March 14, 2007 - BT today announced that it is going to supply the Media-Saturn group, Europe's biggest retailer of consumer electronics, with its new video collaboration service "BT Unified Communications Video". The new Telepresence solution allows users to hold virtual meetings of unprecedented technological quality with participants seeing life-size images of one another. The company expects to reduce its travel costs substantially as a result.
The Media-Saturn group, which operates in 14 European countries, will initially use the system at its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, and at its Munich, Paris and Moscow branches. BT will operate the solution and provide the necessary capacity and performance assurance on its MPLS network, so that images and sound can be transmitted with no perceived time lag. Expansion of the system is already planned, so that eventually all 14 countries will be covered.
"I am delighted that, once again, we are pioneering the introduction of a trailblazing technology," says Roland Weise, CEO of the Media-Saturn group. "This new collaboration solution allows us to hold meetings with management teams in the different countries in a way that will be virtually indistinguishable from a face-to-face meeting. This will deliver huge savings in travel costs and travelling time."
The new service is based on the Cisco TelePresence Meeting Solution. The high-resolution, life-size, real-time video transmission service will provide a platform for a whole range of new applications, including collaborative editing of documents. The images are so realistic that people using BT Unified Communications Video will truly feel they are sitting at the same table. At the company's Ingolstadt headquarters up to six people can sit down together, with two participants joining them from each of the other locations.
Wolfgang Lux, director of Media-Saturn-Holding GmbH with responsibility for IT, logistics and organisation, explains: "The conference system makes exceptionally heavy demands on the network infrastructure, especially when you consider that huge volumes of data have to be transmitted across national boundaries and the maximum acceptable delay is only about one tenth of a second. In view of our highly successful cooperation in the past, we are confident that BT is the right partner for this challenging project."
With this new contract, BT is building on its existing business relationship with the Media-Saturn group. The service-provider already operates the Germany-wide network linking all the Media Markt and Saturn stores, as well as data connections between the system headquarters in Ingolstadt and the subsidiaries in twelve European countries.
"Because of its international orientation the group has extensive communication needs and will derive optimum benefit from the advantages that BT Unified Communications Video has to offer. We are especially pleased that the Media-Saturn group is the first company to use our new service," adds Jan Geldmacher, CEO of BT Germany.
"Media-Saturn's commitment to Cisco TelePresence highlights the value that the solution can bring in terms of increasing productivity of geographically distant teams and reducing downtime associated with travel," said Randy Harrell, director of marketing for TelePresence at Cisco.
BT has been invited to join the Cisco TelePresence Authorised Technology Provider Program, making it one of the first service providers authorised to operate the new service. BT will present further information on this new product at CeBIT (15 to 21 March 2007) in Hannover.
With net sales of €13.3 billion and 37,230 employees in 2005, Media Markt and Saturn are Germany's and Europe's largest consumer electronics retailers. The success of these businesses, united under the umbrella of Media-Saturn-Holding GmbH, is based on a unique selection of branded products at low prices, expert advice, good service, distinctive advertising and a decentralised structure. Every store manager is also a co-proprietor of his store and is responsible for the product range, pricing, human resources and marketing. Media Markt and Saturn are managed independently of one another and compete with each other. The group is majority owned by METRO AG and has 624 stores in 14 European countries.
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.
In the year ended 31 March 2006, BT Group plc's revenue was £19,514 million with profit before taxation of £2,040 million.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.bt.com/aboutbt