Veritas, India

With the Veritas Software Technologies facility in Pune, India being crowned the winner of the 2021 Inavation Awards Corporate Project category, we delve into what set the installation apart.

The Veritas Software Technologies facility in Pune, India, a project that won consultant 3CDN Workplace Tech [3CDN] and integrator Godrej AV Solutions the Corporate Project category of the Inavation Awards 2021, is a microcosm of what modern work looks like.

It is Veritas’ largest facility in Southeast Asia, covering approximately 232,000 square feet, and the company wanted to harness technology to improve the employee experience.

Edzil Deniz, director, new initiatives at 3CDN, explains: “The project started with need analysis. Technology has evolved at an accelerated pace, and we had a client that had several standards that they wanted to look at, review and maybe update. The standards that they had, such as wired connectivity on the table, old connectivity options, were just not working for them anymore. Veritas was open to discuss technology and that is where the conversation about improving the employee experience started to move forward with ideas such as switching away from traditional codecs coming into the picture, we started talking about unified control and looking at room control, IoT and room scheduling.”

To qualify and quantify ‘experience’, 3CDN leveraged the principles of design thinking. Deniz details: “We boiled [the discussions] down to a singular problem statement. Veritas, found it was very difficult to conduct meetings within their rooms. Participants said that they always had to look for an IT guy just to get started and this meant that valuable time was being lost. All of our work then went towards ensuring that this problem was resolved.”

Mradul Sharma, managing director at 3CDN, provides further details: “The Veritas team in India had never been part of such a large deployment. One of the first things we did was to make a conscious call to get all the stakeholders into a workshop and really begin to establish that communication which is essential for the best outcome. Empathising with the client and the stakeholders made us realise that they had not just brought us on board to roll out a bill of quantity in a short period of time. They needed us to help them change and evolve based on evaluated, considered technology decisions and to do this we had to be a bridge between the stakeholders in India as well as the Veritas global team.”

Sharma’s comments highlight a particular challenge for the Veritas deployment, namely an effective rollout of technology within a short timeframe. This made the selection of the integrator a crucial one.

Deniz says: “We’ve worked with Godrej AV Solutions before and based on the track record we were confident that they would be able to step up to the plate.”

On the integrator’s side, agreeing to the project was an easy decision regardless of the challenges. Naresh Parab of Godrej AV Solutions says: “We know that whenever we are working on a project with 3CDN, the concepts and designs driving the project will be based on the customer’s requirements. So, if the design strategy is clear and the customer requirements are always being kept in mind, then we are only left with the job of getting to site and implementing and executing. We’re experts at that so from our side, even with the tight timeframe, we didn’t have any hesitation or doubt that we could deliver.”

As the problem statement was clear, unsurprisingly videoconferencing was one of the focus points for the project. 3CDN worked to get to the heart of the matter and Deniz says: “In every conversation with a client about their requirements, they will give you their statement and then comes the ‘but’. It is the statement after the ‘but’ that we find interesting and what most of our effort goes to addressing. So, for Veritas, they are a Cisco house. But they also wanted connectivity to other platforms such as Zoom and Teams and Google Meet.”

He continues: “The route we took was to maintain their standard of Cisco, but then to augment that with additional connectivity, through implementing BYOD strategies which would allow people to bring their own soft codecs on devices and get them going and through backend integration so that people can just hop into the call they want without issues.”

Sharma adds: “From an AV SI perspective, Veritas had a clear idea regarding the system they wanted, and this is what the solution was designed around. But from a design perspective, the need to support Zoom and other platforms was something we had to address as well. The way we proceeded was to make sure we had the backend ready. The logical way to proceed was to implement software level integration to support the multi-platform VC operations they wanted rather than changing the infrastructure and the hardware completely. This is what we have delivered, with widgets on the Cisco touchscreens in the meeting spaces for different VC platforms.”

Beginning the exploration of the systems deployed, 3CDN took the approach of breaking the spaces down into ‘standard rooms’ and ‘integrated rooms’. The former comprise meeting rooms of different capacities where the primary focus was ensuring a great user experience for VC usage. Integrated rooms were spaces such as Training Room, Town Hall and Boardroom where the usage scenario was more complex.

Standard rooms

On the standard room side, the Boardroom which seats 12 people is worth inspection. Cisco Room Kit Plus serves as the VC platform and has been integrated with dual Samsung 75-in flat panel displays. A Crestron DM HDMI switcher provides in-room switching.

Audio is delivered by QSC ceiling speakers powered by QSC amplifiers. Shure MXA910 microphones are used for audio input.

Different sized meeting rooms across the Veritas facility follow a similar template, with Cisco acting as the core component. While the decision around the choice of hardware for standard rooms was simple, achieving the desired outcomes was not as straightforward. Deniz explains: “What makes a product user friendly? What we believe to be the answer is the number of taps or actions you need to perform to get the desired outcome you want. If you look at how apps are designed for smart devices, anything more than one or two taps to get to the destination and the user is already losing interest. It is a no-brainer to take the same approach when designing for corporate spaces.”

He continues: “If you look at what needs to be done for videoconferencing, participants need to register, they need to login, is the camera on, is the microphone on, all of this needs to be turned into a single join action. Our job is to make sure that the join button works which is easier said than done. Standardising on Cisco hardware helps, because this means that the audio and video peripherals are all present together with a VC platform. From here it was our job to make joining a call and leaving it a ‘single-click’ process which we have achieved through programming and integration.”

Integrated rooms

When it comes to the integrated rooms, the Training Room space is one of particular interest. The space is made up of three rooms which can be used individually or combined with a pre-function area to facilitate combined operation.

The big decision for the Training Room was the display. Deniz details: “Initially, Veritas expected a projector and projection screen. We explored other options, such as flat panel videowalls, but our main aim was to look at the viewing experience for the last person seated in the space and this is what we emphasised to the client as well. With this in mind, we concluded that DLED, with a 1.2mm or 1.5mm pixel pitch, would provide the best viewing experience and hence the solution was selected.”

Samsung DELD tiles have been used to create 130-in videowalls.

But while the DLED displays might have been the best solution for the space, implementing them was a challenging task.

Deniz elaborates: “We broke from the tradition of having the typical projection system in the training room, because we wanted to maximise the efficacy of the space and we wanted it to have that rich, luxurious feel that DLED videowalls can provide. In corporate spaces, we’re seeing a trend where we are constrained with height limitations available given that the architect has to try and put all the service cabling in the ceiling. Negotiating for more ceiling space is common for us when deploying projection. This challenge can be highly mitigated if the client is amenable to DLED videowalls but not completely eliminated. However, you want to create a ‘photo frame’ around the DLED but that increases height, and you have to be mindful of sight lines and also how the display fits in with the aesthetics of the space. There was also the fact that we needed a ‘niche’ in the walls to properly accommodate the videowalls and the components required for them to function. Again, this was a discussion we had with the architect and the niches had to be made with tight tolerances to ensure that the DLED videowalls fit and we achieved that pristine, flush aesthetic that was required for the space.”

He continues: “When you look at DLEDs, by virtue of the brightness they deliver they run hot. They have heat dissipation but in an enclosed room, it is a scenario that can go wrong. We made sure to counter it by providing the training rooms with additional cooling.”

Video transmission is over IP using QSC NV encoders and decoders for the Training Room as well as the wider Veritas facility. This allows video streams to be brought in and transmitted from the Training Room as required. QSC PTZ cameras capture proceedings.

Audio is managed by the QSC Q-Sys Core processor and sound is delivered by QSC ceiling speakers. Shure microphones are used for audio capture. Continuing the heavy lifting, QSC Q-Sys Core processors are also an integral part of the control system for the Veritas facility and have been integrated with Crestron’s lighting system through programming. Control was designed to enable intuitive usage and a single platform for audio, video and control in the shape of the Q-Sys ecosystem bears investigation.

Deniz says: “With our design philosophy, we look at products and evaluate them to see if they can deliver an end-to-end solution. The product must have the capabilities of carrying the entire load. Usually when you have the load distributed across multiple boxes, the integration work increases, and the points of possible failure also increase. If everything is managed by a single system, and the single system is robust enough to handle the load, we are much more comfortable with this scenario.”

Sharma adds: “There is a myth while using products such as Q-Sys that control and automation need to be external, they cannot be intrinsic. That’s not true. What we have achieved and shown with this project, is that with the right design approach and the right integration expertise, you can get intuitive control that gels with the rest of the systems you have deployed.”

With the QSC Q-Sys ecosystem being such an essential part of the deployed solution, Sharma gives his thoughts on how the decision was made to go in this direction: “There’s a difference in how IT approaches systems on the network compared to how AV approaches systems on the network. IT looks at all the peripherals as being part of one custom space and then having the flexibility and ability to configure these peripherals according to the requirements.

From the AV world, QSC is the only company that is looking at things the way that an IT company would. This isn’t just reflected in their products, but also the surrounding pieces, where they are trying to build a developer community and making resources available to professionals on Github.”

Parab from Godrej AV Solutions says: “The biggest challenge we faced was time. When the budget was handed over and the work was meant to start, immediately Ramadan started. And from there, we went into the disruption caused by Covid-19. So, in addition to the work, we had to make sure that we were taking all necessary precautions against the pandemic and following all the regulations. Thankfully, we had planned for ‘buffer’ manpower and deploying that helped us to achieve the timelines and the deadlines.”

Deniz concludes: “For this project, it was almost like we were working with two clients. We had the local Veritas team, who were the ones experiencing the pain points and looking at possible solutions to ease the problems. But any proposed solutions still had to comply with the direction of the global Veritas team based out of the US. We recognised this early and made sure that we delivered work that met the expectations of both these stakeholders. Whenever we proposed a solution, we put together a comparison with the active standards to illustrate the positive impact the new solution would have. This approach did pay dividends because initially the idea was to go with Crestron but our work was able to convince them to deviate and transition to QSC Q-Sys which ended up being a core part of the project.”

Article Categories

Most Viewed