Integration specialist, Pyramid recently took part in a programme of works named  Advance, involving the successful deployment of new and improved working facilities at QBE’s Central London Headquarters, one of world’s top 20 general insurance and reinsurance companies.

The aim was to consolidate the existing premises into one flexible working environment using the latest technologies. Pyramid’s AV Division secured the contract to design, supply, install and support the new systems for QBE’s flagship offices.

Split over two floors of the company’s HQ, the scope of works included a public facing suite of meeting spaces, reception, flexible ‘Town Hall’/events area plus a large flexible dual divisible meeting room.

In addition, the main offices benefitted from 45 newly created meeting rooms of varying capacities plus AV/VC equipped single office spaces. Numerous Cisco VC systems were deployed alongside wholesale AMX controls, centralised DGX matrix backbone as well as in room audio systems, using a combination of QSC amps and processing, interactive screen overlays for collaboration and centralised room booking systems by Condeco.

Working with QBE’s facilities and IT teams, Pyramid designed the AV and VC systems, provided all project management, engineering and installation services from its in-house team, ably supported by their preferred AMX VIP Programmers, Fusion AV Concepts.

The project began in December 2015 and was delivered in three phases over 37 weeks, which also involved migrating up to 500 staff temporarily offsite at a time. Handover of the last phase was completed in August 2016.

Peter Stansfield, project Advance programme manager, says: “Pyramid delivered our integrated AV and VC solutions alongside QBE’s dedicated teams with an exceptional eye for detail, delivering to budget, managing timescales in sometimes challenging situations, working with us to reduce the pressures of migrating a large workforce across numerous sites and ultimately ensuring that Advance met it’s complicated goals on time and with complete customer satisfaction.

“I could rely on an honest appraisal at all times from Pyramid that often provided me with the clearest impression of the true nature of the situation onsite, in terms of meeting our deliverables. An excellent and dedicated partner.”

Key for most companies of this size and nature of course is efficient use of space and in particular an efficient room booking system. Common to all meeting rooms across the facility is the Condeco room booking system, allowing pre-planned meetings to take place alongside the ability to book rooms ad-hoc. All data is gathered for room usage statistics to be created for monitoring purposes.

Greeting employees and visitors as they arrive is a 5 x screen video ‘Window on the world’ display powered by a TVOne video wall processor and fed by Onelan 4K digital signage player.

The reception leads in to The Brokers Lounge which hosts a variety of flexible hospitality and meeting zones and transforms into a designated ‘Town Hall’ presentation space when required.

Pyramid undertook a detailed design challenge to incorporate high quality audio and projection discreetly between the contemporary Hunter Douglas slated wooden suspended ceiling in this area.

A ceiling-based NEC PA622U projector was mounted on a Future Automation lift and was complimented by a 3m wide, tab tensioned, ceiling recessed Dalite screen, complete with five full HD mobile relay screens.

The audio solution combined K-Array KT2 satellites and KU26 Subwoofers, providing the full range of coverage split into distinct zones which can be switched on or off in seven zone combinations, depending upon preference of layouts and meetings. All of the Broker Lounge AV functionality is controlled by a single 10in AMX touch screen.

Reception, Town Hall & Client Meeting Rooms

Wrapped around the reception area there are a number of client-facing meeting rooms, the largest of which is a 14-person dual divisible meeting room with unique ‘Skyfall’ acoustic walling system. This room contains a combination of wired and wireless inputs selectable on the AMX touchscreen in conjunction with two Samsung 75in HD screens with touch screen overlay and a Panasonic projection system. All together, it’s a very flexible space for separate meetings and or events.

In addition, there are two separate 10 person meeting rooms, plus three 12-person meeting rooms containing Cisco SX80 speaker track systems.

All areas are also served by four separate Exterity IPTV channels feeding current news and TV channels.

The rest of the floors are split into specific business areas where individual teams are given similar facilities, including a centralised breakout area. Notably all these rooms were booked and in use from 0900 on the first day of business at every handover stage.

Ongoing Project Support

High quality project management was critical in ensuring project success, and Pyramid is delivering a comprehensive support service (on site and off site), including vigorous testing of the internal and global VC networks.

In addition, Pyramid currently provides QBE with regular preventative maintenance and reactive technical support services for all UK and European AV and VC systems to ensure that the quality and performance of equipment installed is sustained.

As part of the reactive technical support services, Pyramid has also installed a dedicated remote dial-in facility to enable its technical support team to perform regular monitoring of the operational status of key hardware components within these areas and to also undertake prompt diagnostic and remedial actions to ensure minimal down time is achieved.

As far as specific challenges on this project went, Pyramid says that the Town Hall Space created specific challenges due to a strong design criteria being enforced by the architects. The fact that they wanted a multi-zone high quality audio system, but no speakers on any wall, needed a well-conceived solution. Pyramid supplied a custom K-Array solution which allowed delivered a seven zone high-quality PA system to be used for presentations and events. The speakers were coordinated with the suspended ceiling sections so as to remain largely invisible, but provide constant, even coverage.

As for their favourite part of the project, the install team point to the unique Canadian ‘Skyfold’ dual divisible wall system; a thing of mechanical beauty.

System Overview

  • AMX centralised control system with a DGX 64 x 64 Matrix at the heart of the system
  • Multiple AMX central control processors for standalone meeting room control processing
  • Localised AMX touch panels and Condeco room booking panel for every meeting space
  • QSC based digital sound processing for all larger meeting room locations
  • Centralised AV Rack room c/w power management
  • Exterity IPTV and Onelan digital signage systems for employee engagement and public content delivery
  • 5 Screen video wall for main reception space
  • WePresent BYOD deployment in key meeting spaces
  • Custom K Array speaker solution for main Brokers Lounge/ Town Hall space
  • Expansion of existing Cisco VC network including the addition of multiple endpoints
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