Marubeni: Enterprise Innovation through Superior UC Audio

Overview

At the heart of Marubeni is the creed “Sei, Shin, Wa,” which means “Fairness, Innovation, and Harmony.” The sogo shosha (general trading company) was established in 1949, and 67  years later, it holds fast to the same philosophy as it looks to navigate the future of business operations and expand even farther. The company operates in a broad range of sectors with many overseas locations, and has a large number of employees who travel for business.


Challenge

In 2016, Marubeni used the relocation of its Tokyo head office as an opportunity to deepen its practice of innovation, while at the same time, streamline business processes to increase employee productivity and cut travel costs. The company distributed 2,200 Apple® iPads ® to its employees to serve as terminals for remote meetings in order to improve employee productivity and decision-making processes. The company selected the Skype for Business platform and upgraded its network with Wi-Fi connections that would support a unified communication (UC) infrastructure. Marubeni needed an audio solution that could be scaled to optimize both medium and large meeting environments, leverage the full benefits of the new UC infrastructure, and provide clear audio at both ends.

Solution and Results

After surveying the market, Marubeni selected the Yamaha YVC-1000 speakerphone. The YVC-1000 is a USB speakerphone with Bluetooth® capability that accommodates medium to large conference spaces and rooms with special table configurations, such as a horseshoe, by daisy chaining up to four additional microphones. It has outputs for two external speakers for very big spaces. The unit can bridge a call from a smartphone connected by Bluetooth® to a call from a videoconferencing unit or a computer-based UC client connected by USB. It delivers the most natural and intelligible sound for the room using an auto-tuning function that detects and monitors environmental acoustics to optimize sound processing. The ability to connect to an iPad ® via Bluetooth®, along with the YVC-1000’s superior sound quality and volume, were the critical factors in the hardware and software platform decision.
 
The YVC-1000 was installed in 25 medium and large conference rooms, which accommodate anywhere from eight to 30 people. Depending on the size of the conference room, two to five YVC extension microphones were linked to ensure a sufficient audio pick-up range. Far-end participants at Marubeni’s overseas locations connect to Skype for Business on PC or iPad ® while those in the head office connect their iPads ® via  Bluetooth®  to  the  device,  allowing meetings to start quickly in any conference room. Multiple YVC-1000 devices in neighboring conference rooms can be recognized individually by the iPads ® for easy connection, with each device displayed on the iPad ® with a unique name to prevent users from accidentally connecting   to the wrong unit.
 
The audio clarity of the solution resulted in more productive UC collaboration, which led Marubeni to realize significant savings in employee travel costs. It has also allowed employees to use the system as a support tool for effective time management and swift decision-making, overcoming the barriers of distance.
 
“The sound quality and volume are outstanding, and by linking microphones, a sufficient pick-up range can be achieved even in our large conference rooms,” said Takemi Kamio, manager of Administration & Planning Sec. for Marubeni’s Information Strategy Department. “In connection tests done under the same network environment, the YVC-1000’s sound quality was far superior compared to any other equipment. That was the reason why we decided to use it.”

Future

The introduction of the Yamaha YVC-1000 has paved the way in helping Marubeni innovate and expand globally. With such astounding results, going forward Marubeni plans to make the YVC- 1000 its standard solution to support communication requirements across the company.

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