Category: newsletters

How AV must support evolving work practices

Evolving Work Spaces with Reflex - FIT AVWe have seen a seismic shift over the last few years in the way technology is deployed in organisations. A decade ago, technology was a means to an end – a way of getting information from a computer onto a screen for example. Now, it’s about facilitating the changing way we work in the 21st century.

The days of 9am – 5pm workers sitting in offices, who physically gather together to be shown information are disappearing. Today’s workforces may be based in an office, at home, in a satellite location, in their car, in a different country – or any combination of these. They not only work on a PC but on laptops, tablets and smart phones and expect equal functionality and connectivity from each.

The systems we specify help these dispersed teams work together effectively as if they were sitting in the same room. Whilst formal meetings still take place they are more interactive, with attendees sharing thoughts and data.

Six years ago we saw evidence of this in a project for a top university we deployed, designed to enhance student learning and encourage work collaboratively in a simple and accessible way. Technobooths comprising of benched seating surrounding a table were equipped with a PC, ceiling mounted visualiser, and a screen to display the output from either piece of equipment. It was effectively the first ‘FIT’ (Furniture Integrated with Technology) furniture project we were involved in.

Things have moved on apace since then and our latest FIT project is the Skylon FIT – a ‘work booth’ designed to create a more productive and engaging work environment that is totally customisable to individual needs.

Skylon FIT takes a modern seating booth and integrates into it the customer’s choice of technology, typically a flat screen display, room booking system and wireless connectivity. It allows users to simply fire up their laptops and instantly share their content with the others seated in the booth. The combination of seating style and technology helps the group work together as a team. And the room booking system means users can reserve the resource for future meetings direct from their seats.

We’ve been promoting AV integration within HE and corporate spaces for some time, such as monitors and touch screens being built into lectern cabinets. Skylon FIT takes things a step further by embracing the trend for collaborative working styles, as users are asking how systems will enhance the working environment, increase productivity or drive down costs.

Our FIT initiative is one way we are addressing changing needs. Taking cutting edge AV technology and cleverly integrating it into today’s modern office/ learning space furniture giving a result that fuses beauty, practicality and functionality. It’s a move that supports easy informal meetings that demand collaboration and sharing. We believe it’s a trend that is set to continue.

Share your thoughts on this subject and leave a comment on Twitter.

Reflex to present at Clerkenwell Design Week

Clerkenwell Design Week 2014 - ReflexYou may not have heard of Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW), but it has established itself as the UK’s leading independent design festival and one of the most acclaimed trade events on the international design calendar.

Boasting over 60 showrooms, a wealth of creative businesses and more architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet, CDW takes advantage of this creative hub every May for three days.

Reflex is taking part this year, in conjunction with Davison Highley. We will be running seminars at their offices on each day of the event, featuring animated video to demonstrate how AV and furniture design go hand in hand to create engaging workspaces. The presentations will cover:

  • Technology meets creativity – why timing is crucial
  • Finding the balance – ensuring technology sits comfortably in the design space
  • Creativity or technology? Who should have the last word?
  • Experience the technologies that will bring your creativity alive
  • Share our crystal ball and see how we’ll all be using FIT in 10 years’ time

Visitors will get the chance to see the stunning Christie MicroTiles skyscraper and visit the ‘Technology on the Move’ bus, a specialist vehicle fitted out with the very latest AV and interactive technologies.

We mustn’t forget the Skylon FIT (see article in this newsletter) which will also be on show.

Click here to find out what is going on between 20th and 22nd May at Clerkenwell Design Week.

Introducing the Skylon FIT

Skylon FIT - Furniture Integrated Technology - Reflex AVSome things just go together naturally. Bacon and eggs. Tom and Jerry. AV and furniture. Hang on, AV and furniture? Well, maybe it’s not a pairing that would jump immediately to mind but it’s the latest trend in creating engaging working spaces.

At Reflex we are embracing that trend by joining forces with Technology Desking and furniture designers Davison Highley on an exclusive project called FIT – Furniture Integrated with Technology.

The first product to be made available is the Skylon FIT – a ‘work booth’ designed to create a more productive and engaging work environment that is totally customisable to individual needs.

Skylon FIT takes a modern seating booth and integrates into it your choice of technology, typically a flat screen display, room booking system and wireless connectivity. It allows users to simply fire up their laptops and instantly share their content with the others seated in the booth. The combination of seating style and technology helps the group work together as a team. And the room booking system means users can reserve the resource for future meetings direct from their seats.

We’ve been promoting AV integration within HE and corporate spaces for some time, such as monitors and touch screens being built into lectern cabinets. Skylon FIT takes things a step further by embracing the trend for collaborative working styles.

Skylon FIT can be seen at Clerkenwell Design Week and at our demonstration suite. Click here to request a visit to see this unique piece of furniture and understand how it can be tailored to your requirements.

Wireless presentation tools – how to choose?

The last couple of years have seen wireless presentation systems that aid collaboration start to appear on the market. When new technology emerges it can be difficult to know which system is right for you. The answer, of course, is that it depends on what you are trying to achieve and your budget. In this article we look at three of the main systems and compare what they offer.

Christie Brio The newly launched Christie Brio is very well specified and is ideal for global collaboration applications. It works across technology platforms such as Mac, PC or iPad and any information shown on a display or whiteboard attached to the Brio is shared with all of the displays in the same meeting, regardless of geographic location. In the case of secure or restricted networks we often advise clients to combine with the Brio PTP software which enables point to point wireless connection to the Brio without needing to connect to a LAN.

Barco ClickShare - ReflexBarco ClickShare works well in areas with no network connection as it can operate purely through USB ports. Clickshare is a good choice if you are using two projectors and two displays. As one of the earlier systems developed, it is a well proven solution.

Crestron AirMedia - ReflexThe Crestron AirMedia meets the need for restricted budgets – plus if an environment has other Crestron equipment, AirMedia integrates with Digital Media devices, Capture Live HD, Crestron RL and Crestron connected displays. It allows users to walk into a room and wirelessly present onto a large screen Powerpoint, Excel, Word, PDF documents and photos from their own iOS or Android device. No AV or control system is required.

For advice on which system would best suit your needs and budget, contact the Reflex Technical Team by email, phone or live chat.

A reflection on ISE 2014

Reflex ISE 2014With visitor numbers 15% up, ISE just grows and grows. Now we are back in the office,

So here’s our round up of the best of ISE 2014 from an integrator’s viewpoint.

One product that our whole team picked up on was Biamp’s Forte audreflecting on the technology we saw at the show, and how, as an integrator, we can take the products we saw on glitzy exhibition stands and build them into workable, efficient solutions for our customers.io DSP. This family of 12 x 8 audio processors offers a direct USB port for cloud based solutions, voice profiling and massive amounts of DSP power. With highly flexible configuration and competitive pricing this is a great product for mid sized lecture theatres and video conferencing suites – particularly high-end cloud based systems.

Exterity impressed with their HDCP compliant IPTV system available from March 2014. It’s perfect for the distribution of Sky HD and other HDCP content across an IP network.

Atlona’s M2C is an HDMI audio de-embedder. Essentially, it can take in an HDMI signal with almost any embedded sound formats and extract a stereo signal whilst still passing along the original audio. When might you need this? Where you need both stereo and surround from a single source – for example in a lecture theatre where there is a surround sound system in the room, but also a lecture capture or other recording device that only takes a stereo input. The MC2 offers a simple and cost effective way of achieving this.

SVSI were showing some impressive AV switching and distribution products – the N1000/2000/3000 family. Basically these are network switchers that become a matrix. They have plenty of expansion options for system growth. Where can we see them working well? Medium to large AV system distribution.

Trends that we spotted were an explosion of 4K, collaboration everywhere including wireless presentation systems, a lot of products supporting AV over IP and a huge number of touchscreen products. Quite honestly we didn’t feel there were any breathtaking new technologies on show but instead lots of improved and updated versions that take what is already available to the next level.

One thing that visiting ISE always drives home is the speed with which this exciting industry of ours continues to evolve. It’s become a must attend event.

Leave a comment on this blog telling us your best product from ISE 2014 and why.

Reflex wins 5 year contract with Imperial College London

Reflex wins 5 year contract with Imperial College LondonWe are delighted to have been awarded a prestigious 5 year contract for the supply, installation, service and maintenance of the AV technology for Imperial College London.

The current economic environment is as challenging for universities as for other organisations. Rooms are being used for longer periods and at a wider range of times in the day. What this means is a growing need for service and support. We believe it was our ability to be flexible in our offering, and our investment in an infrastructure designed to support this type of long term, fully serviced contract that helped us to secure the work.

We participated in a rigorous competitive tender process with Imperial. Our submission focused on the importance of project management and ‘thinking outside the box’ in terms of long term support.

Here, there and everywhere – collaboration delivers benefits to all sectors

Work place AV solutions from ReflexThere is, without doubt, a growing appetite for collaboration in all markets, from the corporate boardroom to the university seminar room.

So what has Reflex found out from client requirements that drives this demand?

The first is the need to meet users’ expectations and so attract and keep the best students or employees. Users are more educated thanks to the boom in consumer technology and expect high levels of technology to be available to them in their workplace or University.

The line between home and work technology continues to blur. The people sitting around the board room table are used to engaging with others on their gaming devices or skyping family from work trips. That ease of access to collaborative technology is expected to be as readily available during their working day. And in education, with secondary schools embracing interactive learning, group study and collaboration, those now entering University are not only familiar with, but expect to have access to this type of environment. Universities must work hard to catch up and create such learning spaces as a minimum.

Enabling connectivity is an increasingly important factor, with the growth in the use of tablets and touch technologies in the work place and within HE. There is a myriad of devices now used to display and present information and the installed technology must dovetail with these and allow them to be used to their full benefit. We have seen an increased need since the launch of Windows 8.

Wind back five years, and you’d find presenters were armed only with a laptop PC. A VGA socket, connected to the projector, and they were good to go. Today we have a multitude of devices at our disposal – laptops, tablet devices, smart phones and the like – all of which may be connected to the display and presentation solutions within the working or learning space.

Thirdly, to facilitate the changing ways of working. Within the corporate sector, a key objective is to meet the greater need for a seamless link from home technologies to work technologies. Within HE, a shift away from traditional lecture settings to learning spaces that are multi-functional and promote group learning creates a demand for technology to support it.

Physical space, whether in city offices or on a campus, is a limited and expensive resource. Multi-functional, usable meeting and learning spaces that maximise that resource are appealing, allowing the space to change with the environment and user.

These considerations are causing a dramatic shift in how organisations engage with their employees or students. A move away from tradition sees a more relaxed, team based, collaborative style. A style where people work in small groups and use their own devices for research and presentation.

For recommended technologies and solutions to suit your requirements please contact the Technical Team by email, phone or live chat.

The Magnificent Seven! – Graham Kirkpatrick makes our Technical Team seven strong

Graham Kirkpatrick from ReflexWe are delighted to welcome back to Reflex Graham Kirkpatrick, who rejoins the company after a period of over six years.

Graham joins as Technical Sales Manager and he will help to strengthen and develop our technical team, bringing it up to seven members. His appointment is evidence of the importance we place on being able to offer first class technical support to our clients.

Graham has been working in the AV industry for 13 years, always with sales and technical aspects to his roles. A keen technical advocate, he has pursued accreditations to extend his skills, including InfoComm CTS, Crestron DMC-D and Omnivex Certified Technician certifications.

“I’ve watched Reflex go from strength to strength over recent years and when the opportunity arose to rejoin them, it was an easy decision”, says Graham. “I can bring to Reflex’s customers my experiences learned working in the IT/AV integration space. My skills in a range of hybrid solutions include IPTV networks, Digital Signage and IP CCTV solutions. With the increasingly complexity of installs Reflex is asked to handle, its knowledge that I hope will prove of value.”

Click here to meet the Reflex Technical Team

Innovation – on the ceiling!

Innovative video conferencing Solutions from ReflexGet your visualiser off the desk and onto the ceiling. The WolfVision VZ-C6 visualiser ensures that nothing disturbs the view between the presenter and your audience during a presentation or lecture.

Ideal in medium sized rooms or with smaller video conferencing systems, the new VZ-C6 has a wide-angle lens with a very high depth of focus. This, along with its HD camera, ensures that images are crystal clear, even when highly magnified. It’s incredibly easy to use, with most functions adjusting automatically, leaving the user to simply zoom in and out as needed. Talking of zoom, with a 48x total zoom facility, the VZ-C6 displays everything from very large objects through to the smallest detail with equal ease.

This highly specified visualiser also includes onboard recording functionality, which allows both internal and external content to be captured. You can annotate over a displayed document without creating shadowing and hollow items are perfectly lit on the inside without the need to adjust the light. All of which contributes to the perfect presentation with every detail clearly seen by your audience.

Until 28th February 2014, Reflex are offering the following exclusive deal on the new WolfVision VZ-C6 from £4,990 excl. vat:

  • WolfVision VZ-C6 Visualiser
  • Free working plate and write on surface worth £160
  • 5 Year return to base warranty
  • Free site survey for Installation

For further information including installation costs and site survey, please contact Kristy Powell on 0118 9754 745 or email kristyp@reflex.co.uk

Up close and personal at Reflex TDay13

Reflex Tech Day 2013

“There is no substitute for seeing the equipment up close” – a sentiment from one of the 214 audio visual professionals who attended our Technology Day last month, which was echoed by many other visitors.

The Audi Quattro Rooms were buzzing as representatives from corporate, public and higher education sectors browsed a record 40 manufacturer hosted stands – allowing them to see the best of latest developments embracing every aspect of audio visual solutions.

They were also able to learn about related areas such as AV training, maintenance and video production, with technical sales team at hand to give one-to-one advice. One of the key benefits of the show was the opportunity for users to speak directly to product manufacturers.

According to one visitor “It’s given me some great insights into areas I was not au fait with.” Another felt he had gained “some really interesting ideas on where we might go in the future.”

TDay13 proved to be our most well attended event yet with a great mix of clients from different market sectors present.

The day was also somewhat historic as it represented the final event to be held at the Audi Quattro Rooms, at which the public could see the historic cars without prior appointment.

Customer video comments from the day can be viewed here.

Click here to see all the TDay show highlights.

If you would like a colleague to benefit from knowing when future Reflex AV events are launched and keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry subscribe here.

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