Ready to serve at AmRest in Poland

A local integrator was tasked with providing technology that was ‘one living organism’ for a new office complex for a huge food chain in Poland. Paul Milligan reports.

You may not know the AmRest name, but the chances are you will have visited one of its sites and bought something at one in the last 12 months. AmRest is one of the largest restaurant operators in Europe and manages sites for some of the most famous brands in the world such as KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Burger King. To give you an idea of its scale, AmRest owns 2,430 restaurants in 25 countries around the world, employing over 48,000 people.

In order to meet the demands of customers and staff, AmRest has a network of offices across Europe, one addition to its fleet is a new office complex in Wroclaw, Poland. Called Centrum Poludnie (The South Centre), it consists of five buildings in total, combining offices, educational space, leisure and shopping. Given the task of delivering the AV for this project was local system integrator A+V. Following a successful tender process, A+V began a design process to accommodate the client’s desire for one global AV standard. What was the original brief to A+V in those first client meetings? “An important aspect was the unification of equipment, which means that every meeting room looks the same. In addition, this office was to accommodate requirements of hybrid work, which means there must be Microsoft Teams videoconferencing facilities in every meeting space for more than four people,” said Krzysztof Grzegorzek, project manager, A+V. “Conference room automation, to work alongside the BMS (Building Management System) and the use of professional devices were also important in this project,” he adds.

The scope of A+V’s involvement in this project encompasses videoconferencing (Crestron Flex with Teams), AV systems for presentation, control and management systems (Crestron), room reservation system (Crestron), audio based on Dante and QSC products and the preparation of a wide range of guidelines for the local AmRest IT department, “this included our requirements for the LAN sub-network operation to support the AV infrastructure,” adds Ireneusz Mozejko, technical team, A+V.

A+V was tasked with the design and installation of AV in a variety of spaces within the AmRest office in Wroclaw. These include small meeting rooms for up to 4 people, medium meeting rooms for up to 6, 8 and 10 people, large meeting rooms for up to 16 people, a staff canteen with a Town Hall meeting function and a boardroom.

A room reservation system was designed to make it easier for staff to plan, organise and attend meetings throughout the office. There are tabletop mediaports installed in all meeting rooms, these include HDMI cables and power sockets hidden under flaps. The proliferation of HDMI cables mean that any laptop can be connected to the AV system, this enables the presentation of content from a PC onto the display screen, or projection onto an motorised projection screen. “It was important that the connection system is compatible with all models of laptops. Our experience shows that HDMI is very common in our clients’ offices,” adds Filip Konik, AV system designer, A+V. Power sockets on tables enable charging a laptop on a table as “it’s much more comfortable for the user than reaching out to floorboxes or wall sockets”.

Small rooms (up to four people) have been designed in an ‘Offline’ standard, including basic AV equipment for multimedia presentation of content from a PC onto a display screen. Images are transmitted via HDMI cables in the table onto an LG LCD 4K 55-in display screen. Display screen speakers are used for sound in the rooms.

A room automation system designed by the A+V team has been installed in the medium meeting rooms (for six, eight or ten people). Once a user walks into the room, they only need to tap anywhere on a touchpanel to activate the AV system. The display screen switches on with the current time, turns the videoconferencing system on and, thanks to connection with BMS, the lighting in the room turns on as well. Once a meeting is finished all devices go into standby mode after five minutes of any activity in the room, which results in the automatic AV system switch-off. This automation is driven by a bespoke configuration of Crestron Flex, created by A+V’s programmers.

All meeting rooms have been designed to accommodate videoconferencing. Designed in an ‘Online’ standard, this means that a user’s laptop is not necessary to start a video meeting, the meeting can be started by pushing a single button on a dedicated touchscreen (again, driven by a bespoke videoconferencing codec), permanently located in the room. The meeting rooms have been equipped with Crestron Flex videoconferencing sets, which natively work on Microsoft Teams. This set includes a 10-in table touch screen with Teams to manage a videoconference, a camera, speaker and microphone integrated in a soundbar located under the display screen, and a 150-degree wide angle camera to provide clear audio and visibility of all participants, as well as camera tracking of participants. Professional LG displays are installed in every meeting room, 55-in models for the small meeting rooms up to six people, 66-in models for meeting rooms up to eight people, and 75-in models for meeting rooms up to ten people.

There are also two divisible meeting rooms. Each of them consists of two smaller meeting rooms, which can be used as one combined space, or two independent meeting rooms. There you will find a Sony 85-in display screen installed on a ceiling mount in one of the smaller rooms, and a Sony projector with motorised 123-in screen in the other room. There are video-conferencing sets installed in each room, in the form of Crestron Flex (a 10-in touch panel and a soundbar) natively working on Microsoft Teams application.

A+V also made sure there was an appropriate sound system to meet the specific demands of a divisible rooms. Four Crestron speakers have been installed, which can work both in separate room mode and a combined space scenario. Sennheiser handheld microphones are also available in the space for speech amplification. Both divided rooms have been equipped with a central control and management system. Videoconferencing touch panels (again Crestron Flex) allow for AV system management and are the interface the end user sees. Users can manage videoconferencing connections, lighting in the room (thanks to the integration with BMS) and AV system functionalities such as volume level, turn the projector and motorised screen on/off and the display on/off, all using the touch panel. The AV system in this space is automated (as rooms above) with a dedicated application and Crestron Flex devices. The system is activated from a touch panel and switches into standby mode after five minutes of inactivity. The touch panel also controls and manages the switch between two separate rooms into one combined space.

A staff canteen has been designed as a multi-functional space. It is a place for staff to eat together and meet during breaks, but is also home to large company meetings, where it becomes a Town Hall space. These events are accessible for remote participants and can be streamed online, meeting the demand for hybrid working. The Town Hall space can be managed from a keypad installed on the wall, and can control lighting, audio and turn the projector on/off. The control in the room has been simplified so that no technical support is required to manage this space. Images are shown on a 123-in motorised screen and Sony laser projector. Any device connected via HDMI cable in the floorbox can be a content source in this system. The audio in the room is based on mobile JBL speaker set and a wireless microphone.

A boardroom space is for leadership and higher management meetings. It has been equipped with a videoconferencing set in the ‘Online’ standard (consistent with other meeting rooms) with an automated system switch on/off function. Images are shown on an 85-in display screen and, due to the long and narrow nature of the room, A+V installed two additional 55-in screens on ceiling mounts halfway down the room so each meeting participant can clearly see the content presented by the speaker. Sennheiser ceiling array microphones ensure intelligibility during video meetings, alongside a Poly Eagle Eye Director 2 camera which follows the person speaking at the time. This also serves as a mini video mixer, enabling image transmission from two cameras, independently adjusting the picture to show the person speaking at the time.

Audio throughout the project is distributed and managed via Dante. All meeting rooms in the AmRest office are connected with a room reservation system. There is a 7-in Crestron touch panel installed next to each door, showing the name of room, how long the room is occupied for, and room availability later on that day/week. Users can book rooms via their own laptops thanks to the integration of Office 365, Google Calendar, or G Suite, etc.

A Crestron Fusion service oversees the operation of the room reservation system and manages AV devices. Management software especially prepared by A+V enables the management of room reservations, informs the IT about system faults and allows for remote repairs. It also collects data and generates reports for the IT team and makes it possible to prevent further faults. The Crestron Fusion system collects data about meeting room usage and information about the use of devices (i.e. frequency of AV system usage during the meetings). In addition, the room reservation system is integrated with the Crestron Fusion service, enabling presentation of information about the meeting rooms availability and upcoming meetings on the display screen in the office reception area.

There were two main challenges in this project for A+V to overcome says Grzegorzek. The first was the integration of all components and technologies in ‘one living organism’. Within the system structure there is a central control unit in the server room on each floor. This is integrated with a building automation system. Stacked processors also play a very important role in data exchange between the room reservation system and the digital signage display screen installed in the reception area on the highest floor of the office.” The second challenge was the commissioning of a Fusion server in a Microsoft Azure virtual machine, “This was not difficult, but it required an intense cooperation with AmRest IT department (who were very responsive thankfully). Thanks to the dedication of both AmRest and the A+V team we have created and implemented a solution that is tailored to the client’s requirements, whilst respecting a number of limitations related to the company’s security policy.”

Installation took three months, and kit was tested off-site beforehand to avoid any “bad surprises” says Konik. “We have a specially prepared testing room where we can test particular devices or even full systems or configurations. All systems we implemented in the AmRest project have been through initial build stage in our office, then rigidly checked from the correct operation perspective before being accepted for deployment.”

Going forward A+V has an SLA service programme with AmRest to keep a close eye on AV system maintenance says Grzegorzek. “As part of that we have implemented a remote management system through Crestron XiO Cloud, which improves the effectiveness and speed of problem solving.” Shortly after project completion A+V also conducted a training session for the client, “from very basic ones for the end user, to the more advanced ones for the IT team, to boost AV system adoption and so the AmRest staff can enjoy a stable and reliable infrastructure to be at their best, in the hybrid work environment,” adds Mozejko.



Crestron ceiling speaker pendants, AMP-1200-100 amplifiers
JBL EON610 loudspeakers
Sennheiser XSW 1-825 wireless mics, TeamConnect ceiling array mics
QSC Q-SYS Core 110f v2 processors

Adeo black frame 123-in projection screens
Atlona AT-HDR-H2H-44MA presentation switches
Audinate Dante AVIO adapters
Crestron C2NI-CB-A-T keypad, CP3 control system, 7-in room reservation panels
Kramer TBUS-3xl table mediaports
LG 55-in, 65-in, 75-in, 85-in UHD displays
Sony WUXGA VPL-PHZ10 laser projectors
QSC Q-SYS I/O-USB bridges

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