Huawei, Indonesia

Vega Indonesia details an extremely interesting project where geopolitical forces beyond the control of the integrator created unforeseen challenges. Hurrairah bin Sohail reports.

Huawei undertook an office move in Jakarta, Indonesia to consolidate all its working spaces in one location. The extensive undertaking involved Aedas as the interior designer, DGS as the general contractor, WP as the quantity surveyor and JLL as the project management team. PTS Consulting served as the consultant while Vega Indonesia was appointed the system integrator for the project.

Peter Eduard, business development manager at Vega Indonesia, details the initial requirements set forth: “Huawei is a famous technology company, so naturally for their own workplace they wanted to have the best. They deliver a lot of groundbreaking technology for their clients and partners, from IoT to 5G, so their standards were very high. They also wanted to move away from their teams working individually and from siloed systems, which was the case when their offices were spread across multiple locations. The needs and requirements of Huawei were a true ‘digital workplace’, which was a new concept at the time of this project but has become much more popular now.”

He continues: “To deliver this digital workplace, we worked closely with PTS and the other stakeholders, leveraged our own experience and also collaborated with the Vega Hong Kong team to create the best solution. Our goal was not to just have a fresh new technology system in the Huawei office but to really provide them the tools to enable them to work in completely new ways and to also meet the high standards and expectations Huawei sets around technology.”

Unforeseen circumstances resulted in challenges popping up early during the project. Eduard details: “At the start of the project, the design was based on Crestron products. We’re very familiar with Crestron products, we’ve deployed them for multiple projects, and in my personal opinion the implementation of a Crestron system is smooth. We have experience with the products, the designing of systems is easy and there are apps that help you commission the system as well. And the after-sales service is easy because the client does not have any complaints. But due to the prevailing geopolitical situation between China and USA at the time, we had to completely deviate from this design and shift the systems to Digibird.”

This shift in design was not easy to navigate as Eduard elaborates: “The switch to Digibird meant that we had to go back to square one and start again. PTS worked on the design and the R&D of the Digibird solutions, testing them to see how they would perform in the designed systems and how they would meet Huawei’s requirements. In parallel to that, we at Vega Indonesia started to test the Digibird products to see how they would integrate and work. We requested demo units and started establishing contact with Digibird directly to understand the technical aspects. Good communication and coordination were key during this phase, because even though we had to switch products and designs we still had to hit the original timeline for the project.”

Huawei’s directive did not just impact the selection of Crestron. Other products were also affected. Sony and LG panels had to be changed to Samsung displays, Bose audio systems were shifted to AEX products, Extron cabling was changed to Kramer and Datapath controllers had to be replaced with Digibird controllers. The key concern on Huawei’s end was receiving a guarantee from the manufacturers that they would honour warranties, but the prevailing geopolitical climate meant that every manufacturer was not able to do so.

Vega Indonesia soldiered on, and Nadia Angitta, sales manager at Vega Indonesia, discusses some areas of note: “For Huawei, they provide technology services to the biggest telecommunication giants in Indonesia and for them monitoring and providing these services was of paramount importance. Therefore their new office features a large number of NOC rooms, almost one on every floor that they occupy.”

The NOC rooms feature Samsung LCD videowalls with Digibird controllers on the back end.

Aten KVM for user input has also been provided.

Eduard expands: “The idea behind the videowalls was to provide the operators with a large display that would allow them to monitor their business operations in Indonesia. We went with LCD flat panel videowalls because Huawei has its own app for monitoring, they have their own dashboard, and they wanted the display to be able to handle videoconferencing as well. With all their requirements taken into consideration, we felt that the LCD flat panel videowall would be the best solution.”

Video transmission is accomplished over HDBaseT with Digibird transmitters and receivers. Eduard says: “Everything is over Cat cables; we don’t use HDMI for transmission. So, all the signals are converted to digital and then transported over Cat cables. It is a completely digitalised system and distribution. There is integration with Huawei’s IP networks as well on the back end with multicast. We worked together with the IT department at Huawei to deliver this.”

Eduard gives his thoughts on the challenges of delivering the NOC rooms: “Vega Indonesia has worked on many command and control centres, so deploying the videowalls was not a challenge. The main thing we had to keep in mind was communication and coordination. As I mentioned, the Digibird products and systems were being trialled as we were implementing the project, so we had to make sure we were thinking one step ahead. For example, we’ve provided spare cabling in the spaces. It is very difficult to get more cables in once the ceiling is closed and the space is built. We did this to account for any future expansion of the system but also to make sure that if there are any more changes in the system, we would be ready to handle them.”

Like any modern workspace, the Huawei office features meeting rooms of differing sizes. Eduard details: “Huawei is using its own platform for videoconferencing that also has support for popular applications such as Zoom. The Huawei hub provides wireless connectivity via a dongle and has options for wired functions. This means that users can bring their own device or laptop to the meeting rooms and just go ahead with their calls.”

To further enable interactivity and collaboration, meeting spaces also feature interactive whiteboards and Surface Hubs. In the war room, which is a premium meeting space, Vega Indonesia has gone a step further. Eduard says: “We’re using Sennheiser boundary microphones as well as the bodypack for the war room. The reason for this is the fact that the war room is not just used for meetings, it can also be used for trainings and other events. The main challenge with the audio setup in the war room was with the Digibird DSP. This was the first time we were using it, so it took us some time to become familiar with the product and we had to learn on the job on how to get the best performance out of it.”

Finally, illustrating the commitment Vega Indonesia has to delivering for its clients, the integrator created a karaoke room. Anggita details: “For the karaoke room, Huawei wanted the experience to be exactly the same as a very famous karaoke room in Jakarta, so much so that they insisted on getting the exact same hardware and software. For us, this was an interesting part of the project because we had to go scout the system at the karaoke room and then source the products and the software to ensure that they got the experience that they wanted.”

Reflecting on the project, Anggita discusses the careful line the integrator had to tread: “This was a tricky project for us due to the change of the design and the switching of products. We had to make sure that we maintained our relationship with the manufacturers and OEMs and explain the needs and requirements of Huawei. We also had to carefully manage our relationship with Digibird and the Digibird distributor in Indonesia since we made the decision to source the Digibird products directly from the manufacturer due to the challenges of the project. It was difficult but I think we were able to handle the challenges diplomatically.”

Eduard concludes: “If you talk about installation, the challenge was that we had never worked with several of the Digibird products that had been specified for the project. We had to have a videoconference call with the technicians at Digibird almost daily so that our team could learn about the products, understand their technical capabilities and how to deploy them. It was very intense but the support from Digibird was excellent, and I can now confidently say that we have become experts for the Digibird systems. This was definitely a project that helped us learn and grow.”

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