How Video Conferencing is Driving Growth in Architectural Firms

Over the last decade business technology has progressed rapidly. Previously pioneering, immature tech has now given way to established, impressive solutions that transform the way businesses operate.

Video conferencing technology is used in a plethora of business sectors in order to facilitate improved collaboration, and reduce human capital and travel costs. One sector that this distance based communication revolution has become particularly prevalent is in architecture.

The business of architectural design involves frequent collaborations between multiple stakeholders. Historically, it involved groups of people huddled around a meeting room desk pouring over and annotating, editing and evolving complex drawings. Over recent years more and more of these meetings have been facilitated by technology. Meeting rooms have been equipped with presentation systems, interactive whiteboards, and video conferencing solutions.

Let’s take a look at the set ups some architects are using to bring their businesses into the 21st century.

Architecture

Purcell Miller Tritton, London
This architectural firm has a long and rich history of complex architectural design. One of their challenges was being able to drive collaboration and innovation between their 180 experts and architects dispersed around the UK. In addition, the company was motivated to reduce their carbon footprint by implementing a video conferencing solution.

In order to be effective they judged that they required a HD, professional solution; a solution that was capable of facilitating highly interactive meetings tackling complex and often subtle issues.

Following the implementation of a Lifesize HD communication system staff now have to do far fewer miles, meaning a reduced carbon footprint, lower costs of design, and faster collaboration. This has reduced time to market and improved their bottom line. Above all their geographically dispersed teams can now work more effectively, and can expand without logistical constraints.

BRR Architecture, Merriam
For companies using technology it is always important to get the setup as usable as possible. BRR Architecture, in a bid to drive business adoption of video conferencing technology, added two Polycom Director cameras to their set up. The driver for this was primarily related to training, as they required two separate training ‘scenes’ in their video conferencing meetings.

A first camera was placed at the back of the room for instructional type meetings.

A second camera was positioned in a more traditional spot at the front of the room for face to face video conferencing.

To facilitate drawing collaboration the company then implemented two Smart Technology 70” displays, plenty of space for complex drawings, and used software to ensure the resolutions were always perfect. This enabled teams to work on a drawing with external parties, whilst also having another drawing to work on in the room on the other display.

The set up in BBR Architecture has meant improved flexibility and increased productivity. They have managed to develop a truly innovative work environment; an environment that is great for training, collaboration with remote teams, and dynamic, creative in-house problem solving. This has helped them to expand over recent years.

Benoy Ltd, London
Benoy Ltd is a fast growing, innovative architectural firm. They have achieved impressive expansion by developing their overseas business operation. Their 2002 decision to expand overseas followed notable success in the UK market, but brought with it obstacles to overcome.

The senior management team saw the potential of emerging markets, but, as with all overseas projects, it was crucial to get the right people in place, and to develop a system for collaboration on projects.

The company established an international design team, responsible for co-ordinating projects, discussing market opportunities and updating management about clients. They now meet bi-monthly via a new video conferencing solution. Without this technology meetings about projects in China, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other markets would be a logistical nightmare. With it, they flow seamlessly.

The architectural world is changing
The way companies in the architectural space go about their business is changing. Video conferencing and Smart Technology can improve training, problem solving, design and multi-stakeholder interaction in general. The richness of video conferencing communication is a far cry from the pioneering stages of development some years back, and the robust and high quality nature of professional solutions, as provided by Lifesize, Polycom, Cisco, Avaya and StarLeaf, means companies that chose to adopt this technology definitely have a competitive advantage.

It seems likely that, in time, any business with multiple offices collaborating, or with projects overseas, will require meeting rooms set up with the latest Smart and video technology solutions. The case studies in this piece suggest that this future reality is not too far away.