Mission: Create Social Collisions
Build new headquarters in downtown Montreal. Bring in 1,100 staff from other sites in the city. Empower them with the technology tools that help them easily work together and serve clients better than ever.
These were the goals of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which serves Canadian entrepreneurs that need expert banking services. And it was a challenge that faced AVI-SPL, which was called upon to design and integrate the new facility’s AV and collaboration systems.
For their new home, BDC leaders wanted to foster a sense of belonging among employees and give them the ability to collaborate. The combination of design and technology would have to create “social collisions.”
That term is what Martin Dorais, AVP of real estate and facilities management for BDC, uses to describe a vision where the facility and its technology encourage impromptu meetings. Those meeting then generate innovative ideas so team members can do their best work.
By outfitting the building’s spaces with collaborative technology, BDC would promote entrepreneurship among its employees, offer its clients a space where they can interact with their representatives, and connect those in the head office with colleagues on and off site.
“We wanted technology that had a wow factor and would be user friendly for all,” says Yanick Martin, senior project manager for BDC.
During the procurement process, AVI-SPL proposed a creative set of designs and solutions that showed BDC different ways to realize its goals.
“What impressed me most about AVI-SPL was their versatility and all the options they provided to us,” says Martin.
Action: Proof of Concept
Throughout the project, AVI-SPL worked with BDC’s AV project team and IT department on the design elements and led the integration of its solutions.
Their efforts included the deployment of video conferencing in most of the headquarters’ conference rooms, as well as its boardroom, training center, and open collaboration spaces.
“We designed the spaces to lead to better collaboration and better innovation from our employees,” says Dorais.
Those areas are equipped for collaborative meetings with colleagues and clients that are on-site or off premises, including hundreds of BDC branch locations.
To show BDC the kind of collaboration that would be possible, AVI-SPL created a proof-of-concept collaboration room where BDC employees could use the proposed AV and video collaboration systems. Their positive response and recommendations about the experience paved the way for a successful project.
“It allowed us to create smart rooms that met BDC’s specific requirements,” says Kevin McCoubrey, AVI-SPL senior account manager.
Those requirements included Cisco video conferencing.
“Cisco has been working with BDC for many years, and we wanted to make sure that relationship stayed,” says McCoubrey.
In over 80 meeting rooms, BDC employees and clients use Cisco SX80 TelePresence systems to take part in video collaboration calls where attendees are seen and heard in real time.
Those rooms also feature Mersive Solstice, which allows multiple presenters to wirelessly share content from their personal devices to a meeting-room display. Because Mersive Solstice is on a separate network, BDC protects its internal company network. Mersive also gives BDC the ability to display shared content in English and French – essential for its bilingual office.
Likewise, Crestron offered a custom platform that lets BDC make French and English versions of its control interface to manage capabilities in every meeting room. The company also liked Crestron’s ability to integrate the control of multiple functions and the flexibility it gave BDC to create its own interface. AVI-SPL and BDC designed the Crestron 10-inch touch panels so that users can control presentations, video conferencing and smart boarding.
“We wanted something that was really user friendly,” says Martin. “We developed our menus on a use-case basis.”
AMX HydraPorts connect HDMI cables to the conference-room tables, so that meeting participants can quickly connect their personal devices to a room’s main display in case there’s a problem with the wireless connection. This also makes it easy for users to recharge their devices during long meetings.
As it considered the LCD displays for the public areas and conference rooms, BDC wanted them to be aesthetically clean and reliable. Throughout the building’s various spaces, NEC’s thin-bezel and standard displays meet these requirements, allowing BDC to mount those displays on walls of various sizes.
With each type of solution – displays, video conferencing, presentations systems, control panels – AVI-SPL adjusted its approach by listening to what BDC’s employees had to say about their functionality.
“AVI-SPL’s design team was really knowledgeable,” says Martin. “They were quick to understand our needs and adapt along the way. That shows their strength.”
Impact: High-level Collaboration
To prepare its employees for acclimating to the new headquarters and using its abundance of solutions, BDC led a series of onboarding workshops. Those workshops helped staff get comfortable with the technology and realize they now have the tools to improve the way they work and how well they deliver the company’s value.
Staff and their guests can bring almost any device into one of the meeting areas and be ready to collaborate. That means productivity for employees and making a positive impression on clients.
“The core of the solution puts the customer experience at the center of it,” says Benoit Lavictoire, AVI-SPL general manager.
Dorais estimates that over 90 percent of the employees have reacted favorably to the new headquarters and its technology systems. Coworkers, many of whom didn’t previously interact with one another, are now working together within their new home and with colleagues at 124 BDC branches throughout Canada.
“Technology has enabled us to collaborate at a much better level,” says Dorais.