Case Study: Century Cements, India

Hurrairah bin Sohail examines how Century Cements modernised its corporate office with the help of a considered approach to AV systems and solutions.

What defines a modern workspace? Is it just an industrial aesthetic coupled with fancy interior design?

Century Cements wanted answers to these questions and engaged Solutions India Systems Pvt Ltd (SISPL) to provide them. The integrator executed a design and build project for Birla Group as it moved to a new office.

The challenge for SISPL was to determine an effective way to enact the change that Century Cements wanted. Mustafa Rampurawala, head of projects for SISPL, says: “The project began with us evaluating the level of AV technology that Century Cements was using in its old office. We found that the deployment of AV systems was very basic. Their meeting rooms were equipped with just a television screen and content could be brought up by connecting a laptop. Other meeting rooms and boardrooms just had a projector or a simple television.”

The transformation was worked on by both parties as Rampurawala details: “We understood the requirements the solutions at their new office. and we also received a very detailed brief and analysis from Century Cements. We followed this up with meetings with the team at Century Cements, their CTO, CEO and the procurement head officer. From the information gathered we created a design and presented it to them, highlighting the challenges they were facing and the problems they were facing. They knew about them but did not realise that technology could be used to solve these issues. It might be a higher investment initially, but you don’t realise that within a short span of time you will start seeing a return on your investment.”

From here it was SISPL’s task to select and suggest the right AV systems for Century Cements. Rampurawala says: “Being conventional users of AV, with only a projector and screen in their meeting rooms previously, the client was initially unaware of the latest AV technologies. But after our initial technology presentation to their team, they were mesmerised by the various technological options and showed interest in implementing The senior team visited our experience centre and were pleasantly surprised to see and experience how AV had grown in all these years and how it could benefit them.”

Care was also taken to ensure that the technology was not being deployed for the sake of having technology. Rampurawala continues: “Every single AV solution suggested by SISPL for Century Cements’ office was discussed in detail with all the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ being answered by us. The biggest doubt they had in their mind was about the acceptance of the new trend within their existing team and how SISPL will help get the users comfortable with the systems post installation. Our team assured them that at each level SISPL will work hand in hand with their team and their users to explain to them the benefits and show them the ease of use. We committed to provide multiple training sessions to their support team and users and will keep doing this at various intervals. Also, our team will be there for onsite and online support whenever needed.”

Century Cements’ ideas for its office and the AV technology to be used shaped the selection of equipment. Rampurawala says: “The CEO had a vision where he did not want to see any cables on the table. There were to be no wired connections to the system in the boardroom. At the same time, the new office was to serve as the head office for Century Cements, which meant that they would be expecting visitors and clients coming in for presentations and meetings. The client also wanted to ensure that when a visitor comes to the premises, they should not have to install any files on their computers because in the corporate world, laptops and devices are usually locked.”

The functionality required for the boardroom was clearly defined and Rampurawala details: “Century Cements wanted a wireless setup whereby any user who enters the meeting room should be able to present with his device wirelessly and in less than a minute without installing any app on their system. It had to be a unified collaboration system which included videoconferencing, intuitive content sharing and the ability for users to present from the display with a simple touch. Multiple devices with differing operating systems needed to be able to be connected and present simultaneously. They should also be able to record and stream meetings as well as annotate in real time on their devices.”

To meet the client requirements Wolvision Cynap was chosen to be the wireless solution and it is the heart of the AV system in the boardroom. Rampurawala explains why the product was chosen: “The Cynap is a single box and it is based on Linux so security-wise it is perfect. It supports iOS, Google and Microsoft and also has HDMI connections. This latter feature allowed us to avoid having a switcher in the room.

If anyone wants to connect a visualizer or a HDMI camera in the room it can be done with ease and we can also connect via HDMI to the display and one of the Polycom videoconferencing units.”

He continues: “The Cynap also has network connectivity built in. This means that users can connect to the Cynap without leaving the company’s network. The same holds true for guests which met Century Cements’ requirements of wireless presentation without the need for installing any applications.”

For the display, SISPL chose to move away from projection. Rampurawala explains the decision: “The client wanted a completely wireless solution with no wires visible on the table. With this in mind, how can we consider deploying a projector that would require a HDMI cable or DisplayPort wire as well as signal extension? There were also user experience considerations such as loading times and splash screens.”

A Newline Ultra HD-LED 86-in interactive touch screen serves as the display in the boardroom. Once again, client requirements were at the forefront when the decision was made. Rampurawala says: “The current trend in corporate spaces is to enable collaboration. Meeting rooms are becoming more interactive, more collaborative and people no longer want to be part of a meeting where they are just sitting on a chair as a spectator. They want to be able to interact with their colleagues. The Cynap provides this interactivity and we needed a screen that would further enhance this.”

He continues: “The Newline interactive screen was perfect for a number of reasons. One is that it comes with a built-in PC. The screen can be used on its own without the need to connect it to any other device. It also pairs well with the Cynap. We can split it into four quadrants with a different source from a different platform being displayed and these can then be annotated. The screen also has its own built-in memory so these sessions can be saved and shared.”

Control for the boardroom is provided by a Crestron CP3 processor. Rampurawala says: “All aspects of the boardroom can be controlled from the lighting, motorised blinds, videoconferencing to the air conditioning and this is achieved the with CP3.” The control system is accessed with the help of an Apple iPad.

Audio for the boardroom is provided by two Tannoy DVS 6T speakers paired with a Lab. gruppen Lucia 60/1-70 amplifier.

A smaller CEO cabin has also been outfitted along the same guiding principles as the boardroom. A Samsung DC series 55-in display and a Blackbox Coalesce wireless solution are used for presentation.

Outside of the boardroom, SISPL has also deployed signage to modernise the Century Cements office. A Panasonic TH-65EF1W 65-in display paired with a HP thin PC displays visuals for the office space. Similarly, a Samsung DC series 43-in display is used for the reception.

Rampurawala believes that the transformation enacted by Century Cements is one that many other corporate entities in India will be adopting. He says: “In our experience, over the last two years, there has been a lot of fanfare for collaborative meeting rooms. Initially, people used to have separate areas for meeting and collaboration. In fact, for collaboration they would just gather around someone’s workstation and make do with that while the meeting room remained empty. There was no concept of combining the existing meeting rooms with collaboration spaces. Clients are beginning to really judge the value of their meeting spaces and are beginning to look for technology that allows them to really get a return on the investment that the company is making.”

He continues: “With the range of technology and products that are available to integrators now we can begin to meet the needs of the client. Things like one- touch wireless connectivity are now possible as we have shown at the Century Cements office with the Wolfvision Cynap. These products are only going to get better and are going to add more functionality. We’re already in talks with Birla about a second phase of expansion and upgrades they want to undertake, and we can only imagine what we can achieve with the new technology that will be available.”

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