Better sound quality and Smoother voice communication at meetings.
With head offices in Tokyo and Kyoto and 18 branches across Japan’s major cities, the need for Sagawa Express employees to travel for meetings was a pressing issue. Since around 2012, the company has been introducing online conferencing, which enables employees to take part remotely while cutting down excessive business trip expenses, travel time, etc. A regular company-wide meeting is held every Monday morning with the participation of head office executives and branch managers, including division managers. When online conferencing was first introduced, it was mainly used for one-way transmission of information such as reports and instructions from head office executives—however, as employees grew more familiar with online conferencing, two-way communication increased, while criticisms such as "it’s hard to hear" and “the audio is crackling” were still received. At company-wide meetings, managers from 428 sales office across the nation viewed the exchanges between head office executives and branch managers (50 or so people) on tablets, and it was clearly necessary to improve the audio quality of online conferencing in order to properly convey information across workplaces. Furthermore, as the use of online conferencing expanded beyond company-wide meetings, there was a chronic shortage of compatible meeting rooms, and the company urgently needed to expand these.
Large conference room where company-wide meetings are held
CS-700 with integrated camera installed under the monitor
A connection diagram with photos is prepared, in addition to the manual
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world in 2020, the company set a goal of an office attendance rate of no more than 50% when Japan’s state of emergency was declared and around 830 employees at the head office were advised to work from home. The company-wide introduction of Microsoft Teams, with the goal of diversifying and revitalizing communications, was completed by the end of March 2020, and the transition to remote working was achieved rapidly and smoothly. Up to that point, the need for online conferencing increased rapidly due to face-to-face communication in the office conducted over the network, but employees on the office side were not easily able to secure meeting rooms, and many took part in Teams meetings using their own PCs with earphones. As a result, there was frequent dissatisfaction with mutual voice quality, as well as concerns over bandwidth limitations caused by multiple people taking part in online conferences over Wi-Fi connections; accordingly, it became necessary to improve the environment for small-scale online conferencing.
Meeting booths are frequently used
Thus, Sagawa Express decided to drastically reduce the number of free-address desks at its Tokyo head office, which were seeing less use as many employees were now working from home, and instead set up open-style meeting booths surrounded by partitions in the cleared space. In November 2020, by arranging custom-made booths with glass walls and sliding doors around the 3rd and 4th office floors, the company created an environment where employees could talk with peace of mind, while eliminating oppressive feelings as much as possible. At that time, YVC-330 speakerphones capable of handling online conferences of 4 to 6 people were installed in each meeting booth, along with a large monitor, camera, and dedicated laptop PC. While still considering the YVC-1000MS and CS-700—proven Yamaha products highly praised for their voice quality—YVC-330 SoundCap technology, which enables stress-free voice communication in noisy open spaces, was introduced in the expectation that this would be effective for meeting booths with open upper sections. In addition to the 22 meeting booths newly established at the Tokyo head office, a total of 40 units of YVC-330 were installed in meeting rooms at 18 branches with frequent communication needs.
YVC-330's SoundCap function makes conversation more comfortable
There is a reason why we introduced a large number of YVC-330 at the same time we introduced YVC-1000MS/CS-700 in January 2019. Previously, the equipment needed for online conferencing, such as speakerphones, was brought to each meeting room to be installed and set up, but this involved a lot of hassle in troubleshooting and managing equipment borrowing, and as the frequency of online conferencing increased, the company faced problems such as shortages of equipment. By installing and connecting a large monitor, camera, dedicated laptop PC with online conferencing software, and speakerphones in each meeting room, users can start online conferencing immediately, just by turning on the power, and the IT Planning Division is freed from equipment borrowing management, installation, and set-up, which improves productivity for the entire company. We were now well-prepared for the ever-increasing needs of online conferencing.
YVC-1000MS and YVC-MIC1000EX Extension Microphones were installed in large meeting rooms
As the need for online conferencing grows, we are recognizing once again the importance of voice in communication.
Regular company-wide meetings are also viewed on tablets at 428 branches nationwide, and since the introduction of Yamaha products, there have been almost no complaints about voice quality. In the future, through the various communication channels achieved by the introduction of Teams, we intend to actively listen to the workplace opinions that are closest to our customers and offer them as feedback to management, aiming to improve competitiveness by creating new services.
Sagawa Express Co., Ltd. / Head of IT Planning Division / Kazuki Nambu
The newly constructed meeting booths on the office floor of the Tokyo head office were designed with an open upper section in consideration of the cost of complying with the Fire Service Act as well as avoiding any oppressive feeling. There were some concerns that noise on the floor would interfere, making it difficult to hear conversations during online conferences, but thanks to the YVC-330, which was designed for online conferences in open spaces such as huddle spaces, even if it’s a little noisy outside the booth, mutually stress-free voice communication is achieved.
Sagawa Express Co., Ltd. / IT Planning Section Manager, IT Planning Division / Takanori Ota
Separate microphone and speaker for an intimate audio/video experience
Up to four extension microphones can be added to cover a wider area and accommodate more conference participants.