Solb Steel

At a Glance

  • Collaboration across region
  • Planning and quality control
  • Engage with partners

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Building a New Future for Steel in Saudi Arabia

It was early days for Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Economic City when Solb Steel began building its manufacturing facilities there in 2009. The new master-planned community had several advantages: easy access to Saudi Arabia’s third-largest port; a location amid the country’s fast-growing southern region; and substantial government and industry backing.

What Jazan lacked was infrastructure. Communications capabilities in particular were years behind those available in Riyadh and more developed areas. And in a patch of undeveloped desert 1,000 kilometers from the country’s largest commercial center, the ability to communicate and collaborate would determine how quickly and efficiently plants, offices and other facilities could rise out of the sand.

For Solb Steel to realize its goal of becoming one of the region’s top providers of steel billets, reinforcement bars and wire rods, construction managers in Jazan would need to collaborate face-to-face with company executives in Riyadh. That required interactive, real-time video over the fastest Internet bandwidth Jazan could muster: a meager 64K.

"We were sharing content and working on plans," says Dr. Faisal Al Nasser, information technology and production planning manager at Solb Steel. "The connection needed to be great each time."

For Solb Steel, Polycom – whose solutions are built to deliver lifelike, high-definition video and audio even in low-bandwidth connections – was the answer. "No one could believe calls were using so little bandwidth as the quality was great!" Al Nasser recalls.

As building continued and Jazan’s anemic connections were replaced with fiber over microwave lines, the rapidly growing steel producer expanded to a unified communications and collaboration environment powered by Microsoft Lync and Polycom voice and video solutions – and all of it implemented by FVC, Polycom’s Platinum Partner in Saudi Arabia.

With face-to-face collaboration a daily part of Solb Steel's work environment – employees have called Polycom’s HD Voice quality "amazing" – the company now plans to extend its use of Polycom and Lync systems so it can engage directly with partners and customers, without having to travel throughout the region.

"As IT manager, it is great to be able to deliver solutions of such high quality, which allow people to work and communicate efficiently," notes Al Nasser. "We are very happy with the solution."