Collaboration innovation at Abcam's global HQ

Collaboration, smart meetings and one of the largest NVX and Q-Sys deployments come together seamlessly at the heart of an Inavation Award winning global headquarters. Reece Webb finds out what makes this huge project prosper.

Biological research tool manufacturer Abcam put collaboration at the heart of its life sciences research hub in the UK, enlisting the help of consultancy Hoare Lea to design a comprehensive AVoIP system, one of the first full AVoIP installations in the UK with a fully flexible and networked Dante audio system, smart room control and a comprehensive IPTV deployment.

Originally spread across 
three UK sites Abcam made the decision to bring all three facilities into one global headquarters, allowing Abcam’s staff to work, talk and collaborate with life sciences and pharmaceutical companies easily with a consistent user experience that remains almost identical throughout the facility.

James Cooper, senior AV engineer, Hoare Lea explained:“Abcam [is] an innovative company, so it wanted to use technology to make a progressive space with a focus on meeting room and office space AV to allow local and remote collaboration with video conferencing systems."

Hoare Lea joined the project towards the end of stage three in the development of the research hub, limiting time to design,install and validate the system as Cooper said: “We pushed through various concepts and gave them ideas and inspiration.This developed very quickly through to what kind of AV systems it wanted and needed.

"The initial brief was quite 
loose and we worked through our stage three package to develop the brief itself.”The system that Hoare Lea designed was both comprehensive and gargantuan in size, incorporating 43 meeting and conference rooms in varying sizes, interactive wayfinding, laboratory meeting rooms, a games room, mobile presentation room and a building-wide IPTV system.

Automation of input/output routing and equipment was akey requirement, with a simpleuser interface design on Crestron in-room control panels, as well as extensive Crestron Fusionand Q-Sys integration.

The installation would incorporate one of the largest Crestron NVX and QSC Q-Sys installations undertaken in the UK and required the help of Snelling Business Systems to deliver and install the system onsite, as Kevin Madeja, technical director, Snelling explained: “We got on the bid list for this project through a recommendation from a previous client at Cambridge.

“In the facility, there are 37 meeting rooms, public spaces with digital signage like the cafe, and then they've got a games room. The two basic rooms are the small meeting rooms with three large conference presentation rooms,which are super critical to their operations because they'll be used for departmental or company wide meetings.

The meeting rooms are designed for informal interactions; come in various sizes for two, three, four and eight people; and are built to a set standard to maintain synergy throughout the building.

NEC HD displays (supported by Future Automation AM display wall mounts) and speakers are included with an NEC custom built OPS slot PC for futureproofing.

QSC 6.5-in 
two-way ceiling speakers, Shure MXA310B table microphones, Crestron AMP amplifiers and a wall-mounted 7-in Crestron touch panel with room environmental controls to change the temperature and lighting are also integrated in the spaces.

A QSC I/O bridge is 
included for camera and audio routing via AVoIP with audio conferencing handled via Cisco Call Manager. 


Cooper said: “It’s a standardised approach.Rooms would have the same videoconferencing suite for that commonality of user experience,giving the end user consistency of the control interface, the facilities and the quality of the screen and the audio.

The idea 
is that once you've learned how to use one room, you should be able to use any room, you want to have a very similar user experience.”Users of the rooms can also email ‘snapshots’ of the whiteboard surface in the room after a meeting concludes. Wall-mounted Kaptivo cameras capture the surface when the option is selected via a Crestron 

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