StarLeaf's cloud video conferencing and calling has become indispensable to the daily operations of Groupe Cahors, an international organization specializing in energy distribution
"To us, video conferencing is like email, we've come to wonder how we ever did without it." In just a few words, Jean Christophe Bouchée, IT Director, Groupe Cahors, sums up the feeling shared by the hundreds of staff across 21 sites and subsidiaries using StarLeaf cloud video conferencing and calling on a daily basis. Jean Christophe Bouchée continues "video conferencing is now an indispensable tool that we use every single day; it has profoundly changed the way we work. Holding collaborative meetings over video means we travel less, but it's the gains in productivity that we have immediately noticed. This is because we now use video calling all the time and instead of sending emails - it's like the telephone but it's so much more productive when you can meet face to face".
But it wasn't always the case. Groupe Cahors' initial experience with video conferencing was fraught with technical problems. Its first foray into video meeting room systems was the implementation of Cisco equipment. However, these systems were vulnerable and increasingly subjected to malicious spam calls that ultimately rendered the endpoints useless. Coming under attack from opportunistic spammers is a problem that often happens to H.323 systems that are set to 'auto answer'. In addition to these nuisance calls, the Cisco equipment had reached a point where it just couldn't scale to meet the volume of video traffic that Groupe Cahors needed. That is, not without further investments in costly infrastructure. The security and scale problems became insurmountable and a decision was taken to replace the Cisco video equipment.
"When we put our video conferencing requirements out to tender, we developed a precise list of very demanding specifications" says Jean Christophe Bouchée.
"We needed a completely secure solution, built on native cloud architecture that would provide unlimited scale, was feature rich, interoperable with other systems, and with a single user interface that also offered the possibility of extending video to anyone else easily and instantly."
The StarLeaf video cloud matched this criteria, together with its video software and hardware endpoints that are as simple and intuitive to use as a telephone, video messaging, call transferring and filtering, automatic software updates, and personal and company directories. All of this is totally interoperable with other platforms on the market, from Microsoft Skype for Business to H.323 and SIP providers such as Cisco and Polycom.
Groupe Cahors was also satisfied that the StarLeaf video cloud offered levels of security that went beyond on-premise H.323 infrastructure and that it was entirely protected from any future nuisance spam calls. The objective and attraction was simple: avoid the constraints and prohibitive costs related to on-premise infrastructures while benefitting from a range of features that complement the way in which
Groupe Cahors works; mobility, interoperability, and one-click secure communications with an extensive network of contacts. For its employees, the use of StarLeaf on desktops and in meeting rooms was a revelation. In addition to gaining a very easy to use and intuitive interface, Groupe Cahors was able to provide all employees and external business partners with a free download of StarLeaf Breeze software. Breeze meets Groupe Cahors' need for mobility by allowing remote or travelling staff to video call anyone, hold their own instant group meetings or simply join scheduled meetings, from whatever device they are using at the time. Talking about StarLeaf's QuickMeetTM feature, Jean Christophe Bouchée said; "The ability to instantly add an outside participant to a meeting at any time soon proved a considerable advantage in our site meetings. For example, commissioning tests in Toulon were conducted with technicians based in Montpellier, supervised by engineers in London."
An ubiquitous advantage that the 150 StarLeaf users in Groupe Cahors do not hesitate to make use of, especially in international business meetings with participants in China, Uruguay and India. For Groupe Cahors, the guest invite feature is particularly powerful. It allows them to meet anyone on video with just one click, no matter what device or platform their invitee is using. Most importantly, they can do this securely. After their Cisco H.323 experience, Groupe Cahors was understandably interested in the security of StarLeaf cloud video conferencing, reinforced by firewalls, anti-spam procedures, secure video connections, and secure data centees in several locations managed by StarLeaf's own teams.
For Groupe Cahors, StarLeaf's successful and rapid adoption throughout the organization is largely due to its security features. Furthermore, word of mouth has quickly reinforced the three strengths of the StarLeaf solution as stated by Jean Christophe Bouchée: "It works, it's simple and it's powerful."