Crestron ISE2018 recap

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If you attended ISE this year, then we are sure you will have attended the Crestron stand, here are a couple of the products that our team were excited to learn more about during their visit to Crestron’s stand during ISE2018.

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DM® NVX Series

The Crestron DM – NVX demonstrations were in high demand during the show so is if you missed out check out these videos of the environmental, image quality, and no latency tests, captured live from the show floor. The DM-NVX Series delivers a stunning 4k60 4:4:4, and HDR video experience over a standard, low cost 1G Ethernet network. The DM NVX is also the only network AV solution that protects video from environmental noise from lighting systems, elevators, vending machines and other powered appliances.

  • Now with Dante® and AES67
  • Web-based control and management
  • Encoder/decoder all-in-one
  • 4K60 4:4:4 HDR
  • No latency
  • Network security
  • 1 Gb Ethernet
  • Infinite scalability
  • USB 2.0 routing
  • Built-in DSP
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Crestron Mercury® 

The only open UC solution

We love the Crestron Mercury, it is the only UC and AV all-in-one table top solution that supports any web collaboration application. By combining all the must-have conferencing and collaboration tools in one easy-to-use console, Mercury enables people to work together regardless of location or conferencing application.

  • Conference phone; works with any SIP server
  • BYOD; works with any video conferencing or web collaboration service
  • Runs Zoom Rooms and Skype® for Business natively
  • Wired and wireless presentation
  • Supports network security and cloud provisioning
  • Now supports AppSpace™ digital signage
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All-new FlipTops™

The new FlipTops are completely redesigned for quick installation, flexible configuration, and unprecedented ease of use. Select any combination of cable retractors and modules (pass-through, connector, and AC power modules) and cleanly slide them into place. With no visible gaps or screws and with a dashboard forward design, these new models boast a clean fit and finish, beautifully engineered to automotive standards.

Bayer UK swept-up during ISE 2018

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ISE 2018 in Amsterdam was the forum for unprecedented success as one audio visual and video conferencing project swept-up four prestigious awards. 

Focus 21 Visual Communications was commissioned by AV specialist consultant, MiX Consultancy Ltd, to deliver Bayer UK’s AV collaboration project at their new headquarters in Reading’s Green Park. The project had to accommodate the needs of Bayer’s employees in an office that comprises four floors, twenty meeting rooms, a dedicated space showcasing Bayer’s latest scientific innovations and BayLab; a large restaurant and café area that opens to a large town hall space for quarterly employee gatherings.

The integrated, end-to-end AV solution was designed to promote collaboration; providing Bayer’s employees with easy to use presentation facilities, video conferencing and control systems.  The result of the unique but easy-to-use technological solution has significantly enhanced employee relationships and overall communications.

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AV News Commercial Project 2018

At the start of the show, this innovative project picked up the award for AV News Commercial Project of the year. Bryan Denyer, Editor of AV News said of the entry We particularly liked the fact that Bayer UK were not just changing the technology of the workplace but also changing attitudes to work"

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InAVation Awards 2018

The 2018 InAVation Awards followed later that day, where the Bayer UK project received the AVIXA Standards award.

 

We’re absolutely thrilled to be announced as The InAVation Awards AVIXA Standards awards winner!, To me this award shows the importance Focus 21 put on training and professionalism.
— Commented Justin Paveley - Projects Director, Focus 21, who worked on the Bayer UK project.
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Crestron Awards

On day two of ISE 2018 the same project won Crestron’s award for Best User Experience in the Corporate category. Crestron featured heavily in the Bayer installation and helped ensure the ease-of-use that was so important to the client.

We are delighted with the award wins for the Bayer UK project. It was a fantastic project to work on and in compiling the requirements through a series of workshops with Bayer’s key stakeholders, MiX determined a set of guiding principles to ensure design continuity across the proposed scheme. A key component of the strategy was to provide standardisation through consistency and simplicity by minimising customisation but also delivering innovation to the business. This, in turn promoted user confidence, reliability, and value
— James Woods, AV Associate, MiX Consultancy
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AV Technology Awards 2018

That evening saw a 4th award picked up at the inaugural AV Technology Europe awards, for Best Large-Scale AV Project or Event

We are absolutely delighted to have won four industry awards during ISE2018. These accolades top what has already proven to be an amazing project for Bayer in the UK - one that has supported a cultural change and equipped employees with the tools to collaborate effectively and drive customer value.

It has attracted significant interest across the Bayer group worldwide. with many visitors traveling to see the installation first hand, with hugely positive feedback.

We’d Like to thank everyone involved in the awards for voting for us and everyone involved in the implementation of this installation for their hard work which led to us winning these awards
— Glynn Seymour - Digital & Infrastructure Team Lead - Bayer UK
By working closing with both MiX Consultancy and the client, we’ve installed and commissioned this project above the client’s expectation and delivered a solution that has made an impact on the culture for the employees who work in this impressive building. The system deployed is both resilient and well supported and will provide the client with a return on their investment for years to come.
— Jim Harward, Managing Director - Focus 21 Visual Communications

You can read more about the Bayer award-winning project here

You can also take a tour of the Bayer UK offices by clicking here

5 Things You Should Do When Deploying Video Conferencing

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Deploying a successful video conferencing solution into your business is incredibly rewarding and can help your company become more efficient and save money. It can also help increase your team’s morale as they balance their work and life more effectively. Sometimes we speak to companies who have deployed video conferencing unsuccessfully. This can be a depressing and costly experience. Here are 5 key steps that successful users commonly take.

1)      Begin with the end in mind

  • Decide how you see your business using video conferencing.
  • Think about which meeting rooms you want to populate with video conferencing.
  • There are larger room video solutions and lower cost ones for smaller rooms (huddle rooms) available.
  • You may wish to avoid people using a room for a video call when they are on their own.
  • Consider whether you will offer desktop video conferencing.
  • Determine what measures you will use to establish the success of your project. It is possible to deploy technology to study regularity and duration of video calls.
  • Avoid mobile video units that can be moved from one room to another. In this scenario it is easy to book a room and find somebody has removed the video unit to a different room.

2)      Assess the how it will impact your other technology

  • Video conferencing requires reasonable and stable bandwidth on your network.
  • Will you need to improve the network by increasing available bandwidth or deploying QoS (quality of service) to avoid loss of quality in video calls?
  • Determine whom will need to be involved to ensure your network is ready.
  • Modern video conferencing room systems and multi-point bridges will integrate with communication platforms such as Cisco Call Manager, Skype for Business or Avaya IP office.

3)      Be determined to get great use of the equipment you buy

  • Establish what kind of launch and training should be done.
  • Many companies have successfully run an internal marketing program to encourage using video conferencing instead of using audio conferencing or traveling unnecessarily.
  • Some businesses have controls on non-essential travel to encourage video calling. You could choose to do this, or you could reward users for saving the company money.

4)      Work with an expert

  • Don’t attempt to become an expert in video conferencing; it would certainly pay to learn about the key manufacturers and broadly what they offer, but there are plenty of professionals willing to help.
  • Look for a reputable dealer with accreditations from the market-leading manufacturers.
  • You could choose to work with an audio visual or video conferencing consultant.
  • Ask searching questions about what other clients they have helped.
  • Ask for evidence of success.

5)      Measure your performance

Do this against the parameters you determined at the start. I recommend doing this regularly. It may take time to get your users to be comfortable and not every tactic you employ will work. If you are continually assessing performance you can take steps to improve it or congratulate yourself on a job well done.

If you would like to speak with us about replacing or implementing a video conferencing solution in your business, please call us on 01252 834932

To read more about video conferencing why not read our post 'How to make your video conferencing work'

How to make your video conferencing work

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The death of Blockbuster video was predictable. Netflix came along and did video rental better. Along with Amazon and iTunes, Netflix is now a regular way for TV audiences to watch their favourite shows and films. Nowadays more than 80% of the adult population stream TV and films at least once per week.  

Between them, consumers have invested £ millions to upgrade the speed of their internet connection, home cinema displays, and surround-sound systems to enjoy the ultimate movie experience. If the quality is poor we know its because either our connection or our equipment is flawed in some way.

This behaviour is perfectly normal but does not always permeate to video conferencing. There is a tendency when experiencing a poor quality video call to blame the video conferencing device or the whole concept of video communications. To help you overcome this in your business we have identified the best ways to ensure a great experience when you use video conferencing.

Network

The more video systems that you deploy, the greater the potential impact on your network. Good bandwidth more affordable now but you must ensure you have reserved some of that bandwidth for your video conferencing calls.

Sometimes a video call will not connect properly. It is fairly common for one end to be able to see and hear their video counterparts whilst the other end cannot. The call is connected but video and audio only seem to be going one way. This can be caused by your firewall regarding incoming video and audio as a security risk. A good quality border controller should help you overcome this problem without compromising your network security.

If you are concerned at the impact on your network, you can run a network readiness assessment. This will help you identify any potential network issues before deployment.

Choosing the Right Systems

The range of video conferencing systems available can make this difficult. I doubt your users would be disappointed by the performance of any of those made by market-leading manufacturers (if deployed correctly). Make sure you choose the right system for the room. If you have a very small meeting room, a good quality USB camera may be good enough. Many vendors offer “huddle” room systems, which are appropriately cost-effective to justify populating small meeting rooms with video conferencing.  

Audio

For larger rooms acoustics can be a problem. You will need to think about quantity and positioning of microphones. Fortunately, most leading vendors offer white-noise reduction, echo cancellation and auto-gain (to enhance the mic pick-up for those sat further away) as standard. However large room acoustics is a specialist area, so consult with a reputable Audio Visual Integrator to ensure you get the best experience.

Cameras

One or two PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera will work well for most meeting rooms. These can be set with presets to ensure the camera is trained on the person speaking. Some vendors offer voice-tracking solutions, which means the camera will automatically find the person/ people speaking and zoom in on them. No messing with controls means more seamless meetings, which I think is a good thing.

Is Your Software Up-to-date?

Manufacturers are always working to get the best out of video conferencing systems by offering software upgrades. This will usually improve the video conferencing experience. However, if you are running different software versions on different systems, you can experience quality issues. Talk to your provider about what they can do to update all of your VC systems together in a timely fashion. My tip is to wait a few weeks before deploying new versions of software across your estate. This will mean manufacturers will have worked out any kinks in newly-released software so you don’t discover them.

Audio Visual Equipment

Video Conferencing manufacturers can offer up-to 4K video resolution and hi-fidelity audio performance beyond the range that humans can discern. You should choose AV equipment to match. The latest LED/ LCD and speakers will help you experience this quality. You don’t necessarily have to raid your piggy bank but you will need to choose the right size and quantity of displays, appropriate speaker, and microphones and positioning for each. You may also wish to offer a more accessible control system than the remote controls supplied with most room video conferencing system. A reputable AV integrator or IT supplier will be able to advise you here.

Companies usually choose to deploy video conferencing because they want to achieve greater productivity for their business whilst saving money; a great quality deployment will pay for itself. Recent technology advances mean that this experience is now more affordable than ever. If you plan to replace or newly deploy video conferencing in your business, why not speak to us? Call us on  01252 834 932, or take a look at the 5 things you should do before deploying video conferencing.

Product Showcase - Cisco Spark board

Cisco Spark Meetings

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With Cisco Spark, Spark Board and now the Spark Room Kit Series, Cisco has established a new and comprehensive portfolio of simpler, smarter, and more practical solutions. The combination of products and software connects the virtual and physical meeting room, creating a meeting place where the collaboration continues even after the meeting has ended.

The Cisco Spark app is your passport to being anywhere in the world instantly. Start a meeting with your smartphone, desk, room system, or Cisco Spark Board.

Cisco Spark Board for team collaboration

Cisco Spark Board for team collaboration

Team Collaboration
The 55” Cisco Spark Board offers a digital whiteboard, high-quality video conferencing/audio conferencing and wireless content sharing – everything you need for team collaboration. It’s a complete cloud-based collaboration solution for the meeting room. Additionally, you can also use the Cisco Spark app to connect to your teams outside the physical room, allowing virtual participants to connect to the meeting with the device of their choice.

Desktop video conferencing

Desktop video conferencing

Cisco DX Series extends video to the desktop, enabling face-to-face communication and content sharing from your desk. Work with anyone, anywhere in the world. See and hear each other as if you are in the same room, with the DX Series for your desktop.
Simplify your workday, use apps, and form better relationships with the people you work with, wherever they are. It’s high-definition collaboration fit for executives but affordably priced for everyone in the organisation.


 Cisco DX Series Overview
 Cisco Endpoint Product Matrix

Room-based video conferencing

Room-based video conferencing

Building Collaborative Workspaces
You can transform your meeting room into a multipurpose space, turning any conference room into a video collaboration hub – allowing teams, customers, partners, and suppliers to work together face-to-face anytime, anywhere. 
Find a personalised video solution to create your ideal meeting room experience – convert meeting rooms into flexible workspaces built for collaboration.


Best Practices For Creating Effective Video-Enabled Rooms
 
Immersive Collaboration
Experience immersive video, audio and collaboration functionality combined for the most vivid immersive collaboration experience available today. The Cisco TelePresence IX5000 Series is the industry’s first H.265 triple-screen product. It’s quicker than ever to install and uses half the power and bandwidth of legacy telepresence systems for better total cost ownership and faster deployment.

With Cisco Meeting Server as part of your video conferencing infrastructure, you can make it easier to link up and communicate when you want, where you want and from any device. Conference participants can decide if they prefer to join from a standards-based video conferencing system, a Skype for Business client, directly in the browser or an audio-only connection. Instant messaging and document sharing is also supported.
 

Getting Started with Cisco Spark
Combining tools like video meetings, messaging, file-sharing and whiteboarding, Cisco Spark allows teams to create, share, and do, whether they are together or apart.

For more information or a product demonstration, contact us today! 01252 834 932 or fill in our request information form below. 

Imagine sitting in a travel agent whilst the sea laps at your feet!

Recently I spoke with a Regional Manager of a well known and respected high-street store. She explained to me that she had overseen a huge growth in sales in one of their new stores in Berkshire. When I asked her how she had done this she explained; “It was very simple; I taught the sales team to sell”

She went on to explain that the store had plenty of visitors to their store, but they had been damaged by shoppers “show-rooming” (store visitors would seek advice and look at or test products, leaving empty-handed to buy online later).

This got me thinking; I assumed that online shopping was for convenience; getting my clothes, consumer electronics and even pet food delivered to my door is easier than going to the shops. However, judging by this experience; perhaps that’s not what we consumers really want. Maybe we still like to visit stores.

There is evidence to back this up:

  • Online shopping is growing (online retail sales have increased 14% y/y), but this growth is slower than had been predicted.
  • According to surveys conducted in 2017, Millennials still like the experience of shopping in the high-street.
  •  Millennials will consistently visit shops where their loyalty will offer them discounts or improved deals.
  • Previously “online only” brands such as Amazon are now opening high-street outlets.

Sales from high-street shops account for the largest proportion of all retail sales by far (83%). The smart organizations are those that accept the trend towards online shopping and use this to help customers transition from their device to their store.

For this to happen, there needs to be a consistency in a users online and offline (in-store) experience. Clients need to be able to experience brand familiarity, be immersed in a lifestyle (aspirational content), allowed to interact with products; designing their appearance or perhaps choosing colour combinations.

To be successful on the high street, retail businesses should use the great online content that they are now creating and bring it to their stores. This gives the shopper the feeling of being wrapped in a buying experience and blurs the line between buying online or offline. One method that has proven extremely effective is to use a digital canvas; a large, high-resolution digital display.

Imagine sitting in a travel agent whilst planes buzz quietly overhead and the sea laps at your feet on seamless displays; or trying clothes in a changing room whilst other similar clothing options are offered to you.

A digital canvas can help a business create this kind of in-store experience. LED technology now allows businesses to flexibly design their customers’ digital surroundings as they enter or browse around the shop. Screen size and shape is highly customizable, so it’s the content that drives the shape and size of the display, not the other way around.

Smaller independent shops can use lower-cost LCD displays to create a similar experience for their visitors.

High-street shopping has continually changed to keep pace with how we consumers like to shop and to stay ahead of the competition. Today’s competition is not online, it is still other similar businesses. Those that offer the better digital experience are likely to be those that are most successful.

Darren Barton-Taylor – Sales Director – Focus 21 Visual Communications

If you would like to know more about how to create a digital canvas for your business, please get in touch 01252 834 932 

Putting on the perfect event is about creating the right experience for the client and their visitors be it a wedding, corporate event or conference.

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With events especially something like a wedding or awards party you only get one chance, so it must impress. Focus 21 Audio Visual Communications are award-winning experts in AV, we have 20 years of experience in creating memorable event for our clients. 

Here are our 5 tips for getting the most of your AV during that all-important event.

1. Get the most from your AV supplier

It’s important to make the most of your AV supplier and discover the range of services they can offer. At Focus 21, we offer support for your event from start to finish, giving you advice, assistance and a dedicated service to ensure your show runs smoothly.

Our team of industry qualified technicians ensure that the design spec meets your requirements, and will spend time analysing your brief to ensure our recommendations not only meet your needs but exceed your expectations. You will be assigned a dedicated Account Manager who will be your main port of call before, after and during the show to help you to achieve the best results possible.

2. Talk to us as early as possible

The audio and visual for all events is key to ensuring customer satisfaction and by seeking our expert advice as early as you can makes sure that your AV is given the gravity it deserves, we work with designers and stand builders to plan out the required AV and ensure it offers impact while blending with the design to provide the optimum experience.

We can also help by checking everything at the venue will support your requirements from checking the power supply is sufficient to ensuring the space can accommodate your plans.

3. Review the content

Content is king as they say! it’s very important that you make sure your content is created in the right format, We can edit and adjust your content to ensure it is fit-for-purpose, so you do not need to make any changes at the last minute and you achieve the polished effect you desire, and your client deserves.

4. Communicate with your AV supplier

We have spent over 20 years knowing everything there is to know about AV and never assume anything. We understand that AV can be confusing, which is why we work to make sure that you understand every aspect of your AV hire and that you feel confident that we won’t let you down.

5. Make the most of onsite help

We offer dedicated onsite technicians and AV experts as part of your AV hire package and don’t charge you extra for this! our onsite teams ensure your display will be set up and monitored without any issues, so you can focus on everything else.

Let us help with your next event

We have 20 years of experience working in the AV and event technology industry. Based on your needs, we can put together a detailed design for your next event and bring it to life for you. Contact our specialist events team to discuss how Focus 21 can support you.

 

Product showcase - Shure MXA910 Ceiling Array

The Shure Microflex® Advance™ Ceiling Array is a premium networked array microphone that captures best-in-class audio in varying AV Conferencing environments including boardrooms, huddle rooms, and multi-purpose spaces. Revolutionary technology from the Shure DSP Utilities includes Steerable Coverage™, utilizing up to eight beams to capture participant audio from overhead.

Browser-based control software provides an intuitive user interface for microphone attributes including lobe configuration, automatic mix settings, and pre-set templates. Integrates seamlessly with Dante™ Networked Audio, and third-party pre-set controllers including Crestron and AMX, delivering a high-quality AV Conferencing experience and an aesthetically pleasing and productive meeting space that appeals equally to integrators, consultants, and anyone using the ceiling array in their workday meeting spaces.

Designer System Configuration Software allows system integrators to configure multiple virtual MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphones in one tool. Due to the microphone nodes inside the unit being directional you can point them at certain positions in the room and can arrange the pickup lobes for all of the MXA910s over an imported room diagram to ensure precise coverage. Settings can be saved and then imported to each physical MXA910 on site.

We used the Shure MXA910 in our installation for Exponent Private Equity to read the full case study click here

 

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Projects Director Justin Paveley shortlisted for the 'Outstanding Achievement in AV' award for the AVNews awards 2018

Focus 21 Visual Communications are proud to be able to announce that our Projects Director Justin Paveley has been shortlisted for the 'Outstanding Achievement in AV' award at this year’s AV News Awards. This is a prestigious award given to those who have shown a commitment to supporting the industry and those within it. Justin has shown himself to be a worthy finalist and we are very proud to have him as an integral part of our team.

The winner will be announced at the awards breakfast on the 6th of February during this years ISE event in Amsterdam.

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AV News announces Focus 21 as Project of the year finalists

AV News, have announced the finalists for the Project of the year - Commercial, and we are thrilled to be among those shortlisted for our project for Bayer UK.

The Bayer project was a triumph thanks to the hard work of our team who worked to complete it, in a short time scale and to the Bayer team led by Glynn Seymour and Mix Consultancy who had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve with this project.

To read more about the installation or our on-going services check the links below

Bayer Case Study

Meet Rupert Charles

The winners will be revealed at the 2018 AV News awards on the 6th of February during ISE 2018. Wish us luck!

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5 Things to consider before starting your office renovation

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The old office is due for a renovation and the company has given you the task of making the necessary changes, but where do you start? Here are our 5 top tips for getting the most out of your office renovation.

1. Purpose of the renovation: The first thing you need to understand is the purpose of the renovation? are you simply looking to improve the ambiance of the environment, create more space or increase the productivity of the employees? The purpose will then dictate where the biggest portion of the budget should be placed, and what elements are most important.

2. Set up a flexible budget: Before renovating your office, you need to define a reasonable budget, to do this, list the things that will make your business more profitable. For example, you need to figure out whether you need extra space to accommodate more workstations or extra meeting room spaces.

3. Hiring the right people: When planning office renovation, always hire an architect, interior designer or office fit-out company who can provide examples of work that are similar to the renovation work you are planning, and then instruct an Audio-Visual consultant or integrator to work with them. The contractors will evaluate your space, discuss your requirements and give you a quotation based on your preferences. Involving an Audio-Visual integrator or consultant from the start of the project will provide a cost-benefit and ensure better aesthetics for the final look of the space. When speaking to your team ensure that you are clear on both the budget and your must have features.

4. Consider functionality and comfort: When it comes to renovating an office space, functionality, comfort, and style are important. Your office layout, furniture and equipment all should align with the image of your company. In addition to that, your employees should also feel comfortable while working in that environment, and be comfortable using any IT/Audio Visual equipment provided.

5. Plan for the future: When considering office/workspace renovation, it is important to consider your future requirements. Look for a layout and design that not only meets the present requirements but will accommodate a growing workforce and potential changes in how people will work in the future. Consider providing infrastructure for future upgrades or deployment of technology to enhance or compliment areas of expansion.

 

 

Focus 21 shortlisted for the AV Technology Europe 2018 Awards

AV Technology Europe 2018, has announced the finalists for the Best Large-Scale AV Project or Event and Focus 21 Visual Communications are among those shortlisted for our project for Bayer UK.

Working with Bayer’s team led by Glynn Seymour and Mix Consultancy, during this installation was a real pleasure and to be shortlisted for this award is the icing on the cake.

To read more about the installation or our on-going services check the links below

Bayer case study

Meet Rupert Charles

The winners will be revealed at the 2018 AV Technology Awards on the 7th of February during ISE 2018. Wish us luck!

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Product showcase - LG Ultra HD 86UH5C

The 86 inch Ultra HD large display, UH5C Series supports Ultra HD content as well as a divided content layout to show up to 4 split images on one screen. Its benefit enables you to create various formats of content to deliver a commercial message effectively. Also, it is enhanced in content management. With LG SuperSign EZ providing basic content templates, you can create and edit content simply and quickly on your mobile device or signage display.

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Supporting the Client User Base - are you doing it correctly?

How would you define a successful AV deployment? Many professionals would provide different answers to this question

Signed off and invoiced? Successful.

Within budget? Successful.

Consultant brief achieved and implemented within the timeframe? Successful.

These are often the boundaries within which a modern AV integration project exists – Purchase Order through to project sign off – and it’s the milestones and targets between these points, and costings and time frames that are set alongside them, that we define our successes upon. However, an end user may view things entirely differently.

Post-project implementation, an AV integrator may offer the client a range of service products that promise a level of support that meets their business needs. These products will guarantee fast response callouts, quick access to technical support, and product replacement and repair times that proffer a minimum impact on business from product failure. For many clients, this level of service is a must-have, given the reliance on technology that users now have to perform their tasks effectively and collaborate productively.

But does any of the above, executed perfectly, mean an end user will get the most benefit from new technology? The answer is obviously, no. A successful AV deployment could equally be judged upon the improved or sustained productivity of the end user. Following project implementation, it is just as important to make the client aware that you are there when things are going well, not just when things are going wrong. Maximum ROI means getting the most use out of the thing you have bought, so making sure the end users have all the support they need in getting to know the technology and applying it directly to their tasks is the final and arguably most important task for an AV integrator.

So, how would you NOW define a successful AV deployment?

If your client can see the positive impact of their investment as soon as possible, and support the use of their new technology across their teams internally, then surely this is what you would consider to be a successful deployment?

Focus 21’s FirstQ Support Program is implemented with this in mind. Our clients get a dedicated contact who’s role it is to support the client in training and usage of their AV deployment for the first quarter of use directly after sign off. This happens both in line with a service contract that has been agreed or of course without. It is part of the product. We see it as our duty to care for our clients in this way.

If you would like more information about the Focus 21 FirstQ Support Program, or indeed information relating to any part of the Focus 21 Installation Process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Focus 21 shortlisted for two InAVation Awards 2018

The finalists in the Project and the Avixa standards categories for the 2018 InAVation Awards have been announced after tough deliberations over more than 300 entries! and Focus 21 Visual Communications are among those shortlisted for both awards for our project for Bayer UK.

Being shortlisted for these awards has topped a fantastic year for us and we are truly grateful to our client Bayer UK for allowing us to enter the awards with their project and for choosing us as their installation partner. The relationship we have with Bayer has gone from strength to strength since completing this impressive install at their UK offices at Readings Green Park and it is a pleasure to be able to continue working with them through our ongoing service support.

To read more about the installation or our on-going services check the links below

Meet Rupert Charles

The winners will be revealed at the 2018 InAVation Awards ceremony on February 6, 2018 in Amsterdam during the ISE show. Wish us luck!

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When Architects and Integrators come together

In the past it was often the case that the audio-visual integrator was called in after the architect had completed their designs and quite often well after the build was completed, But the world has moved on in the last 10 years and organizations are now realising that the audio-visual technology is no longer a secondary consideration in the planning of a new office/workspace but actual as important as the building itself.

With Millennials and generation Z now becoming the largest demographics in the workplace it is easy to see why technology that supports collaboration and work flexibility has become so important. 

Organisations have moved on from simple presentations and email communications, and making a phone call is almost considered archaic! Video, instant messaging and group collaboration tools such as interactive touchscreens are now common place in all corporate offices. The integration of these solutions is now taking centre stage in the modern workspace, these products need to sit comfortably into the architecture of the building and be intuitive enough for the employee to feel comfortable using them.

AV integrators and AV consultants are now working closely with architects to successfully incorporate technology seamlessly into physical working environments. The benefits of these collaborations to the end-user are clear and the final outcome creates a user experience far more streamlined then previously experienced.

However, for these collaborations to work effectively the AV integrators or consultants need to be involved in the early stages of the project planning and the end client must have an idea of what their overall goal is! What are they hoping to achieve with the technology, are they looking to increase productivity? Attract younger talent to the organisation?

When an AV integrator or consultant view a project brief they will be looking for ways to seamless control devices, how equipment can be concealed so as not to disrupt the aesthetic qualities of the space, what technology will provide the client with the best chance to reach their chosen goals and how each piece of the technology would be used by the employees. The AV integrator or consultant will if involved from the beginning of a project be able to ensure that the space is fitted out with the proper equipment connections and placements built into the design.

Cost benefits

Often projects can be completed in far less time when the AV integrator/Consultant is involved from the offset, eliminating costly workarounds by ensuring wiring and connections are in the correct place before the AV team turn up to install, they can also ensure that the technology being specified will work in the spaces provided, for example ensuring that alcoves for screens are correct or that racks are not going to block exits.

AV Integrators and consultants, in addition to working with the client & architect they also have relationships with 3rd party trades and consultants regarding seamlessly integrating the AV solutions during the construction or fit-out phase and can also gain preferential pricing from suppliers of audio-visual equipment.

Aesthetic benefits

Collaborating from the beginning of a project ensures that the functionality of the technology and the space in the building is correct but also ensures that the architect's vision for each area is upheld. The overall look and usability will be stronger, and the space will benefit from a more professional finish.

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Focus 21's FirstQ gives customers a helping hand

The FirstQ support program is a unique initiative from Focus 21, Which has been around officially for 12 years. FirstQ provides our customers with a more personal and attentive level of support during the first period of beneficial use after project completion. Most of our installations are wide-ranging, large-scale integrations dealing with multiple types of technology provided by many different suppliers and manufacturers. These installations are often to be used by hundreds of staff in new office deployments right from the get-go, and taking ownership of this equipment can often be somewhat overwhelming in terms of making sure each user gets the full benefit of new technology.

As FirstQ supervisor, it is my responsibility to help the client manage user training and support, technical support, proactive maintenance and understanding the system itself. The end result is that the AV/IT staff spend more time dealing with bolstering their end user’s productivity rather than troubleshooting, and the business as a whole sees the benefit of happy and productive staff. It is more than just a technical support program, the FirstQ supervisor is not just there when and if anything goes wrong, but there when things are going well also, to help the client feel continually comfortable with the new level of technology in their possession.
— Matt Oliver - FirstQ Supervisor

Focus 21 is proud to represent and work for a whole number of clients who will benefit from this level of industry-leading service and feel that our commitment to training of our own start has helped ensure we can offer our clients the best possible support, Focus 21 are currently the largest holder of CTS qualifications in the country with over 58% of our technical team with CTS or Higher.

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Matt Oliver CTS-I

FirstQ Superior 

Matt is a former BAE Systems engineering apprentice who values the importance of engineering accuracy. Matt’s first venture in AV was a staging & test engineer for a digital cinema company, supporting a team of installation engineers upgrading cinemas from archaic 35mm projection technology to modern 2K DLP projectors. Matt has had many roles within AV engineering in both commercial and residential sectors, and has extensive experience as a senior lead installation engineer and lead commissioning engineer. From there, Matt moved into AV design engineering and has spent a large amount of his recent career dealing with detailed customer briefs, requests, and technical issues, turning them into solutions and recommendations. Matt has always thrived in roles that have close client contact, as they are filled with opportunity to impress, and is excited to represent a company as renowned as Focus21.    

Product showcase - Biamp Tesira

Tesira is the world's only integrated, networked AV processing and distribution platform

As Biamp’s flagship audio and video platform, Tesira is a true Networked Media System and the first truly scalable media system for digital audio and video networking using AVB/TSN. Tesira SERVER and SERVER-IO are configurable audio servers. TesiraFORTÉ products are fixed audio servers available in a number of different models optimized for specific applications. Rounding out the Tesira platform are the TesiraLUX fixed video servers for transmitting 4K60 video over your network. All Tesira products can be configured and managed using Tesira software, helping create dynamic, efficient AV systems.