Turner Broadcasting System

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Makes Collaboration News with Polycom Immersive Telepresence


Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), a Time Warner company, creates news and entertainment programs for television and other platforms for consumers around the world. Based in Atlanta, TBS, Inc. employs some 11,000 people worldwide. The company is well known for its cable news network, CNN, and entertainment networks such as TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, and others.

As a geographically-dispersed organization, TBS, Inc. needed to enhance the quality and speed of collaboration of teams across its various campuses, including Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as operations in London, Buenos Aires and Hong Kong. With functional teams that include creative content development, technology, and research and finance, TBS, Inc. needed an immersive telepresence solution that would enable face-to-face, collaborative communication for better real-time decisions.

TBS, Inc. also sought to improve the quality of life for its employees, by reducing travel time to weekly executive meetings across its many domestic and international divisions and business units.

Expanding the Experience to Immersive Telepresence

An extensive user of Polycom video and voice conferencing solutions, TBS, Inc. expanded into high-definition telepresence by deploying three Polycom RPX HD Fully Immersive Telepresence Systems and over one hundred Polycom HDX Series Room Telepresence systems.

“When it came time to upgrade to a high-definition telepresence solution, we looked at a variety of products on the market,” says Dan Darling, CIO, TBS, Inc. “With the high quality of video, audio, and spatial environment, Polycom came out head and shoulders above the rest.”

A key driver in the decision to purchase Polycom was standards-based interoperability that allowed TBS, Inc. to optimize their return on existing video and infrastructure investments, including a range of third-party products. “Polycom is also easy to use,” says Ray McNair, director of AV and executive support at TBS, Inc. “The fact that business users can easily operate and run conferences without using technical staff is something we didn’t find with other solutions.”

In addition to ease-of-use, the solution’s superior video and audio capabilities were also important factors. “The quality of video in the Polycom immersive telepresence environment is more robust and richer than anything we had seen,” says Darling. “It’s as close to the real-presence experience as you can get.”

Real-Presence Experience Without the Travel

The Polycom RPX systems are installed in TBS, Inc.’s Atlanta headquarters, in Warner Brothers offices in Los Angeles and in Time Warner offices in New York. The solution greatly reduces travel time, enabling participants to experience true-to-life meetings where they are able to read body language and see facial expressions—without having to board an airplane.

“Polycom immersive telepresence solutions have been extremely beneficial in helping us increase the amount of communication and collaboration that people are able to do,” says Paul Miller, senior vice president of global IT infrastructure, TBS, Inc., “The audio and video quality enable us to accomplish things we couldn’t in the past. With Polycom, it feels like you are sitting across from one another in a real, face-to-face environment.”

Adoption of the telepresence solutions is vigorous, with a growing number of users and applications using immersive telepresence and HD video conferencing to work more productively across distances. “The immersive telepresence solution truly enhances communication in just about every area of our business, from engineers who can share ideas around product build to our finance department which recently completed the budget process,” says Darling.

Improving Collaboration & Content Sharing

TBS, Inc. also relies on more than 100 Polycom HDX systems to connect hundreds of people virtually everywhere in the company, every day. For the editorial department at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, daily HD telepresence conferences with news teams located in Washington, D.C. and New York bring real-time collaboration and content sharing to life, enabling editors to make critical decisions on breaking news and how the network will cover stories. Creative teams from Cartoon Network also use immersive telepresence every day to collaborate on story ideas and share animation, video clips and other multimedia content in real-time.

A Flexible, Scalable Conference Platform

In addition to the immersive telepresence and HD systems, TBS, Inc. has installed several components of Polycom’s conferencing infrastructure. The company uses the Polycom RMX 2000 real-time media conference platform to conduct multi-party conferences between sites, in both on-demand and scheduled modes.

“Polycom RMX gives us the flexibility to easily create HD video conference rooms with a large number of ports to provide continuous presence conferencing,” says McNair. Continuous presence enables TBS, Inc. to show multiple sites simultaneously with optimal resolution and call quality for each participant based on the capabilities of their video system.

Planning for the Future

“Our entire experience with Polycom, including installation and services, has been outstanding,” says Darling. “Polycom has done an incredible job of hitting the mark.”

With the success and wide adoption of immersive telepresence solutions, TBS, Inc. plans to roll out Polycom Converged Management Application (CMA) Desktop to further expand personal telepresence solutions across the organization. In addition, the company is planning to implement Polycom RSS for recording and streaming capabilities, as well as Polycom Video Border Proxy (VBP) to enable safe, secure access for remote users.

“Polycom has absolutely made us more productive and efficient,” adds Darling. “More importantly, we’ve been able to improve the quality of life for our employees by reducing travel time while making a positive impact on our environment.”

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