Bromsgrove District Housing Trust Case Study
Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (bdht) is the largest provider of affordable housing in the Worcestershire town and its surrounding area.
It manages a portfolio of well over 4,000 properties, available for rent or shared ownership. The social housing not-for-profit is also rated as an excellent employer having topped the medium category rankings in the UK’s Best Workplaces survey.
Whilst already working towards a hybrid working model, like many businesses bdht saw its hand forced by Covid.
This saw staff being asked to work from home, with meetings being held remotely over Microsoft Teams. The suddenness of that switch left staff dealing with fairly basic meeting room technology.
“We used to have just a laptop installed in the board and training room, with a projector sharing the screen,” recalls ICT Manager, Adrian Dudley. “What we needed was a solution that would allow us to see what was going on in the room and everyone in it, who was talking.
“It needed to be clear and easy to contribute to a meeting, whether people were physically in the office or working virtually.” Initially bdht upgraded to a simple videoconferencing set-up, but this proved inadequate when the divisible board and training room was used to its full extent.
“It worked quite well for a small meeting but the second you put it in the middle of the boardroom it became really hard to see who was in the room, where people were talking from. It was very difficult for those working remotely.” Adrian wanted a solution that would deliver equitable engagement, creating a level playing field for all meeting participants.
“The main requirements were good value for money, that people working from home could really see what was going on and participate equally with those in the office,” says Adrian.
“We also wanted to be able to use both halves of the board and training room, separately and in tandem.” In search of the perfect solution, he approached three suppliers before selecting Avoira. He based that decision on the quality of the technology specified, the provision of expert advice and our flexibility in meeting bdht’s needs. Our specialist team recommended implementation of Yealink’s dual camera MVC940 Microsoft Teams Rooms system for extra large rooms.
To further promote equitable engagement they also specified Yealink’s UVC86 4k dual-eye tracking camera. With 12-times optical zoom and 90° field of view, this smart piece of kit captures high-definition pictured of every person in the room, even when zoomed in.
Completing the package were three 75” LG 75UR640S commercial signage TVs. These deliver UHD picture quality and are designed for use with AV control and Display Power Management systems. “One supplier simply wanted to go for the cheapest solution which we didn’t think would work for us. Another specified a different vendor’s meeting room system with particular TV screens and weren’t flexible with their quote” reports Adrian.
In contrast he found Avoira’s business development manager, Carla Grosvenor to be “really good throughout the whole process, really responsive.” He explained: “She was flexible with the quote, spent time to make sure the tech guys understood our requirements. She revised the original quote for us but still managed to get us a solution that worked well for our rooms within the available budget.”
Adrian is impressed with Avoira’s Yealink-centred solution. “It’s a massive improvement on what we had before” he reports. “The camera quality is excellent. You can see everybody within the room, and it tracks the speaker, which is really good. “The sound is also very high quality. When you’re working from home you can hear everything that’s going on in the room.”
He also rates the collaboration-enhancing capabilities of Yealink’s WPP20 network media streaming adapter which is incorporated as standard within the MVC940 bundle. The Avoira solution is enabling equal participation even when up to 40 people are in a meeting, physically and remotely. That’s true whether the room is portioned for smaller groups or at full capacity. “All staff feel part of a meeting, that they can fully contribute to it.” He commends the system’s ease of use, pointing to the 15 minutes it could previously take to set up IT. “We can just get on with a meeting straight away.”
The service delivered by Avoira’s sales and technical teams is another plus point. “Quality of service is equally, if not more important, as the solution. Avoira’s service is very good.” He’s backing those words up with action, confirming that he’ll be calling Avoira in to extend the solution to embrace another six rooms as part of a wider refurbishment of bdht’s offices.