Dentons is one of the world’s largest international law firms and has grown to become a global leader with its operations now covering hundreds of cities in more than 75 countries, and with more than 185 offices around the world employing more than 10,000 lawyers. To meet the challenge of increasingly essential global communications, Dentons needed a state-of-the-art AV system at its prestigious One Fleet Place address that could provide seamless integration of high quality audio, video and telecoms functions using highly discreet modern technology combined with ultimate simplicity of use.
Dentons approached Torpedo Factory Group (TFG) Technical Director Jason Brameld, who had consulted to the firm for over a decade. Responding to Dentons’ requirements for the best possible quality from visually minimalist technology, he proposed an AV over IP solution for all the video switching and transmission functions, providing a robust and flexible platform for convenient future expansion.
The physical layout at Dentons’ London offices comprises three more or less identical rooms with stunning views over the City and St Pauls, which can quickly and easily be either combined or separated via movable partitions and repurposed in various ways – for large theatre-style presentations for up to 200 people, round-table video conferencing, global board meetings, or simply data sharing. As well as speech-only content, the system also had to be capable of reproducing full frequency response for those occasions when a dynamic presentation is called for.
At the heart of the hi-tech AV installation is a Crestron control system which unifies all the various audio, video and telecommunications technologies so that they can communicate and work together intelligently. Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Ceiling2 microphone systems with adaptive beamforming technology provided the streamlined solution that Dentons required, their neat appearance blending invisibly into the white ceiling tiles and integrating smoothly into the audio network over IP. The loudspeaker systems in all rooms are similarly unobtrusive. These are mostly ceiling-mounted in all three rooms and virtually invisible. At the same time, Meeting Room 1 additionally benefits from full range wall-mounted speakers hidden behind soffits at either side of the screen, which lend powerful dynamics to more extensive presentations.
“With staff working in the building at all hours of the day and night meeting with colleagues and clients people literally on the other side of the world in any time zone, the meeting rooms are in constant use and because of that it was essential that meetings get under way instantly without tripping up on overly complicated hardware or technology – so our goal was to provide seamless integration and ease of use without the need for technical supervision, “explained TFG’s Jason Brameld. “They simply call up a function from the Crestron touch panel and everything – microphones, speakers, cameras, screens – is all configured automatically.”
Installed over two weeks in 2019, the entire AV system was quickly up and running with very few issues or teething problems. “We ran a lot of cables beforehand to save time – we just flooded the floor with CAT6 according to TFG’s plan and numbered them,” said Denton’s audio-visual technician Nathan Dickenson. “Then TFG came in and connected everything up, and we were instantly connected with the world!”
“BlueJeans is our cloud-based video conferencing system which we use for live video calls, webinars, conference calls and online meetings,” said Dickenson. “So we just dial in, join the meeting, and all the audio is routed through the ceiling mics and speakers and optimised for the best pick up and sound quality.”
Reconfiguring the rooms is an easy process, and thanks to the IP network connectivity can be done at the drop of a hat. “Once seating arrangements are in place, all it takes is a touch on the Crestron interface for the audio and video to be ready to go,” he said. “Microphone levels are preset depending on the configuration; we can over-ride those presets to make level adjustments if needed, but that’s generally not necessary. The system just works in the background, with minimal intervention.
“The support from the TFG team has been fantastic,” concluded Dickenson. “We’re delighted with their work, and they stayed on site right up until the end to make sure that everything was working as expected. Any small snagging issues were dealt with right away, and we now have the reassurance of a regular maintenance contract because we absolutely cannot afford downtime. It could not have gone more smoothly.”
“Everyone who uses the meetings rooms has commented on how noticeable the improvements to picture and sound quality have been since TFG upgraded our AV systems; it’s made communications much more productive.