Gold standard boardroom installation delivered within days

Countdown X - Rapid Response to Essential Service, Woolworths NZ

Gold standard boardroom installation delivered within days

AAE provided a rapid response to support Woolworths New Zealand (WWNZ) continue operations during the COVID19 crisis. As social distancing measures were implemented across the country, the WWNZ Executive organised to meet in two boardrooms located at different sites, the Countdown Support Office in Favona, and the Countdown X Office in Ponsonby. The Favona Support Office Boardroom had been upgraded twelve months previously by AAE. WWNZ urgently needed the Ponsonby board room to be commissioned to the same standard.

When we upgraded the Favona Support Office Boardroom, I sat down with the Executive Administrator and got a picture of what management used the meeting room for, and then asked the audio-visual experts to design a solution, recalls Steve James, Head of Technology and Customer Care Centre, WWNZ. AAE stood out for me because they asked questions that I hadn't thought to ask. Due to their experience they were able to flip things on their head, make us think and I really enjoyed the process. The outcome became our gold standard and we urgently needed to replicate it.

Steve went back to AAE with his urgent request, I laid it on the table. We needed the Ponsonby meeting room to be equivalent to our other boardroom, but we only had half the budget, as a lot of the equipment was already in place. And we needed it immediately.

AAE rose to the challenge. Neil Smith, Project Manager describes the process, It was a complex integration, but we drew up the quote on the Tuesday, it was accepted on the Wednesday and we started the installation on the Wednesday afternoon with a week to get it installed and commissioned. We knew it was an essential job and we worked round the clock.

Neil explains their approach, By re-using the existing display and AV switching hardware, we focused on replacing the basic camera and upgrading the audio system. We installed a quality conferencing camera and upgraded the audio system with an appropriate audio conference processor, a ceiling array microphone together with ceiling speakers. By doing this we were able to achieve the same gold standard, with half the budget.

Steve comments on the install, At that time no one really knew what lockdown was going to look like, and people were concerned about family and getting essential supplies, but the AAE team remained focused and innovative. They even tested it by running their own AAE remote team meetings through the system.

Steve believes that meeting room systems should be simple enough to operate without training and the new system met his criteria, By accident, I wasn't around for the first Executive meeting but they just ran the Google Meeting through the new system, a testament as to how easy it is to use. The senior leaders for the business continued to hammer the system with two calls a day for four weeks, moving from all attendees located in the two boardrooms to an increasing number of participants joining from home too, We ran our technical team meetings through the system too, with some of us at home and some onsite, and I can vouch for the quality of the audio.

For Steve, it is that understanding of sound that he believes adds value to an AAE solution, AAE have a deep knowledge of acoustics. Their engineers take on board the size and shape of a room, how you are going to use the room and how many people will be in the room. They apply their knowledge of how to make it work acoustically and the result is sound that feels natural, so important for a meeting space. That is where I place the value in using AAE.