Places for People Case Study
Places for People is the UK’s leading social enterprise who create and support thriving communities through the development of homes, schools, shops, community and leisure centres or by providing access to job opportunities, training and specialist support services.
Owning or managing more than 230,000 homes and operating over 120 leisure facilities, the company supports more than 500,000 Customers, employs around 11,000 People and generated £849m turnover in 2022.
Combining a commercial mentality with a strong social purpose, it is an organisation that puts what it earns back into creating and maintaining sustainable Communities.
Places for People was previously equipped with an ageing two-vendor video conferencing estate, which did not offer a standardised user solution.
Following the pandemic, Places for People committed to a permanent move to hybrid working which meant video conferencing could be deployed across all parts of the business.
This required deployment of up to 65 VC systems across multiple sites in rooms of varying size and use.
In achieving this, Places for People also wanted to create a standard user experience, based around Microsoft Teams Rooms.
After Places for People had all 11,000 colleagues up and running remotely, they looked ahead and expressed an interest in Logitech systems; our engineers devised a range of solutions to meet the specific requirements of each meeting space.
These were determined through discussion with Avoira’s team, led by Service Business Development Manager, Jen Wallace and Head of Sales & Operations, Adam Feakins.
Martin Hassall-Lees, Senior Project Manager at the Places for People’s Workplace Solutions division describes some of the process, “We advised the room layout, what it is going to be used for, whether it’s a meeting room or a collaborative space where the desks will be moved around, which Avoira’s team used to provide the best kit to serve that space.
“One of the updates we required was to a 14-seat board room so that we could run seamless virtual meetings. This allowed our People to log into our system and join calls anywhere and anytime, meaning that more time could be spent on the ground supporting our customers,” says Martin.
Accordingly, Logitech’s Small, Medium and Large Teams-compatible systems were recommended, with some interactive and portable Microsoft Surface hubs.
All the recommended kit was Microsoft certified, enabling Teams to become the default VC platform across all sites and for all users. An additional requirement was for provision of remote management by Avoira’s highly skilled and experienced engineers, “Our on-site teams can troubleshoot, but if they can’t resolve an issue they rely on Avoira’s support team and its ability to quickly access and remotely diagnose.
This is a huge benefit as it means Avoira don’t need to send out an engineer and most of the time the issue is resolved quickly and remotely.”
This highly responsive service is provided through our Premier Plus support package.
This delivers a range of other benefits, including a multi-channel helpdesk – telephone, email, video – control system programming support, remote training and, of course on-site engineering and preventative maintenance services.
Enabling Places for People’s new hybrid operational model was key to the success of this project.
“Without the solutions delivered by Avoira we couldn’t do what we do, it’s as simple as that” said Martin.
“People are moving around offices and the country a lot more with working from home and, therefore, bringing them together on video-conferencing calls is critical.”
He added that staff now enjoy a significantly enhanced user experience. “It’s better across the board, through improvements in camera, speaker and microphone technology.”
With Covid having had a lasting effect on workplace practices, it’s a technology upon which he says Places for People will continue to rely, “Hybrid working is here to stay.”
As such Martin is monitoring technological developments, with a view to further enhancing meeting experiences and is already looking to team up with Avoira on a “couple of big projects” over the coming year.