AV magazine interviews Jim Harwood, our managing director, on his company ethos, the value of loyal staff, the engineering skills gap and the need for realistic consultants.
To continue reading click here
AV magazine interviews Jim Harwood, our managing director, on his company ethos, the value of loyal staff, the engineering skills gap and the need for realistic consultants.
To continue reading click here
Focus 21 are hosting a showcase at Saddlers Hall on Friday 13th April 2018 and would love for you and your colleagues to attend and experience what Saddlers Hall, Party Ingredients and Focus 21 has to offer.
The showcases will run from 12pm – 2pm and will be a great chance for you to sample the food and wine from Party Ingredients and see how Focus 21 can expand your event to captivate your audience at any venue.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP as soon as possible.
We look forward to meeting you at our Saddlers Hall showcase.
Watch our 2018 awards video...
We are delighted to announce that we have recently promoted Max Hill to the position of Account Manager.
Max started at Focus 21 Visual Communications in July 2017, as lead install engineer, where he has done a fantastic job in supporting our clients, in fact so much so that he came to the attention of Darren Barton-Taylor our Sales Director, who felt Max’s technical knowledge and great people skills would be a real asset to his sales team.
“Max is going to be a great asset to the sales team. His technical understanding of our business and appreciation of the high standards we adhere to will help further support our clients, and his can-do attitude will ensure he represents Focus 21 in the best possible light. He is a real people person and I am looking forward to working with him” Darren Barton-Taylor – Sales Director
Max started his career in AV straight from college, after completing his NVQ level 3 in electronics, Six years on and he is now taking this exciting step. “I can’t wait to get started in my new role. It’s been an ambition of mine since starting at Focus 21, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge” Max Hill – Focus 21 Visual Communications
Please join us in congratulating Max on his new position.
Celebrates 10 years at Focus 21
Glenn moved from Africa (Zimbabwe) back in 1999 to serve in the British Army where he served 9 years with the Royal Engineers, before joining Focus 21 in 2008.
Glenn's first role at Focus 21 was a rack builder, but that role only lasted 3 weeks before his talents were noticed, and he moved into the Rack build Supervisor role, For Glenn this felt like a sink or swim moment but for Focus 21 it was an obvious move and Glenn’s work ethics and technical knowledge ensured he swam.
“The past 10 years have flown by for me, I think it comes down to the individual people I work with, the teamwork, the banter and the opportunity to progress through the company. The AV industry is constantly changing, and new technologies are coming to the market all the time, we get to integrate these new technologies from project to project bringing with it new challenges and making my job truly diverse”. - Glenn Parker
We hope you will all join us in congratulating Glenn on 10 Years in the industry!
Projects Quality Control Manager
We are pleased to announce that we have recently promoted Martin Lawes to the position of Projects Quality Control Manager.
Martin has been with Focus 21 for nearly 13 years, most recently leading the commissioning team, and we firmly believe this promotion will further enhance our customer experience.
Martin will be making sure best practices of the industry are adhered to, from the early design stage, to the final on-site commissioning, with the aim of utilising the knowledge from multiple projects to ensure we can offer our customers the very best service, reduce time spent on projects, and provide cost savings to our clients.
Examples of this could be to make sure a small error in system design is picked up before the rack build team come to wire a system, and to avoid wasting time re-working the equipment racks, or to make sure the commissioning team is fully trained on products we are using for the first time.
Although the output from his role may not be directly visible to customers, having a dedicated resource casting an impartial eye over the department, and overseeing all projects will enable us to spot potential issues before they arise, utilise teams’ time more efficiently, spot best practices easier and offer feedback and suggestions on products that may perform better.
Martin’s role will see him working with all departments and members of the projects team, clients, consultants and suppliers of hardware and software. He will also be responsible for organising and managing technical training on new products or software that will increase the efficiency of deployment and support within the project team.
Please join us in congratulating Martin on this promotion
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
InAVation Awards 2018
The 2018 InAVation Awards followed later that day, where the Bayer UK project received the AVIXA Standards award.
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.
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
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
2) Assess the how it will impact your other technology
3) Be determined to get great use of the equipment you buy
4) Work with an expert
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'
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations to Kiya Francis
Whose hard work has led to him being named as BW's operative of the month for January 2018.
BW is a London-based fit out and refurbishment expert, who work with Focus 21 to provide clients with workplaces that inspire.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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
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.
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
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.
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
The winners will be revealed at the 2018 AV News awards on the 6th of February during ISE 2018. Wish us luck!
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.
Dane Van Der Linden joined Focus 21 in September 2017 and in less than 3 months has passed his CTS qualification bringing our CTS qualified staff up to 31! We are so proud of his achievement and look forward to supporting him in his future with us!
Dane Van Der Linden
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
The winners will be revealed at the 2018 AV Technology Awards on the 7th of February during ISE 2018. Wish us luck!
Focus 21 is an engineering company specialising in the integration and servicing of audiovisual and videoconferencing systems. We are a customer orientated organisation dedicated to providing an excellent service.