrough and London.

The use of the Polycom RealPresence Platform and the investment in pioneering immersive telepresence technology has resulted in cost savings of over £250,000 in travel between Edinburgh and London within the first year. The quality and ease-of use of the new video conferencing solutions has led to larger usage demand for video conferences whilst also saving 160 tons of CO2 in just 12 months. The equivalent of 1,270 car journeys between Edinburgh and London and 10,160 lost hours due to driving or 752 return flights between Edinburgh and London and 2,632 lost hours due to flights.

The new video conferencing solutions have helped change the way HEINEKEN communicates and operates to develop a more collaborative environment.

The Future
HEINEKEN is investing heavily in mobile and tablet technology in the UK and is looking to further increase the costs saving related to travel expenditures. They plan to do this by extending their use of enterprise HD video collaboration through the use of iPad’s and laptops using Microsoft® Lync™ and Polycoms’
RealPresence Mobile Software.

Interoperability with other systems is very important to HEINEKEN, and is what influenced their decision to buy Polycom, as Microsoft® Lync™ is the group standard for desk-to-desk presence, instant messaging, voice and video.

HEINEKEN selected Polycom solutions for the quality and interoperability of the products, as they required an end-to-end unified communications solution that was both backwards and forwards compatible.

The delivery of both Microsoft® Lync™ and Polycom solutions will enable staff to move seamlessly from one mode of communication to another, by accessing video on their desktop through the Lync contact list, instantly meeting with a colleague face-to-face or joining a meeting in one of the immersive telepresence rooms.

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