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PwC brings new level of collaboration to its meeting rooms – with instant financial gains

Globally powerhouse in providing professional services to the world's leading companies, credits its revolutionary 'Data Room' (meeting room) in winning unlikely lucrative deals

Globally recognised powerhouse in providing professional services to the world’s leading companies, credits its new revolutionary ‘Data Room’ (meeting room) in winning unlikely deals worth €10m 

It was American director and actor Will Rogers who once famously said: “you only get one chance to make a first impression.”

In business, first impressions can be the difference between success and failure – or in financial terms, profit or loss.

Just over 12 months ago, PwC – a globally recognised powerhouse in providing professional services to some of the worlds leading organisations (including 422 of the Fortune 500) – wanted to ensure it made, not just a good impression, but a great one. It wanted to create a “wow factor” for its clients and prospective clients visiting its Paris office – an environment that few, if any, would have experienced before.

Before they understand how powerful the technology is, in that first half a second they think this is a room like no other

But this wasn’t to be just a vanity project. Far from it. As a company that prides itself on having its finger on the pulse for breakthrough technologies and trends, it wanted a meeting room fit for the future. A room where people could collaborate in a more productive and efficienct manner by removing the traditional “static” environment, many businesses are accustomed to using and experiencing.

“The brief was simple,” PWC director of emerging workplace technologies and environments Mandeep Jawa, told AVTE. “We had the investment and the appetite to build a room that was different to any of our competitors – and that’s what we did.”

The Delta Room 

The result saw PWC create what it calls ‘The Delta Room’ (pictured) – hailed as an executive meeting room meets a huddle room.

“You have a workshop element and also a very polished high-end environment for senior board members to feel comfortable in,” he explained.

The Delta Room first opened in 2016, but has already had a major impact on the company, both from a productivity perspective and a financial one. The firm told AVTE, that it estimates that the look, feel and technology deployed in the Delta Room has played a direct role in securing deals valued in excess of €10 million in its first 12 months.

“In terms of value, we can’t just say we won a deal because of the Delta Room,” said Mandeep. “It was a case of factoring in how many proposals we won where we felt intuitively the Delta Room was an influencer of that win. We estimated €10m in the first year. We all know and understand that it’s a major influencer.”

Traditional meetings were a bit too static. The Delta Room creates an environment, that allows for the spontaneous addition of a piece of media

Mezzanine 

One of the key drivers into achieving this financial success and the “wow factor” it craved, was through the deployment of Mezzanine, a visual collaboration system, built by Oblong Industries.

PWC deployed the Mezzanine 600, which allows for up to six displays in the room – described by Oblong as ‘multi screen workspaces’.

This included three Sony 65in 4K displays to form the main presentation area and three SMART touchscreens, two of which are Kapp iQ 4K models on the adjacent wall – dubbed digital ‘corkboards’.

We had the investment and the appetite to build a room that was different to any of our competitors

Mezzanine at a glance: 

  • Interconnected screens easily manipulated with gestural control via Mezzanine’s wireless wand user interface
  • Content displays wirelessly from multiple devices on demand without video cables
  • Additional tactile screens and interactive boards to live annotate digital content
  • Wireless audio systems integrated into the floors and ceilings for 3D sound and
    free participant movement
  • HD videoconferencing capable of managing multiple digital devices 

At its most basic, Mezzanine provides PWC with an advanced multi-screen video conferencing service. Participants can be those based in other Mezzanine installed rooms or “remoters’, who can join the conversation and view the display, anywhere via a connected PC, tablet or smartphone.

But key to PWC’s decision to select Mezzanine, was down to collaboration, with the technology allowing people to share content, which can instantly become part of the discussion. This is something Oblong call Infopresense.

“Traditional meetings were a bit too static,” said Mandeep. “The Delta Room creates an environment, that allows for the spontaneous addition of a piece of media. Think about all those meetings you’ve been in where someone says they have seen a clip on YouTube that’s releavant to the conversation, or a webpage youi should view or share an email they’ve just received. That sort of unanticipated addition is something that usually requires a bit of gymnastics and will disrupt the meeting. With Mezzanine, these things can be performed with the same fluidity and spontaneity you would have in the physical world. You don’t have to pause the conversation.”

The architecture, the look and theme of the room all play a major part. If we had designed a standard room and fitted it with the Oblong tech, I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful

RoI

According to Mandeep, the Delta Room room is now occupied 91 per cent of the available time (the remaining nine per cent is handover time). Such is its success, a second has since been built with a third and fourth in the works across other sites.

Whilst neither Mandeep nor Oblong felt comfortable disucssing specifica costs, an economic report from Forrester, states Mezzanine users (typically Fortune 500 , Global 2000 firms) experience an RoI of 246 per cent in three years – paying for itself in just eight months.

“It speaks volumes to say that we built the first one, assess its performance and then built a second one,” said Mandeep.

But the success of the Delta Room isn’t down excluisvely to the technology alone.

“Mezzanine is just one of the ingredients,” explained Mandeep. “The architecture, the look and theme of the room all play a major part. If we had designed a standard room and fitted it with the Oblong tech, I don’t think it would have been nearly as successful.

“The environment really makes people feel like today is different. Before they understand how powerful the technology is, in that first half a second they think this is a room like no other.”

If you would like to be featured in the next AV Technology Europe magazine, please contact the editor Michael Garwood: MGarwood@NBMedia.com