In April 2014 Cinos completed an Audit+ Survey of the Caterpillar Visitor & Training Centre in Desford, Leicestershire. The Centre utilises a range of audio visual technologies which allow Caterpillar to demonstrate their latest products, train their customers and rent out the meeting areas to third party businesses.
The Audit+ Survey from Cinos provided Caterpillar with an in-depth understanding of their technology estate. Whilst various improvements were made during the survey, Cinos produced further recommendations on how certain areas within the Centre could be upgraded, making them more effective for staff, customers and third party businesses.
|Within 10 minutes of your team leaving site I had 150 clients enter the facility for a showcase event, the solution worked like a dream and didn’t miss a beat, thank you so much|
Centre Manager, Caterpillar
Following the Audit+ Survey and in conjunction with the Facilities Management Team at Caterpillar, a number of observations were noted and recommendations made to deliver service improvements to the Centre’s demonstration and conferencing facilities. These facilities contain two main areas; the VIP meeting room and a multifunctional presentation area.
The multifunctional presentation area consists of two meetings rooms and a café. These rooms utilise moveable partition walls to provide a larger space for demonstrations, customer training and third party business meetings. Cinos worked closely with Caterpillar to analyse the usage profile of each area; identifying the individual meeting room requirements and discussing the optimal performance criteria for the various room scenarios.
It became apparent that the needs of the facility’s staff and visiting customers had evolved since the original conception of the Centre. Whilst the moveable partition walls delivered a larger area for group presentations, the technology did not adapt to the various scenarios. Meeting participants would struggle to hear presenters as the audio remained contained to each individual area. The absence of repeater screens and video switching technology meant content could not be shared into each room; making it difficult for participants to properly engage in meetings.
In addition, Cinos identified areas for improvement in the VIP meeting room; an area predominately used for internal meetings and presentations. Cinos noted that connections to the projector are analogue based and so do not provide high definition video quality. In addition these connections are not easily accessible; causing issues for staff who want to share content and collaborate in an effective manner.
After ascertaining the key requirements for the upgrade to the Visitor & Training Centre, the Cinos Technical Design team provided a range of options that utilised, where possible, the significant investment in technology already made by Caterpillar. Not only would this ensure the most cost effective option was made available, it would also provide Caterpillar with a greater return on investment.
Meeting Rooms 1, 2 and Café
As customers and third party businesses use the meeting room areas at the Centre, it is imperative the technology in place functions as expected. The moveable partition walls allow for a range of room scenarios, from dual mode with meeting room 1 and the café, to triple mode with both meeting rooms and the café combined as one large presentation area. When in triple mode the area can host up to 200 people.
In single room mode, users can control the various technology in each area via the wall mounted AMX 7” NXD-CV7 Touch Panels. Content from laptops, PC’s and other devices can be displayed via the meeting room projector. Cinos expanded the existing meeting room solution by integrating high definition displays for individual room use, or to act as repeater screens in dual or triple mode. With the new displays in place it was essential that the technology would respond to each room scenario, rather than the audio and content remaining contained to their single room environments.
To ensure content was distributed effectively across the various room scenarios, Cinos installed the AMX NX-3200 NetLinx Controller. Designed to control audio visual and building technology, the NX-3200 enables users to share high definition content on any of the display technology. Additional convertors were included, allowing any device to connect to the system irrespective of its age. This enables users with analogue based laptops and video sources to share high definition content across the dispersed display technology.
Whether presenting in a single room, or in a combined environment, it is essential meeting participants can clearly hear what is being said. To ensure this is the case Cinos integrated wireless microphones and a new switchable amplifier into the existing speaker array to deliver a multi-zone audio distribution system. Designed to mimic the various room scenarios, this updated solution delivers high definition audio to all areas; allowing all meeting participants to clearly hear the presenter regardless of their location.
With the technology now adapting to the various room scenarios a simple and intuitive user interface was required. Enter the MVP-9000i Touch Panel solution from AMX. This gesture based interface provides master control of each room scenario; allowing users to distribute presentations and high definition audio to each area. Each room scenario is programmed into the panel, and its wireless capabilities enable users to control the technology from any location within the Centre. Cinos retained the familiarity of the control systems by applying the same client-branded design to all touch panels at the Centre.
The introduction of the MVP-9000i and associated technology has provided Caterpillar with a truly flexible workspace that is now capable of meeting a range of requirements. In the triple room mode Caterpillar can control any device connected to the system and share content on any of the display technology throughout the Centre. The inclusion of high definition repeater screens and improved audio distribution has ensured that meeting participants can clearly view content and hear the presenter; eliminating any issues that were previously a problem. In addition, strategically placed digital and analogue inputs were positioned throughout the Centre to ensure that regardless of their location, users can connect and share content quickly and effectively.
The VIP Meeting Room
The VIP meeting room at the Centre is used for internal meetings and presentations. Designed as a standalone area, the VIP meeting room utilises a range of solutions from AMX for control and switching of the various technologies. Whilst this technology was functioning as expected, it was noted that the connections to the room projector were not easily accessible and being analogue based, did not provide high definition quality.
To overcome these issues Cinos deployed Barco ClickShare in place of the obsolete VGA video switcher. Designed as a collaborative meeting room tool, ClickShare allows users to wirelessly share high definition content via a USB dongle; eliminating the need to connect directly to the projector. Users can also simultaneously share content from their smartphone or tablet devices; providing a more efficient solution for effective meetings and quicker decision making.
Demonstration and conferencing rooms provide a truly flexible workspace
By providing a technology refresh to the demonstration and conferencing rooms Cinos have ensured that this area is now a truly flexible workspace capable of handling the requirements of both individual meetings and larger group sessions:
Integrating the AMX NX-3200 NetLinx Controller into the system enables the switching of multiple sources; allowing room users to share content quickly and effectively. The NX-3200 also delivers a scalable platform for the future with a more ports than previous versions; providing the ability to integrate a larger number of devices.
The distribution of audio has been significantly improved with the introduction of a new switchable amplifier and wireless microphones. This technology ensures that high definition audio can be delivered across all areas and in every room scenario.
By updating the design and coding of the current touch panels and introducing the AMX MVP-9000i as the master touch panel Cinos has provided users with simple and intuitive control of the system. The various room scenarios can be selected at the touch of a button, as well as the ability to share content across all areas.
Cost effective solution delivers a greater return on investment
To ensure the most cost effective option was available the Cinos Technical Design team provided a range of options that utilised, where possible, the significant investment in technology already made by Caterpillar.
Rather than replacing the current AMX Touch Panels with the latest models, Cinos updated the code and design to provide a familiar interface with simple and intuitive control.
The improvements in the demonstration and conferencing facilities have now made this area a more attractive option for third party business use; increasing the potential return on investment for Caterpillar.
Ease of use
The introduction of ClickShare in the VIP meeting room has eliminated access issues to the projector’s connections. At the click of a button multiple users can share content from a range of presentation devices; enhancing the meeting experience and removing the previous technology challenges.
Did the solution deliver?
Cinos believe in delivering excellence in everything we do and our continuous training and advancement enables us to deliver bespoke technology ideas to our ever expanding client base. What we really love to hear though is how the client feels about our work, in the case of Caterpillar we feel this quote from the Centre Manager sums it up perfectly:
‘Within 10 minutes of your team leaving site I had 150 clients enter the facility for a showcase event, the solution worked like a dream and didn’t miss a beat, thank you so much’
AMX Modero NXV-300 & Netlinx 3100 Integrated Controller
The NX-3200 NetLinx® Integrated Controller from AMX is a programmable network appliance specifically designed to control audio visual and building technology using multiple analogue and digital formats. This controller has the capability to control a range of components including audio/video conferencing, projectors, DVD and Blu-ray players, lights, thermostats and other electronic equipment found in larger spaces.
The NX-3200 has enhanced the capabilities of the multifunctional meeting areas by allowing users to share content and distribute high definition audio across all areas rather than these being contained to their single room environments.