Integrators at war: How Leater needs your help in Ukraine

Integrators at war: How Leater needs your help in Ukraine
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, AV integrator, Leater continues to stand up to tyranny. Reece Webb finds out how Leater is carrying on the struggle and how you can help.

Nine months ago, Russia unleashed a brutal war against Ukraine. Today, systems integrator and GPA member Leater, carries on the struggle as Russian terrorism brings blackouts and a rain of missiles over Kyiv.

When the war began, Leater worked tirelessly to overcome the threat of invasion, installing projectors in subway stations to occupy children caught under bombardment and supporting the army with a mobile drone station to take the fight to the enemy. Inavate spoke with Leater at length, detailing their experiences from the start of the Russian invasion. 

In Kyiv today, the threat has evolved: Winter is creeping across the country as Russia continues to mercilessly bomb Ukrainian power supplies. Daily power blackouts across Kyiv have plunged the city into darkness, illuminated only by the streaks of Russian cruise missiles and the flashes of Ukrainian air defences.

The scene is apocalyptic, but for the Leater team on the ground in Kyiv, life presses on with new issues and challenges for the company and its brave team. 

Dmytro Melchenko, CMO, Leater, explained: “Some of our team members, including one of our engineers, have been mobilised to join the army. We have contracts with an energy company in Ukraine, and our engineers work on energy plans under Russian rocket attacks. It’s stressful for them and a huge responsibility for us as a company. This is combined with difficulties with payments, because people today are earning less than before the war.

“We work with our employees in a new way, they get only commissions as we have had to cut our fixed costs and pay salary to only some people. This money, of course, is not enough, all management personnel don’t get salary anymore as we work only for commission now.”

Virtual warfare 

The fight continues at the frontline and even here in Kyiv, away from the gruesome frontlines, Leater plays its part in supporting the effort to train Ukrainian troops to drive Russian aggression back beyond the border.

“We have an ongoing project with the ministry of defence, but it’s not an AV project. We are providing a system for weapons training, delivering a special simulator system for training military personnel on Javelin, Stinger and NLAW systems. We got a contract with a partner company, and we are now the official provider of this solution in Ukraine now.

“Our partner company makes special copies of the weapons, install special simulator equipment on to them and students engage enemy tanks on the screen in a realistic way. They even have ballistic calculators that calculate the wind, weather conditions as well as a dynamic floor to create difficult conditions for firing.”

The blackouts, of course, cause huge issues for a company that works with technology. Despite intense Russian efforts to cut Ukrainians off from electricity and heat, Leater remains defiant by working with the schedule put forth by Ukrainian energy companies, setting up negotiations and meetings around the scheduled blackouts that plague the country.

Of course, Leater isn’t taking this lying down as Melchenko explains: “We have built backups everywhere, in our office and at home. We have co-working spaces in Kyiv where we can work when the electricity and internet is switched off. We have also ordered Starlink satellite-internet systems to keep up our work. We have to work around this all the while also finding time to use electricity in our personal lives: Cooking, washing and so on. It’s not so simple!”

Today, there are no restrictions on importation of AV equipment. During the first few months of war, most AV equipment was hit by import restrictions and no equipment was available on stock.

“AV, of course, is an investment in the development of a company, but companies are only thinking of staying alive now. We are also fulfilling maintenance contracts to keep equipment running in existing setups. Service contracts have been supporting us and help us to continue our business.”

Despite every hardship and a dramatic decline in business, Leater is also engaging in charity projects to help however it can. One stand out example are two orphanage projects currently underway in Kyiv, as there are currently too few orphanages in the country. One orphanage is under construction and another, The Living Pearl in the Kirovohrad region, currently requires renovation. All funding is provided through donations as no state aid is available for these projects.

The Living Pearl Orphanage desperately requires new AV equipment for its educational facilities. 

“We’re working closely with a real-estate developer and now they are building an orphanage. They asked us if we could provide them with some AV and security systems for the orphanage. We are going to work with both of these institutions, both with the existing one and with the new one that will be built, because both have not got enough AV equipment for education.

“We’ve made a quotation of the items they need: smart boards [for teaching], projectors, interactive screens, laptops and a security system [cameras, access control system etc.]”

A 3D rendition of the proposed orphanage.

You can help

Leater continue to do amazing work across Ukraine, and you can help Leater to complete this orphanage project and support the children with new or used equipment.

Melchenko explains: “We’ve calculated what we need and have found some smart boards and some parts of the audio systems and security system, but we are looking for the rest. If anybody has used equipment that is in good, working condition, then we can put it to work in this project. We’re also looking for financial support to buy some materials, equipment and fund staff.

“If you have the opportunity, we ask you to look in your warehouses for equipment that you think may fit according to the specification. We are ready to organise the process of transferring the equipment to the customer. For all project participants, we will prepare and provide a photo/video report on the completed works and the transfer of the complex to the children, we will make appropriate branding of the equipment and talk about the project in local media and social networks. We are grateful to you for the support and help you provide to our country and we thank everyone who will join our project in advance.”

To donate funds, please visit: https://www.fundsurfer.com/crowdfund/ukraine-av-fundraiser 

To donate AV equipment, please contact: inavate@imlgroup.co.uk 

Photo credit: diy13, Shutterstock.com

 






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