Safety first at Arco

A move to a new HQ for safety firm Arco saw the integrator lead the client to a solution filled with BYOD and collaboration tech.

Established in 1884, Hull headquartered Arco has a long history of keeping people safe. Due to a reconfiguration of the city’s transport system Arco’s existing office was the subject of a compulsory purchase order by the local authority, and the search for a new building in the city of Hull led them to the site of the old Blackfriargate fruit market. Planning for the new office and collaborative workspace began in 2019, and after a period of evaluation of different AV companies, Arco chose Visavvi for the design, installation and support of AV technologies.

Arco wanted to create a showcase office with technology at the heart of business collaboration and communication. They were committed to using the RingCentral platform says Steve Gore-Browne, account manager, Visavvi. “They wanted each room to have an iPad dedicated to running (the cloud communications platform) RingCentral. But once we'd had discussions with them about what they could do, they quickly realised there was a massive benefit in actually having these rooms agnostic, so they could run any comms platform.” The client wanted a seamless AV experience says Gore-Browne. “So no matter what floor you're on , or which department you are in within Arco, you can walk into a room and seamlessly, without any training, host a video call and collaborate with suppliers or colleagues from a meeting room, but with the flexibility of doing it from the user’s own device.” The dual benefit of designing AV systems like that is not only the performance benefits the end users achieve, but also the cost savings of doing that at the same time, “rather than putting dedicated PCs or iPads and making that system work,” adds Gore-Browne.

Following several detailed discovery meetings, key technology pillars were identified and agreed upon. Visavvi then designed a range of environments to meet Arco’s needs. With more than 1,600 colleagues nationwide and up to 600 based or working from Blackfriargate, it is vital that a digital signage system provides content internally to colleagues and externally to visiting customers across 15 different screens. Crucially the system needed to allow multiple content providers to independently create and provide content to the system. Visavvi specified Onelan CMS, which has the capability of managing and distributing content securely over the corporate LAN, providing ample scalability for future expansion to other offices.

Room booking and monitoring is handled again by Onelan, this time via its Reserva Edge product. Dotted around the building are 33 Reserva 10-in panels installed outside meeting rooms and shared collaboration spaces. It provides at-a-glance room availability, room capacity, room equipment capabilities and, when integrated to Onelan CMS, can be used to display digital signage content.

Collaboration facilities were key to Arco, as an existing RingCentral user it uses the platform extensively for its desktop telephony, messaging and video communications. To maximise the use and capabilities of the platform, Visavvi recommended a range of Poly video collaboration products that could be used with the RingCentral ecosystem. Deployed across several room configurations, the Poly products provide a quality video and audio experience to all meeting participants. In the larger boardroom, a Poly G7500, combined with a camera tracking Poly EagleEye Director and Biamp audio system, were installed.
In a series of formal and informal meeting spaces, collaboration hubs, huddle and breakout meeting spaces, Arco wanted to provide comprehensive AV, presentation and communication capabilities for its teams. It was important that each space was simple to use so that visiting colleagues were able to use the spaces quickly without the need for specialist training or instruction. Barco Clickshare Conference CX30’s were installed in each room. CX devices, when connected with third-party video collaboration hardware such as the Poly Studio, allow users to use the room's camera, microphone and speaker, wirelessly, through the Clickshare USB button to their laptop.

Arco was keen to make a statement by creating a highly-flexible, technology-rich environment that was multipurpose. Seating 16 people in boardroom configuration and over 60 in auditorium layout, the room is an impressive meeting, presentation and video collaboration space. Centered around an 6 x 9 Philips videowall, powered by a Datapath processer, the space is used for internal meetings and customer briefings. The vast majority of technology is hidden in a bespoke credenza, built to order by Visavvi. “We got the wood colours from the design team and built it to match exactly with the boardroom furniture,” adds Gore-Browne. The AV hidden within the credenza is accessible via a bespoke programmed Extron matrix content switcher and touch screen control system.

Collaboration in the boardroom is handled via a Poly G7500, with a Poly EagleEye Director providing automatic camera tracking.

An additional Angekis ceiling-mounted pan/tilt/zoom and autofocus camera is placed at the rear of the room and is used when delivering front-of-room training and briefing sessions. Content sharing is once again supported via a Barco Clickshare CX30, with extra additional Clickshare pucks so that multiple participants can display their content simultaneously on the huge videowall. Designed around a flexible AV matrix switching infrastructure, meeting participants can select any AV input and select where the content is displayed on the videowall.

With the movable dividing wall retracted, the space opens up to increase the capacity of the room creating a larger auditorium suitable for company briefings, training and large group presentations. Within the annex area repeater screens were installed to ensure participants could see content clearly across the whole space.

The reception area was a later addition to the early plans, and has been designed with a 12 x 55-in videowall to provide visual impact. To enable the space to be used for town hall meetings and announcements, Visavvi installed several Extron ceiling speakers and a Sennheiser wireless microphone system. Additional display devices were located in a coffee waiting area and the reception desk to provide further information points for visitors.

“From the onset, this was very much a collaborative project with our team working closely with Arco’s specialists. During the design phase, multiple discovery meetings were undertaken where the final system design specifications and concepts were discussed and agreed upon. The delays caused by Covid in the early planning stages ended up being an advantage,” says Gore-Browne. “We had time to sit down and work it all out, it was meticulously planned so that when we were able to get on site it went in seamlessly. “We provided M&E drawings for each room, and then got those to the relevant contractors to make sure everything was right for each area.” Detailed planning was key to the installation running smoothly adds Gore-Browne.

Going forward Visavvi has a service contract to make sure any issues are dealt with swiftly. The relationship between the client and integrator is clearly strong as this final quote from Daniel Spurgeon, head of IT, Arco, illustrates; “After months of collaboration what Visavvi delivered has gone down really well with the board and the wider business. The feedback we’ve had has been excellent. Going from the old ways of working to the new, Visavvi have helped that transition seamlessly.”


Extron ceiling speakers
Sennheiser microphones

Barco Clickshare CX30, Clickshare CSE-200
Datapath videowall processors
Extron Button Control Panel
Onelan digital signage players, Reserva Edge room booking display
Poly Studio, Studio array mic expansion, Studio X50
Unicol mounts

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