Sainsbury’s is implementing an IP-based videoconferencing suite from BCS Global, to facilitate meetings without travel. It will also cut costs by removing ISDN lines.

The supermarket’s logistics division began work in February to implement the BCS Virtual Presence technology across 10 locations, with the aim of saving time currently spent travelling to meet colleagues. It hopes to complete the work in the next few months.

Currently, Sainsbury's only uses ISDN videoconferencing for ad-hoc internal communications, and it said the quality was suffering from stringent bandwidth restrictions. Additionally, it said, the price per call was too high and discouraged use. Sainsbury’s will pay a fixed monthly charge for the video IP service.

Nigel Hough, logistics communications manager for Sainsbury’s, said: “We weren’t interested in video conferencing just for the sake of it. We wanted a solution that encouraged greater colleague collaboration, faster decision-making and reduced the need for travel.”

Sainsbury’s said in the long run it wanted to use the application for monthly briefings, presentations, training and creating DVDs.

The supermarket has invested heavily to improve efficiency after bringing IT back in house from Accenture in 2005. Last year, it invested £118 million in IT and supply chain improvements.

Last week, it closed its online store for two days as IT problems in local shops prevented those shops from being able to process online orders for delivery.

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