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.

Matt Oliver - FirstQ Supervisor

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Matt Oliver

FirstQ Supervisor

Focus 21 welcomes Matt Oliver to the team as FirstQ Supervisor

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.    

Lara Vane - Business Development Manager

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Lara Vane  

Lara Vane – Service Business Development Manager

Lara has been with Focus 21 since January 2014, Starting as a contract administrator. Her dedication and attention to detail have seen her progress through the company, we are pleased to announce Lara’s promotion to Service Business Development Manager.

Lara’s role involves identify potential future customers for Focus 21 and finding ways to engage with new clients to showcase our offerings. 

I’m coming up to 4 years at Focus 21 and I am really happy with the progress I have made, I started off as a contracts administrator unaware of AV and how it impacts pretty much everything. Focus 21 have given me the tools and support to progress. I am proud to be a woman in AV and proud to work for Focus 21
— Lare Vane - Service Business Development Manager

#TBT - A decade of interactive kiosks

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#TBT

A Decade of Interactive Kiosks

Here’s a bit of nostalgia for you, I had an excerpt from an issue of AV News forwarded to me today from February 2007 relating to Interactive Kiosks and was asked for my take on it, and how things have lived up to the anticipation of such devices.

I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is that this was only 10 years ago … I say only, when it comes to technology, that has to be the equivalent of 10 generations according to Apple – who released the original iPhone just four months after the publication.

So, what does it say and look like? Well it’s opposite in all of its retro glory for you to take a look at if you so wish – I had a chuckle within the first few paragraphs so it’s well worth a read - how unimaginative we were.

We all knew that Interactive would become a staple of everyday life the second we got our hands on that first generation of smart phone. All that power in the palm of our hands in a sleek, cool, trend setting device. The internet at the drop of a hat, all of our music available from a few taps of that little screen, and we could also make calls to people – back in a time when people spoke to each other rather than rely on E-Mail and messaging apps as the primary for communication.

BUT….and this is a big but... The interactive kiosks mentioned in this article were the start of it all. The start of people interacting with machines on a daily basis, the start of people being able to effortlessly procure their own information, and the start of a revolution in service and experience.

I think the only thing that might be wrong, is how underestimated the volumes in which the interactive kiosk market would be adopted. Citing the article, Michael Burns, an analyst from Frost and Sullivan, ‘believed’ that it was a billion-dollar market worldwide. With an estimated ‘high’ growth rate of between 18 and 23%.

Fast forward a whole decade and here we are, and who would have thought that the CAGR would actually be more like 40%, with Research and Markets forecasting a $30.5bn market up to 2023.

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The above graph from Markets and Research, you can see that over the next 5 years, adoption is set to more than double as people become more and more confident in the technology and its uses. But on top of this, the way that kiosks are used will evolve also,

So, what’s to come with Interactive Kiosks over the coming years… they are only going to get smarter I’m afraid. Utilising our mobile devices which, 9 times out of 10, are somewhere on our person, the content will get more and more personalised. Using the phone to identify the user and bring the ‘people who were interested in this, were also interested in’ without having to even interact.

Utilising NFC, contactless authentication, will also become a major part of a kiosk’s design – Barclays Bank have recently rolled out to some of their branches ATM’s that you don’t even need to put your PIN into to withdraw cash.

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Utilising NFC, contactless authentication, will also become a major part of a kiosk’s design – Barclays Bank have recently rolled out to some of their branches ATM’s that you don’t even need to put your PIN into to withdraw cash.

In short, we seem to be a society that would rather interact with a screen than a human being. Our understanding of technology, in that it does exactly what you tell it, and very rarely makes mistakes makes it wholly understandable that this is a $30bn market.

We’re embracing technology, being in my mid-thirties I had to adapt to the technology as it came out, transforming life as I knew it. Generation Z however, they were born into it – the technology is normal and integrated into everyday life.

I personally think it’s exciting, and can’t wait to see the next evolution of the uses of interactive Kiosks and how they will only get smarter and smarter as the human need for information and service in a calculated and concise manner increases.

Dave Desalle -  National Business Development Manager at Focus 21 Visual Communications

 

ISE Europe 2018 - Best practice for the perfect project

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Justin Paveley

Presentation - Best practice for the perfect project.

ISE Europe 2018

 

In today's commercial AV projects there are high-level project management principles and best practices that if used correctly can be the key to a successful project. During this presentation, you will learn to plan, execute and complete an AV project successfully. Also, understand the typical AV industry project life cycle(s) and project stakeholders. Determine requirements and validate assumptions, identify the important project metrics to be captured, measured and analyzed within the typical AV industry methodology.

Justin Paveley, is one of only a handful of people in Europe that hold Avixa's elite Triple Certification, demonstrating all-round excellence in design and installation. As part of the management team here at Focus 21, Justin has led the business's push to become the first APEx accredited integrator in Europe. Focus 21 has been successfully re-certified for three years concurrently. This incredible achievement has seen Justin consistently improve the Avixa accreditation standards within the company and ensure that all elements of projects comply with these standards as one of only a few companies in Europe that share this exclusive accreditation, Justin was recently crowned Avixa's European CTS holder 2017 for his leadership and his passion for education. With over 17 years experience he has led his team deploying some of the most prestigious projects in Europe with measured success.

Room 13-N110 

Wednesday 7th February 14.00-14.20

To find out more visit https://www.iseurope.org/#ticketshop-home

Product showcase - DigiLED FLEX

Create something different

An extremely powerful communication tool, LED screen technology increases fan engagement at stadiums and live music events, promotes collaboration in classrooms, as well as informing and enticing passers-by in retail and corporate settings.

Responsible for some of the world’s most recognisable displays, digiLED have unrivalled expertise and experience in the giant screen industry, culminating in the production of the most innovative, high-quality systems around. Our knowledgeable and dedicated technical team are responsible for the planning and monitoring of component production to deliver original LED screen systems, designed for ultimate performance in often demanding, high-use environments.

The versatile digiLED newFLEX4 LED screen system was selected for the Focus 21,  Cboe Global Markets installation. The ticker style screen installed runs seamlessly around a 90-degree corner with a height of 288mm and a combined width of 7.776m. newFLEX has superb flexibility in offering convex and concave curving, plus straight configurations, meaning that there are limitless creative possibilities ensuring that all ingenious design concepts can be achieved. The display features fantastic blacks for high contrast and unbelievably wide viewing angles of 170˚. It is lightweight in structure and complete with magnetic fixings for simple installation. In addition to the 4mm pixel pitch used in the Cboe project, the newFLEX range also has 5mm and 6mm pixel pitch options available for longer viewing distances. For more information about the digiLED newFLEX range, and the rest of their award-winning product line-up, visit www.digiLED.com today.

For more information or to arrange a demonstration please speak to your Focus 21 account manager.

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Cboe Global Markets 

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NewFLEX4 LED 

Philip Law joins Focus 21 to head up a new department to focus on on-site managed services.

We are pleased to announce that Philip Law has joined the firm to further develop our growing portfolio of on-site managed services clients. Philip Law comes with a wealth of experience within the AV industry, having spent the last 5 years at AVMI where Philip was instrumental in managing numerous large corporate accounts.

Philip joins Focus 21 as the Head of Managed Services to continue our desire to provide best in class onsite managed services to our customers within the UK. Philip comments “I am excited to start a new challenge within Focus 21 and look forward to working with the team to further develop their already high-quality service business. I am fortunate to be joining such a respected company that prides itself on best in class service.”

Jim Harwood, Managing Director said “Philip’s wealth of experience and industry knowledge has already made him a key addition to the Focus 21 family. We view his appointment as a sign of our commitment to being the leading company in our industry. The increasing demand from our customers led us to look for someone to lead our managed services division. I am confident that Philip will play a key role in providing and implementing high quality solutions for our current and future clients. Managed on-site services is a key growth area for our business as our clients continue to see the value of skilled team members being based onsite to support their business.”

Philip Law

Philip Law

Justin Paveley - Wins CTS Holder of the year 2017!

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We are extremely proud of Justin Paveley CTS-D, CTS-I for winning European CTS Holder of the year 2017 at the AV Awards on the 29th of September 2017. 

Hear what Justin had to say about winning the award!

Before starting in the AV industry, I was a soldier in the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment. Adjusting to life outside of the army is not easy; I was used to my life being very structured and suddenly I was going it alone with no obvious career prospects.  Then a close friend offered me a lifeline; a job in the audio visual industry! It was my only option at the time but I chose to embrace the opportunity, applying the discipline from my army days to deliver excellent AV services to our clients.

Many companies will only employ those with industry experience. Focus 21 take a different view; they believe that talented people come from all backgrounds. This award recognizes Focus 21’s emphasis on education and career growth for dedicated people.

It’s important that Focus 21 delivers the highest possible standards to its customers and industry accreditations like Infocomm CTS allows us to do this. 

Focus 21 has created a platform to inspire talented people to do great things and I hope, by winning this the CTS holder of the year 2017,  I can demonstrate what’s possible for those looking for an opportunity in a great industry, that I’m so glad I fell into.

 

Ziggy Day becomes 11th of Focus 21 team to achieve InfoComm CTS-I accreditation

Ziggy Day is the latest member of the Focus 21 team to pass the InfoComm CTS-I accreditation, this comes just 9 months after passing his first CTS qualification. The achievement makes him the 11th member of the team to achieve CTS-I, and Focus 21 now has 39% of the UK & Ireland CTS-I holders in its workforce.

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Ziggy, Projects Installation Supervisor comments;

‘The InfoComm CTS exams have played an integral part in the development of my career. It has prepared me for challenges that are faced onsite and allowed me to have a more thorough understanding of AV system processes. Its key for me in my leadership role to demonstrate and follow these industry leading processes and having these qualifications gives us all a framework to work within. I will now be focusing on preparing for CTS-D exam.’

Justin Paveley, Projects Director says;

“Having another double CTS holder on the team is a great achievement for Focus 21 and testament to the hard work put in by the team in working towards being the most qualified in the industry. As a team we have more CTS-I qualified members than any other company which gives our clients the peace of mind that they have a trained team working to industry standards and best practices on their projects.”

Dave Desalle joins Focus 21 as Business Development Manager

We are pleased to welcome Dave Desalle to the Focus 21 team as Business Development Manager. Dave previously worked at Promultis as UK Development Manager, where he gained experience working with prestigious retail businesses to integrate interactive hardware and software devices for complete solutions across mixed verticals and project sizes.

Dave explains;

“I’m always searching for new technologies that will revolutionise business and help end users, so my drive will be to make Focus 21 as well known for digital signage as it is in corporate AV systems.” 

The new role reinforces our recent diversification putting more emphasis on the retail, leisure and hospitality markets with particular focus on emerging technologies.

Darren Barton Taylor, Head of Business Development at Focus 21 explains;

“Dave joins the team at an integral time for the company as we expand our work within digital signage and retail applications. His specialist knowledge in experiential and interactive retailing makes him a great resource for our clients. We have some exciting projects in the pipeline that will be coming to fruition in winter 2017”

Dave Desalle

Dave Desalle

Adam Gathercole announced as Rising Star at the Install Awards

The Install Awards brought fantastic news for the Focus 21 team, with Adam Gathercole being awarded the Rising Star Award. 

Adam began his career at Focus 21 as an AV Testing and Commissioning Engineer, after completing our four-year electrical installation apprenticeship. Beginning his role focusing on the installation of cables and testing domestic and industrial installations, he is now responsible for building rack based systems and the testing and commissioning of AV technology.

Adam comments;

“It’s really overwhelming to hear I won the award; it’s a big achievement for me. I’m really thankful to the Focus 21 team, as they have been extremely supportive throughout my learning process and presented opportunities to me in the AV industry that I may not have otherwise known about. I’m looking forward to continuing to work on the phenomenal projects and keep expanding my knowledge” 


In the limited time with the company, Adam has also gained his InfoComm CTS and Level One QSC Q-SYS AV DSP qualifications as well as completing his Biamp TesiraFORTE training course. 

Jim Harwood, Managing Director at Focus 21, explains:

“Adam is quietly confident, with a thorough and conscientious approach to his work that is always completed to the highest standards. He works in one of the most time critical parts of the business, constantly under pressure to work quickly and effectively to maximise the throughput. It’s a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone a youngster who’s new to the industry, but you’d never know it: he absorbs it extremely well.”

Ashley Rudd joins Focus 21

Ashley Rudd

Ashley Rudd

Industry expert Ashley Rudd has joined the Focus 21 team as a Senior Account Manager, to look after a portfolio of our key corporate clients, bringing almost 20 years experience to the new role. 
Ashley whose experience includes senior positions in integration, distribution and manufacture in the industry is one of a number of new hires as we look to expand our expertise into new verticals and clients.  


Ashley explains;
“Focus 21 is the best engineering company out. Everything that we work on is great quality and each job is meticulously delivered for the client. We have a great reputation and long term relationships with clients and I’m looking forward to working with some of them in my new role, working across different environments with a variety of people.”


Darren Barton Taylor, Sales Director at Focus 21 explains;
“Ashley has a great set of complimentary experience and skills from his time at Extron and integration businesses. It’s clear that he gets a buzz from the finished solution and enjoys the complexity of some of the projects at Focus 21, which will make him a great addition to our growing team.”


Ashley’s role at Focus 21 will be as a Senior Account Manager for corporate accounts. Previous roles as Education Account Manager at Extron and Steljes as Product Manager gives him experience taking the product from inception to delivery and planning its route to market. Integration roles have seen him working with brands including Thomas Cook, BMW, Mini and Unipart. 
 

Luke Moreland Passes the Infocomm AV Technologist Exam

We are really pleased to announce Luke Moreland as the latest member of the Focus 21 team to pass the Infocomm AV Technologist exam. 

Luke Moreland

Luke Moreland


The award has helped support his role as a CAD Engineer, Luke comments:
“When I joined Focus 21 a year ago, my knowledge of AV was limited. The exam has taught me the fundamental principles of how AV systems work, throw distances and sightlines. I have learnt a huge amount over the past year and the plan is to go forward into the CTS exams next to keep on learning.”


Justin Paveley, Projects Director, comments:


“Having joined the team in March 2016, Luke has shown determination in growing his AV knowledge. Infocomm is a great organisation – new education is coming through all the time and we will continue to be committed to the whole team developing their skills through its accreditation program.”
 

Insights from RDSE from the Focus 21 team

Last week was a great one for events and networking with suppliers and seeking our inspiration from design agencies and new technologies. Big thanks to Exertis for the invitation to their showcase and we can highly recommend Retail Digital Signage Expo which next year will be double its size, taking over the National Hall at Olympia, a huge testament to the development of digital within the retail industry at the moment. 
Fine pitch LED at the forefront of new displays
A few manufacturers were out in force with high pixel pitch LED on display, all of which looked great quality. In recent months we have installed 3 statement LED displays for clients in a variety of resolutions and aspect ratios including the first 1.5mm Samsung LED Display. Their 2.6mm looked great at RDSE with what is one of our favourite tech adverts at the moment playing. The white content worked well and really showed how well the display stood up to solid colour content. 


Marble is on trend
A trend picked up from the RDE element of the show was the amount of marble being used in interior designs for retail in 2017. Digital signage can be seamlessly built into marble backdrops for a high-end feel, particularly popular with the beauty and perfume clients at the show. 


RFID is finding a place in customer insight
RFID applications were scattered throughout the show and we are seeing the use of these moving into customer insight. When activating RFID on specific items you are able to measure how much interest one product has over another, or the most eye catching locations for star products. These insights can then help the merchandising teams in retail to optimise both the placement of product but also the connection with digital signage. 


Retailers are looking to connect digital signage with social media
Social media and the display of integrated channels to connect the business with its online profile at the forefront of the agenda of many retailers we met. More than ever, the instore experience can drive users to the brand’s channels while in store through promotions, interactive signage and content which connects instore and online. This should be at the forefront of audio visual experience, particularly for brands immersed in the millennial market as a core audience. 


Get in touch to talk about your retail digital signage solutions with the Focus 21 team on sales@focus21.co.uk. 

A day in the life: Mark Lyes, Account Manager

How did you become an apprentice at Focus 21? What else did you consider doing at the time? Why AV?

At sixteen years old I had my heart set on being an Electrician, and was looking at apprenticeship opportunities with companies who could sponsor me to take the necessary course at Kingston College. Of all places, I heard from my Nan’s neighbour, who worked for Focus 21, that they regularly take on young people. He gave me a man called Nigel Warrilow’s number and I promptly gave him a call – not knowing he was the Financial Director at the time! We chatted for a bit before he invited me in for an interview. The rest, as they say, is history. 

How did your career progress from there?

I spent three and a half years as an AV apprentice, spending four days working at Focus 21 and one day at college. Most of my apprenticeship was spent building AV systems at head office, learning the trade and occasionally working on-site at installations. 

After gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience in the AV sector I decided to stay with Focus 21 once my studies were finished. From there I trained to become an AV installation engineer, specialising in installing equipment throughout the UK, including LFDs, projectors, mounts and everything in between.

After that I became a Service Engineer and spent the next three and a half years working my way up the ranks and responding to service call outs to client sites all across Europe. 

My next role, which I still hold, was that of Account Manager. Here I focus on key accounts in the financial, law and professional service sectors and draw on my experience and skills gained throughout my career to provide advice, system designs and AV, IPTV and video conferencing solutions on design and build projects throughout Europe.

What particular skills did you develop? What qualifications did you gain?

Alongside my apprenticeship I passed my InfoComms CTS qualification, which provided me with a thorough understanding of the industry and Focus 21’s place within it. It was a vital part of my education in AV that really helped my career progression. 

As a Service Engineer I also took several courses with our manufacturing partners, getting invaluable hands on experience with them and their various technologies, and building lasting relationships along the way.

You've done every type of job in the business - how does that help you now?

Having spent over a decade learning about manufacturer’s technologies, the AV industry as a whole, and working on the front line with clients, I’ve gathered tonnes of knowledge on the entire client installation process, from start to finish. This made the move to Account Manager a natural progression for me, allowing me to draw on my years of experience to work across the whole client project. 

What's your favourite thing about working at Focus 21?

Total comradery with everyone who works in the company – I’ve been around so long now I feel like part of the furniture!  It really does feel like a home from home. 

Your favourite project to be involved with so far?

My favourite project to date has to be our installation with London Stock Exchange. The whole project – the supply and integration of Scala servers and 508 Christies Microtiles – took place over eight weeks, from start to finish. 

Despite the small time frame we managed a successful installation within four weeks – just in time to be opened by George Osborne, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time. There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to spur you into action! 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on something exciting with a new client using AV over IP encoders and decoders. It’s a cutting edge project for a US-based financial company looking to open a London office as part of their global expansion. Watch this space!

What would be your advice to an apprentice starting out today?

Make sure you know what you want to achieve in your role; if you don’t have a clear-cut goal you can never measure how far you’ve come. 
 

Authorised reseller of Microsoft Surface Hub

We’re thrilled to announce that we have added Microsoft’s Surface Hub – one of the most exciting corporate tools on the market – to our portfolio. As an authorised reseller we will help businesses deploy Surface Hub into their workplaces for better collaboration and project working.

Surface Hub provides businesses with a complete, connected presentation device built for communication in shared working spaces. Designed with a simple easy-to-use Microsoft interface that will be familiar to users, the Surface Hub is immediately accessible, providing an engaging platform for teams to share and develop their ideas.

Working closely with Microsoft, Focus 21 is now trained to support customers to fully deploy Surface Hub, from project design through to installation and ongoing service.

Jim Harwood MD of Focus 21 comments:

“This achievement is proof of our commitment to providing customers with the latest and greatest products available to the market. Built specifically to enhance collaboration and interaction within a business, Surface Hub is the ultimate corporate tool for businesses on the Microsoft 365 environment. It’s Skype for Business experience combined with seamless sharing makes it a great experience for the user.”

Our Highlights from ISE2017

After a busy time back in the UK, we’re reflecting on ISE 2017 and its inspiration for innovations for collaborative workspaces, digital signage and auditoriums. Here are a few things that caught the eye of the Focus 21 team at the show:

One of the most impressive stands from a display point of view was LG. With their excellent OLED digital signage and B2B LCD solutions, LG’s displays were some of the most vibrant and attractive in the show from an architectural integration point of view, as well as functionality and content reproduction. LG’s 65-inch Dual-View Curved Tiling OLED signage was demonstrated to best effect and eight connected double-sided, flexible OLED panels in a ‘Twister’ formation. In case you didn’t catch it here’s the stand in full flow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRNUH7dynSk

Prysm’s Visual Workplace showed a powerful collaboration cloud for teams that work remotely. This immersive environment gives excellent data visualisation which is compatible with screens, video walls and devices, making each surface as easy to use as a tablet. This technology will be great for clients looking to visualise complicated data sets of high-resolution imagery and work on it simultaneously and is one of the best we’ve seen. http://www.prysm.com/solutions/prysm-visual-workplace/

As Crestron, partners we are always the party to their newest products and innovations. As a business, they never fail to be ahead of the curve for corporate solutions and the next generation DigitalMedia NVX Series was our favourite product from them in 2017. Taking network AV to the next level, DM NVX Series can transmit 4K60 4:4:4 HDR video with no latency, giving you an infinitely scalable software-defined matrix. http://www.crestron.com/microsites/digitalmedia-streaming-nvx/

Cabletime’s Mediastar 782 IPTV and Media Player and the Digital Media Decoder 780 are both now available with new remote controls, including wireless keyboards and mouse, which can be used as an interactive wand. The Media Player will also be working hand in hand with Cabletime’s brand new digital signage content creation software, Creator and the tools that enable it to deliver rich HTML support, live IPTV streams and video playout.

Panasonic’s new AF1 digital signage series won an Innovation Award for Digital Signage, and on visiting their stand, we could see why. These displays have a built-in media player which enables them to be controlled by its Android-based OpenPort platform, making them a simple and intuitive digital signage screens for roll out on a large scale.

On the first morning at the show, we won the AV News Integrator of The Year Award which was a great accolade, praised by the judges for our team’s Infocomm training levels and some great installations in 2016 on behalf of our clients. Read all about it here.