Charles Russell Speechlys is one of the top law firms in the UK with offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Formed by the merger between Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham in 2014, Charles Russell Speechlys has a rich and varied history stretching back over 150 years.
Over the years, both companies had amassed a myriad of audio visual, video conferencing and digital media technologies, occupying a variety of room types and functions - including meeting rooms, events spaces and board rooms. In many cases the equipment was outdated and unreliable, leading to user frustration and support headaches.
The merger presented an opportunity to address these issues as part of a complete office refit of its newly combined headquarter building in London.
In doing so, Charles Russell Speechlys had a vision to create a law firm of the future and present itself, both internally and externally, as being a highly innovative and collaborative workplace. As a longstanding trusted partner, AVMI was chosen to help realise this vision.
With over 160 different IT systems in place between the two firms, one of the fundamental requirements of the project was the introduction of technical standards that would bring about a consistent user and support experience, including across the firm’s audio visual estate. Currently around half of the 40 meeting spaces feature AV/VC equipment.
Senior executives needed to be able to walk into any meeting space and feel comfortable using the technology in front of clients, so it was important to find a simple and user-friendly solution whilst also ensuring that it would be fully compliant with the most stringent IT security requirements.
AVMI started by meeting with the IT department to capture the current and future demands of the business. Following a thorough review of the available options, a set of technology standards were developed that could be applied to varying types of workspaces - from divisible meeting rooms to multi-purpose event spaces; flexibility was key.
Charles Russell Speechlys opted for Microsoft's Skype for Business as a company-wide, on-premise UC platform. This was part of the firm's move to create an entirely agile desktop environment, meaning that fee-earners could take calls and join Skype meetings from any location or device; another key requirement.
For its voice and video collaboration standard, the firm chose Polycom's RealPresence Group Series supported by its virtualised RealPresence Clariti solution, which integrated seamlessly with the firm's Skype for Business and Exchange environments, providing a simple click-to-call functionality where people can quickly video conference with each other on-demand without losing critical time in meeting setup and calendar alignment. This is intended to promote a self-service culture.
The RealPresence Clariti solution also allows the dedicated Video Network Operations Centre (VNOC) helpdesk team to provide its VIP users with concierge services and bespoke conference support to ensure the best experience.
What's more, the provision of web browser and Skype-based connectivity, as well as full support for BYOD, means that the audio/video conferencing services have been transformed and are promoting the firm's vision for an agile working environment.
The combination of the Microsoft and Polycom solutions means that the team now have an array of connection methods for their internal and external users, which was previously not possible.
For the firm's internal signage system, Charles Russell Speechlys opted for Tripleplay's digital signage with integrated IPTV platform. This flexible and cost-effective solution features a built-in content management system (CMS) making it easy to update and control content from any of the over-40 endpoints in the building.
Displays were installed into staff areas, breakouts, canteens, corridors, reception areas and on office floors; showing a mix of brand-based media, internal communications and live TV.
Charles Russell Speechlys was drawn to the Tripleplay solution due to its simplicity and scalability. What's more, with added security and encryption standards, the Tripleplay IPTV platform is especially designed for enterprise networks ensuring that it surpassed the expectations of its IT department.
Another key consideration was that display technology is a very visual medium and had to fit seamlessly into the clean and modern new office space. AVMI worked closely with the architects and designers involved in the office refurbishment and fit-out to ensure the solution matched their plans and expectations.
AVMI continues to work with Charles Russell Speechlys on an ongoing basis, providing integration support as well as having a full-time presence onsite to ensure the technology continues to operate at peak performance and is utilised effectively.
Additionally, AVMI has also provided event and hire support services, including for its Tech Innovation Roadshow; an event dedicated to showcasing IT vendor solutions in a bid to help staff engage with the technology and help prioritise the rollout of these new technologies.
Due to the collaborative nature of the project, which actively sought to include staff in the decision making process and provide feedback, the solutions have been extremely well received by employees at all levels of the company and user adoption has been very high.
The implemention of technology standards, which have governed the deployment of the firm's AV and collaboration technologies, mean the meeting rooms are easy to operate and are promoting a self-service culture for employees.
In turn, this has reduced the strain on the IT support team and freed up valuable time for them to focus on more pressing matters, such as supporting its VIP users and driving the broader digital transformation agenda. Usage data that is collected has also helped the IT team to more effectively plan, manage and monitor the video network.
As well as having a full-time presence to look after the day-to-day running of the AV estate, AVMI is continuing to work with Charles Russell Speechlys to upgrade the remaining rooms - in line with the standards - as part of the broader audio visual and digital media upgrade, which will include a twenty-person boardroom.
The project represents a future-proofed, integrated end-to-end AV solution and is helping to realise the firm's vision for creating a workplace of the future.