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June 10, 2008

Virtually there

LINCOLNSHIRE, England – If only the signpost in our image were true. Getting anywhere in the world would be easy and happen fast. In some ways though, it is. The guy responsible for Halo at Nokia is Phil Brockbank. He’s also the man who makes sure Nokia’s Virtual Meeting Services are up to scratch and people in the company can easily get access to each other without having to jump on a plane. Interesting then that he works not in Nokia’s HQ, but from his home office in deepest Lincolnshire – 120 miles from Nokia’s UK headquarters.

We caught up with Phil whilst we were trying out Halo. Rather than come in to London to see us (a three hour trip) Phil connected in from his home office – and once he did not making the trip made complete sense, he simply didn’t need to. From his desk he explained where Halo came from, how it works and, though we can’t talk about it yet, where it might be going in the future.

Various TelePresence solutions were researched but Phil cites HP’s total solution as being a deciding factor, right down to the room installation. Usability is a key part of selecting systems such as these. The fact every one is the same (both looking and functionality wise), there’s a single global support network and that Nokia already works with HP on its internal IT all factored to help Phil and his team choose Halo.

The next steps for the system include getting regular meeting rooms connected to Halo, getting key suppliers to install and use the system and roll out a PC client to enable remote workers to dial into the Halo. Before long, it’s easy to see how Nokia will not only have vastly increased collaboration, but also reduced the amount of time employees spend flying.

Having experienced a range of IT departments in my time, one of the best things I found about Phil was the can-do attitude he possessed. It was easy to see that he felt he plays a key roll in helping the company to collaborate and work together and wants to do whatever he can to make that happen. The stats he had to hand to back up his decisions were fascinating (and although we’re open on Conversations, we’re not that open) and showed a level of business knowledge I hadn’t seen before in IT departments.

Photo by joeshlabotnik

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