Jaguar Land Rover is currently facing a steep sales decline, which the firm is currently combating with a week-long shutdown of its UK factories that began today. Despite the sales decline, the company’s strategy is to continue ploughing money into engineering and technology to help it out of the slump; after all, while sales dropped off a cliff at Land Rover, Jaguar actually saw record sales in the 2018-19 financial year thanks to one new model in particular – the I-Pace, the company’s first electric car.

As evidence of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to developing cutting-edge cars, the firm has recently opened a software, IT and engineering centre at The Neo Building in Central Manchester. This building is part of plans to enhance connected technologies into future vehicles, and to ensure that the company isn’t left behind in the car industry’s pivot to electric and autonomous cars.  

With competition for talent in the city high, it was essential that any facility was not only attractive to Generation Y tech natives, but would allow them to work in an intuitive way, collaborating both internally and externally.

Mark Brogden, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Innovation, Jaguar Land Rover, said, “The attraction and retention of staff, certainly in a software development space is key. We wanted to attract the right talent to drive our software development initiative, and a key part of that is creating an innovative working environment. One benefit of Manchester is, as a digital hub, those skills exist, but also those competitors exist. So, we needed to create a better way of working and a better working environment in order to attract those skills.”

In total, integrator Visavvi installed 19 Panasonic professional displays, alongside control technology, BYOD, audio and unified communications technology across a tight deadline of six weeks.

Rob Hill, Jaguar Land Rover Account Manager at Visavvi, said, “We have integrated various technologies, we’ve got screen technologies, control systems, unified communication hardware and audio equipment. We have brought that all together to create a work space that’s as intuitive as possible.

“Jaguar Land Rover had an existing relationship with Panasonic from the automotive world and from a Visavvi perspective we’ve been working with Panasonic technology for 20 years and work really closely with them. This is a flagship building for Jaguar Land Rover and Panasonic is a flagship brand from an audio visual perspective.”

The technology has been used for a variety of purposes from internal meetings and presentations, to dashboard screens used to monitor the software being developed. In addition, the company uses the technology for collaborative meetings with Jaguar Land Rover colleagues and third parties outside of the building and overseas.

“A key element, especially with the type of software development work we do, is to make the guys here feel part of the wider Jaguar Land Rover group,” adds Mark Brogden. “Manchester is slightly remote from our other sites in Gaydon and Whitley in the West Midlands, and very remote from Shannon in Ireland, Shanghai in China and Portland in the United States. But technology, in terms of video conferencing, the informal screens and the meeting room spaces we’ve created, bridges that gap, so it was absolutely key that we got that right.”

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