Today’s collaborative workplace technologies are evolving at a pace that can be overwhelming.
The challenge presented by this leading global consultancy was to deconstruct the legacy approach to collaborative meeting spaces by making ‘unified collaboration’ a reality, rather than just an aspiration.
The Consultancy had already adopted a Digital Transformation Agenda, which it has been rolling out across its global infrastructure to cater for the demands of an increasingly younger, more digitally-aware workforce – in fact, two-thirds of the workforce here, are under the age of 35.
Backed by extensive research into how this generation works and behaves in the workplace; the firm developed a forward-thinking workplace strategy that sought to reduce complexity and bring together video, data and business media requirements on a common platform.
Following a successful pilot of the new workplace strategy in its US head office, the Consultancy appointed AVMI to deliver its UC and AV requirements across the UK and Ireland. This included a complete office refurbishment of its London headquarters: a complex flagship project that would set the bar for other locations.
The Consultancy is one of the largest Skype for Business users in the world – connecting some 380,000 employees globally. Today, virtually all audio and video calls are made using Skype for Business, catering to a more agile workforce, saving time and cutting the cost of conventional video conferencing by over eighty percent.
AVMI operated closely with the Consultancy’s IT and Workplace Solutions Teams to assess available technologies that would work naitivly with Skype for Business, providing an intuitive and high-quality collaboration experience, regardless of location or device.
The Consultancy chose the Microsoft Surface Hub, a touch-based collaboration device that integrates video conferencing, presentation and digital whiteboard capabilities, designed around a highly responsive screen. The Surface Hub is built for ink and touch applications such as One Note, but it also incorporates full functionality of the complete range of Microsoft Office Products, as well as the increasing number of business-focused Apps available from the Microsoft App Store.
The device allows delegates to walk up and join a Skype for Business meeting with a single tap, helping to save time by starting a collaborative session in seconds rather than minutes. There are no hand controls or third party interfaces; it’s all there on the built-in touch-screen and the familiar Skype For Business interface.
Meeting notes and outcomes are recorded, saved and shared with all meeting delegates using just a single tap and shared content is automatically cleared down at the end of each meeting.
To date, AVMI has deployed over fifty Surface Hubs across the Client's multiple offices in the UK and Ireland. These are positioned in common areas called ‘Pods’ and are used for brainstorming and ad-hoc meetings as well as bookable meeting rooms which have a mixture of 55” and 84” devices installed. Both of these spaces cater for a growing percentage of collaborative meetings where delegates are declining the conventional videoconferencing and audio-visual formats.
To promote its adoption, extensive communications and training programmes were undertaken
to encourage employees to adapt their long-established work habits and take advantage of the powerful capabilities of the Microsoft Surface Hub.
Conventional audio-visual displays still have their place, however. Multiple screens are used to deliver digital signage content via a Cyviz distributed video network. This is coupled with an AVMI designed and installed IPTV solution from Tripleplay that allows DVB and Satellite TV network content to be displayed on any screen in the building, even including the Microsoft Surface Hubs.
Large scale integration projects, such as this Client’s new builds in Ireland and UK, require a broad range of competences from suppliers. AVMI’s skilled Account Directors, Account Managers and Project Managers have an enviable track record in the industry. We have received accolades from some of the world’s largest corporates for our ability to deliver on time and on budget whilst exceeding expectations. This was no exception, and we continue to work closely with the Client’s Senior Management Team and on-site Engineers to ensure the smooth running of existing installations and upcoming projects.
The Client has seen significant improvements in meeting efficiency. With conventional meetings taking on average 12 minutes to get started before agenda items are addressed, the Microsoft Surface Hub - with its integration with Office 365 and 'walk up and start' advantages - has drastically reduced these unproductive delays.
There is also greater real-time collaboration from live content sharing and fully interactive workspaces, using Microsoft OneNote for example, which ensures that all delegates have a real-time shared environment where visualisations are dynamic and instant.
What's more, because the Surface Hub is fundamentally a touch screen device that uses Windows and Skype for Business – the same environments that delegates are used to working with on a daily basis - means that user adoption has been very rapid, removing the typical user dilemma of ‘I can’t remember how to do this’ that adds so much unproductive time to meetings.
With increased usage in meeting spaces equipped with Microsoft Hub systems, the Client has re-affirmed that its new workplace strategy is working and as such, has a clear direction for future investment in its Digital Transformation Agenda.
Most importantly, with its proven model in place, the Consultancy is practising what it preaches in advising its clients on how to boost workforce productivity and collaboration with the use of advanced workspace technology.