Located in Manchester’s city centre, Bruntwood Neo opened its doors in March 2017, an extensive redevelopment of the former Bank’s house, transforming the site into a 21st century collaborative workspace. A highly sought-after environment for flexible working, Neo let 100% of its all-inclusive small studio spaces upon launching, and several high-profile clients including Microsoft, Jaguar Land Rover and Peak have taken permanent residence in the upper floor spaces.
Bruntwood’s Head of Digital, Jamie Boulger, got in touch with AVM to augment Neo’s first floor with impressive, fit for purpose AV technology that would enhance the site and solidify its position as the workspace of the future.
The AVM Solution
Meeting Room 1A
Meeting Room 1A provides essential functions such as video conferencing and presenting, both wired and wireless. And the technology enclosed within was chosen to further exemplify Bruntwood’s vision of empowering clients through flexible working. The notion that a visitor can book a room without requiring any training to use the equipment, and the awareness that any device – laptop PC/Mac, Android/iOS phone or tablet – may be brought along and used for video conferencing or presenting. Therefore, the solution needed to take an agnostic approach, accounting for an unlimited number of potential platforms to maximise compatibility.
Firstly, a table cubby was fitted to house retractable HDMI and VGA cables, allowing the visitor a quick, trusted method of connecting a laptop and delivering a presentation to the screen. Spare USB ports are also provided for charging phones and other electronic devices.
However, to free visitors from the need to have their devices tethered through cables, Clickshare devices were supplied – an easy to use, plug and play, wireless presenting system. All the user has to do is connect the USB touch pad into their laptop, run the portable program and press the button –content will now be viewable on-screen. Alternatively, a dedicated app is available to enable presenting from a mobile device.
System interaction is provided by an easy-to-use AMX touch panel and provides functionality such as source selection, volume control, blinds and power ON/OFF.
For Video Conferencing, a high-definition Polycom camera, featuring a wide FOV to ensure coverage of all participants in the room, was installed and can be conveniently connected via the camera HDMI cable found in the table cubby. To take advantage of this in video calls, the user simply launches their trusted VC platform and sets the camera as the input device – elevating thier ad-hoc meeting to the next level. Additionally, a Lifesize remote control was supplied that allows the flexibility to pan, tilt and zoom to focus on particular attendees or items of interest.
TeamConnect Wireless Microphone pods are also available for larger meetings where laptop audio is insufficient. These can be placed as necessary around the table to ensure full coverage of all speakers.
For the main lounge area, AVM fitted a projector with an integrated, ceiling recessed screen to complement Neo’s sleek, minimalist interior design. This would ensure the space of the lounge remained uncluttered and attractive, as much of Neo’s draw lies in the aura and character of its environment.
A speaker simply presses the button on the in-built Wall Keypad to activate and the screen will descend elegantly from the ceiling. Also built in is a convenient HDMI/VGA Wall Plate with associated cables, used for connecting a laptop as an instant method of presenting content to the screen.
Additionally, a WePresent Wireless Presenting unit was installed as an alternate means of connectivity, opening up the stage to multiple participants, as up to four people can connect at the same time, take advantage of WePresent’s split-screen functionality and present simultaneously. Once again, the goal was to approach the system design holistically, providing the simplest tools that would suit the differing needs of clients and devices they bring. Wireless Presenting accommodates a vast array of Android / iOS phones and tablets, expanding the possibilities.
For the projection itself, a crucial consideration was the bright ambient lighting conditions of the Lounge itself, positioned adjacently to the outdoor terrace area. As such, AVM selected a high-grade Optoma with a HD output, 3100 lumens and a 10,000:1 contrast ratio for pin sharp graphics and crystal-clear text, capable of the handling the surroundings.
Lounge audio comprises of a CD Player and Denon Wireless Streaming System, that can be separated into two distinct zones. This takes into account the length of the Lounge so, for instance, the CD player can be assigned to the Kitchen area to loop background music, while the Denon can be set to the Projection area to accompany a presentation. Wireless Streaming is as simple as connecting to the device via WiFi and AirPlaying music from your phone (DLNA is also available for Android users).
The outdoor Terrace area provides a relaxed environment to work or eat, especially in the summer months, and also functions as an event space. Two quirky AllSee Digital Signage screens were installed under the canopy to provide entertainment through Freeview, wired presenting as well as an additional WePresent to allow concurrent wireless presentations without affecting the Projection area.
The screens can be controlled from a custom designed, Bruntwood-branded touch panel found in the Store Room – this includes essential source selection, volume control, lectern microphone operation and power ON/OFF.
AVM commissioned Neo’s stunning art wall, which visitors are greeted with upon first entering Neo. The wall consists of 30 x 55” screens stylishly embedded into the architecture of the building. The art wall lends an all-important wow factor to prospective clients considering Neo as the place for their business, but is also used to exhibit the work of local Mancunian artists on a seasonal basis – whose content then plays every day. Therefore, ensuring the wall looks as impressive and runs as smoothly as possible is of great imperative to Art Coordinator, Simon Bushell.
AVM provides extended support through cloud content management, maintenance of BrightSign and Datapath units, and troubleshooting.
We got in touch with Simon to get his feedback:
When Bruntwood redeveloped Neo, it was reimagined to create a home for a contemporary work culture: a collaborative workspace by design. Creative businesses were invited occupy the building and drive innovation.
Socially, digitally, and physically connected, Neo is a fresh take on what people expect from their workplace, and what they bring to it.
During the design phase of the project Bruntwood recognized that Neo was the perfect place for a dedicated digital art space, both reflecting and enhancing that ethos.
To help in developing what became known as the Digital Art Space, Bruntwood turned to AVM, with whom we had already worked on a range of more traditional projects. We needed their technical support during the design phase, and once we were up and running their ongoing help with content management has been invaluable.
Since its launch in early 2017, The Digital Art Space at Neo has been a huge success. We have now showcased a wide range of work from emerging and established artists – bringing work and art together under one roof. AVM have played a key role in that success, and Bruntwood couldn’t recommend them more highly.