DWF Mindcrest, India

DWF Mindcrest won the Corporate Project category at the Inavate APAC Awards 2021. We bring you complete insight into the project to explain why this installation was a clear winner.

DWF Mindcrest is the amalgamation of two companies coming together to create a first-of-its-kind legal process outsourcing firm in India.

Base in Pune, DWF Mindcrest made the decision to create and establish a state-of-the-art working, collaboration and learning facility. To ensure that the technology deployed at the new workspace was fit for purpose, Qubix was engaged to deliver the design and build project.

Rhythm Arora, director at Qubix, talks about how the project started: “Qubix was engaged for a design and build project at DWF Mindcrest and our starting point was to really understand the requirements of the client. We had conversations with everyone from the managing director to the admin users to really understand what their requirements were and that formed the foundation from where we could start to have a discussion about technology.”

The conversations with the user paid dividends, as it allowed Qubix to really illustrate the difference the correct AV technology platforms can make. Arora elaborates: “During the course of the conversations and multiple presentations, we were able to increase the budget for AV technology. Sometimes when you are talking to the end user their perception of AV is that it is just a bunch of wires and some projectors. It is the AV professional’s job to illustrate that AV is much more than that. To be honest, users are very receptive to investing in AV when they can be shown the value of the investment. And that is just what we were able to do with DWF Mindcrest.”

Moving on to the spaces at DWF Mindcrest, Qubix was tasked with fitting out meeting rooms, boardrooms, collaboration areas and various learning and development training rooms with technology to enable them to function.

The main challenge of the project was evident from the get-go and Arora elaborates: “I sent out emails asking the client what their preferred videoconferencing platform was and I got two separate replies, one indicating Teams and the other stating Zoom. So, we understood that by virtue of the fact that DWF Mindcrest was the amalgamation of two companies that we would have to support multiple VC platforms without any dedicated or duplicated hardware and that was the challenge that we had to overcome.”

To build a solution that met the VC requirements of DWF Mindcrest, Qubix took a BYOM approach. Arora says: “We made the user’s laptop the central component of the VC system rather than going with dedicated hardware in the room. This meant that the user could choose any VC platform they wanted, and it also removed the need for us to keep track of the VC software versions and then updating the AV system to be compatible with them. We’ve employed Barco Clickshare to provide the users with wireless connectivity allowing them to then augment their VC experience by tapping into the technology resources of the spaces.”

He continues: “On the backend, we are using Crestron NVX for video switching. Cameras are connected to the NVX system via HDMI and the NVX itself is connected to a capture card via HDMI. The capture card is linked to the Barco Clickshare via USB.”

Why the insertion of a capture card and the transition from HDMI to USB? Arora explains: “We wanted the best of both worlds, and this setup gives us all the benefits of USB and HDMI. With HDMI, we can do switching, windowing, PIP, and more. With USB, we get that one-to-one handshake with the user device that does not drop and provides a seamless experience.”

Crestron touch panels and control systems allow the users to select the camera in the room. There are programmed presets as well allowing quick and easy configuration of spaces such as the training room allowing users to set up for combined or individual usage.

While tackling the challenge of supporting multiple VC platforms, Qubix did not lose sight of user experience and the integrator was willing to deviate when required. Arora says: “We have used an OPS PC with a Newline interactive display in the boardroom. In addition, we have used Quicklaunch, which is a software launcher for videoconferencing. It comes with calendar integration and apps for all the commonly used VC platforms, so you can jump onto a call with a single click. We’ve provided this setup in addition to Barco Clickshare, so the users in the boardroom have the option to bring their own device or just use the facilities in the boardroom based on their preference.”

Staying on the video systems deployed, we jump to the training rooms where projection has been employed. Arora explains: “We used Epson projectors in the training rooms for a couple of reasons. The first was the fact that we needed a 16:6 aspect ratio. The instructors in the training room spaces would be writing on the display, and for writing you need a display that has width rather than height for the writing to be legible and be easily seen by participants. The flexibility of projection meant that we could achieve the 16:6 ratio easily. The second reason was the need for interactivity, which projection also meets. The projectors are augmented with Samsung Flips in the training room spaces and the end result is a seamless learning environment.”

On the audio side, the QSC Core 510 DSP sits at the heart of the systems and is pressed into action for larger spaces with complex audio requirements. Shure MXA910 ceiling microphones are used for audio pickup. For the smaller spaces, Shure microphones and speakers are employed with Qubix taking an ‘ecosystem’ approach to quickly and efficiently set these spaces up. One of the interesting decisions on the audio side is the use of Meyer Sound MM-4XP speakers with Meyer Sound processing in spaces such as the boardroom and the learning and development training rooms.

Arora details: “These Meyer Sound speakers aren’t really found in corporate settings. But after we specified them, they ended up being a unique feature of our bid. We went with the MM-4XP because of its 75-degrees by 75-degrees spread. VC doesn’t work without audio and we wanted to have perfect audio in the spaces. We are using voice lift and we didn’t want any echo or feedback into the microphones. For this we needed speakers with very precise, very narrow spread. We did an EASE plot and found that the Meyer Sound speakers delivered exactly what we had calculated.”

Not being tailor made for corporate settings, installing the speakers came with challenges. Arora says: “The MM-4XP does not have ceiling brackets, so we had to fabricate them in India. We colour matched these brackets to the speakers and they were good to go.”

During the course of the project, additional challenges popped up. Arora says: “We started running out of ports. We are using AV-over-IP with NVX, the Shure microphones and speakers that we are using run on PoE, we have room management and eventually we came to a point where we realised that we needed to get more ports. But, due to licensing issues we found that going up meant additional cost. So, we decided to shift away from Dante and move to AES67, which allowed us to solve our issues. We had to hard reset some devices over to AES, but other than that there were no challenges.”

The DWF Mindcrest project has been successfully completed and Arora talks about the last stages of the project: “Interestingly, IT did not participate in the handover of the AV and technology systems, it was the administration team and the operators. The handover for the project took three months, but this ensured that the systems worked exactly as the end user wanted them to. The handover process uncovered more feedback and we had to reprogram some of the systems to make sure they flowed the way the user wanted. But the end result was that the admin and the operator are now confident in the system and in operating it and that is the best outcome.”

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