"Such a comprehensive tender is always a bit of a journey," laughs Mark Meutermans, Sr. Account Manager at VanRoey. "Ten organisations initially applied, and the process consisted of a number of phases.
In the pre-selection, SNCB sounded out the technologies we could offer for meeting rooms. The selected participants were then given access to the actual specifications.
There was an extensive list of requirements that our predefined set-ups had to meet. Apart from the audiovisual aspect, these included seamless integration with Microsoft Exchange and reservation systems. In turn, these had to be able to work via PoE, support multilingualism, monitoring and privacy settings, be able to record absences, work without the user needing a Microsoft Teams-client installed and so on..."
Meeting Room Proof Of Concepts
Due to the size of the project, and because SNCB was open to new technology, Proof Of Concepts (PoC) were used.
Aaron Poels, Solution Advisor for managed meeting rooms: "In an empty office building, we had the opportunity to set up 5 different rooms. These included standard small to large meeting rooms, combining our integrated Teams-Rooms solutions with a 4K screen or CTOUCH. These proven and trusted Video Conference Systems and Room Booking Panels we also use in our Kempus.
On the other hand, they were asked to set up an 'Education Room'. These were more challenging and had to feature four CTOUCH-screens. The requirement was that users could simultaneously operate a digital whiteboard, a presentation and two screens with external participants. Those who have visited our Experience centre in Geel will surely recognise similar set-ups."
Simplicity adorns, both in use and management
A team of random users were then allowed to test the set-ups and subjectively share their experiences. That score weighed in on the final choice.
"We deliberately kept it as simple as possible, both for end users and administrators" adds Aaron, "We chose a healthy mix between functionality and ease of use. A solution like this should work intuitively without a manual. So you won't find 4 separate remote controls and you won't have to pre-install any software either... There is no more cable spaghetti either, given that the solutions are fully integrated and communicate seamlessly with each other."
On board for Managed Meeting Rooms
As many as 484 meeting rooms will be furnished by VanRoey in the coming years.
Managing all this equipment, spread across the country therefore requires a centralised, managed approach to...
Filip D'Haenens is Sr. Architect at YPTO, SNCB's IT company, and adds: "That end users can work eddiciently is important, but a big asset for us were the Device Management portals of the proposed solutions. We will get calls from all over Belgium to support people. Then it is ideal to have central management platforms, both for all videoconferencing and room-booking systems, as well as the CTOUCH touchscreens. We can thus configure or troubleshoot almost everything remotely. That will save us a lot of time!"
"That's right" explains Aaron, "In addition, YPTO can count on our 'Managed Meeting Rooms' formula. This means, among other things, that we always keep an eye on things. We guarantee uptime and security by helping to ensure that all firmware remains up to date and vulnerabilities (CVEs) are closed immediately. This support is also laid down in SLAs. Should something go wrong, SNCB has the guarantee that our people are at your disposal!
From PoC to SPoC
The magnitude of this project also allows us to put a Service Manager as well as an Internal Sales full-time at NMBS. Employees at YPTO can turn to one 'Single Point of Contact' for all their needs for quick action."
Installer and integrator, with security at the forefront
Mark Meutermans concludes: "What played a part is that, as an IT integrator and cyber security specialist, we offer so much more than traditional AV integrators. From now on, we almost always do meetings digitally, sensitive content is shared and external people dial in on a regular basis... This has to be reliable at all times and, most importantly 100% secure !
As a Microsoft 365, networking and cybersecurity specialist, NMBS/SNCB knows they can rest assured that the configuration will be optimal and the content of meetings will remain within their digital walls. Moreover, they can always count on our expertise should they have any questions or new challenges regarding this. We are already looking forward to helping keep NMBS on track in the coming years!"
Wish to optimise your meeting rooms as well?
Feel free to talk to us and we will be happy to show you all the latest meeting technologies or how our Managed Meeting Rooms formula works: