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Key elements to create productive collaboration spaces

Any potential clients looking to equip a space with an AV installation are usually asked the same question: how does the room sound right now?

It seems like such a simple, straightforward question, but actual room acoustics historically are still overlooked. And in terms of providing an AV solution, technology can only add so much to a space; if room acoustics are poor to begin with, they will continue to be a problem throughout the project.

Thankfully, office designers have realized the need for collaborative and meeting spaces that work on a functional and aesthetic level with specialist sound technicians brought in at the planning stages to ensure the best possible environment ahead of the application of any AV system. It’s a key part of the process, and one that we recognize at Solotech – we employ our own acoustic engineer to run reports and identify the best possible acoustic solutions ahead of any integration.

Once we’re pleased with a suitable space/environment, discussion is given to the needs and requirements of the system, working within any given budget. There are several ways in which this can be achieved, with the experience, knowledge and recommendations of the integrator playing a big part of the process.

Projects are normally communicated between us, the integrator, and the AV and/or IT department, which usually has a good idea of what they want in terms of room systems, working with existing codecs and VC.

There will always be some challenges with any given project; we can reference case studies from other projects to help develop an idea further. In fact, quite often a client has expressed gratitude that we understand the challenges they face and offer a solution to improve the final system.

Office spaces redesigned

Post-pandemic office space has changed. Working to the new hybrid model, many boardrooms and meeting rooms are being redesigned to be multifunctional, divisible environments that offer flexibility in terms of collaboration (whether remotely or in the room) and other uses, such as hosting conferences and live events.

Screens are leveraged more than ever, and not just for meetings. They’re used for sharing content and are an important part of corporate sustainability policies, keeping paper usage to a minimum.

Rooms are now equipped with many items and devices used to facilitate meetings. From an IT point of view, running AV devices across networks can bring its own challenges, not least concerns regarding secure connections. As AV specialists, we can use our expertise from the service side of the business along with knowledge of the latest products from market- leading AV brands to create systems that run seamlessly across all networks, efficiently and securely.

Once the installation is completed, it’s time to look at how the system will be monitored. It’s not necessary to employ a trained AV technician to check for issues 24 hours a day; in many cases the IT Department Head will manage the system. Monitoring platforms such as Solotech’s Service+ offer 24 hour, seven days a week, real-time monitoring of each system device, providing remote diagnostics as and when required. Any issues with devices on the system will automatically trigger an email to the Service department, which in turn will contact a project development manager to speak with the client and rectify the situation.

Having a proactive approach to service means that any issues with the system can be immediately identified and resolved or replaced ahead of any crucial meetings or events. This keeps disruption to a minimum and helps the client and integrator stay proactive to maintain systems up and running without interruptions.

Ben Tredwell, Project Development Manager, Corporate AV, is an AV integration specialist based out of Solotech UK’s London, Covent Garden office, with extensive experience in enterprise scale projects.

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