Calibre One Case Study

Codan Limited

About

Founded in 1959 and headquartered in South Australia, Codan Limited is an international company that develops rugged and reliable electronics solutions for government, corporate, NGO and consumer markets across the globe. Codan’s technologies include metal detection and communications.

Codan have employees located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, Singapore, the UAE, UK and USA, with products sold in more than 150 countries, with a global network of dealers, distributors and agents that allow Codan to deliver their solutions anywhere in the world, whenever their customers need them.

Codan’s values and culture drive an environment of constant innovation, creating long-term shareholder value and allowing Codan to deliver innovation to customers, wherever they are. In FY21, Codan had annual revenue of $437 million, with over 700 employees globally.

One-press, natural human communications and collaboration solution banishes tyranny of distance for fast-growing global wireless innovator

Challenge

To fuel its growth aspirations and adapt to the pandemic, Codan demanded remote unified communications and videoconferencing so any employee could initiate immersive meetings with peers, partners and customers wherever they were in the world as if they were together in the same room.

Solution

Replace a complicated and underused videoconferencing system with a high-fidelity and immersive solution integrated with Codan’s Microsoft Teams UC platform for one-press operation. 

Benefits

  • Unites executive teams, distributed workgroups, customers and partners wherever they are in the world as if they were physically in the same room.
  • Lowers adoption barriers to boost user confidence and acceptance while cutting training costs.
  • Reduces staff travel while augmenting in-person communications with more frequent face-to-face meetings at a distance.
  • Adapts to users’ needs such as their preferred choice of presentation device including Apple iPads and laptops.
  • Nurtures human communication patterns so participants follow the conversation as naturally as if they were physically in the same room.
  • Liberates users to focus on their content and contributions to meetings while reducing support staff and costs.
  • Elevates presence through artificial intelligence and high-fidelity electronics to ensure no participant is excluded from discussion.
  • Inspires knowledge sharing through an empathetic installation that melts technology into background walls and ceilings.

Global enterprise unites staff and customers on unified communications platform

As a technology and electronics innovator with a global staff foorprint and sales in more than 150 countries, Adelaide’s Codan sought to banish the tyranny of distance to unify and inspire its workforce, partners and customers. User rejection of a legacy videoconferencing system impelled it to engage trusted adviser, Calibre One, to unite Codan’s people wherever they were in the world.

Calibre One’s solution, in collaboration with Professional Technology Partners (PTP), leveraged Codan’s Microsoft Teams platform for effortless operation and maintenance while providing high-fidelity audio and video to stimulate natural human communications. Following mergers and acquisitions, Codan management was also keen to knit geographically dispersed teams into a coherent whole.

And because the proposed collaboration solution would have minimal outside technical support, it had to be easy for a host to initiate and run a meeting. This included a smart and simple user interface, intelligent tracking cameras and audio to capture and reproduce vision and sound while minimising distractions.

Codan Operations Manager Dave Pilcher says the legacy system was unnecessarily complicated and presented daunting barriers that cruelled user adoption.

“With the new Calibre One system, we set out to reduce complexity for users even though the system is technically more complicated,” Pilcher says. “From a user’s perspective, it’s now far less complex than it used to be.”

Calibre One’s premium installation quality encourages users to conduct remote meetings without needing to tinker with the equipment, ensuring rooms always deliver a superior meeting experience, says Pilcher.

Users have flocked to the system, holding 141 meetings that racked up 14,118 minutes (235 hours) over 90 days following its installation.

For example, a recent CEO update attracted about 400 employees — more than half of Codan’s staff — with approximately equal numbers connecting remotely as those at the Adelaide head office where it was held.

“I was surprised at how many Codan staff joined the live quarterly update. They want to see and hear firsthand what Donald McGurk, our MD & CEO says, and ask questions. That’s quite important for people nowadays, especially with what’s happening around the world.”

Major announcements are recorded in Microsoft Teams, which is especially helpful for employees in unfavourable time zones, says Pilcher: “They don’t have to go and look for a recording in a share file somewhere”.

The solution had to accommodate popular collaboration platforms such as Zoom and WebEx, and give users confidence they could connect any device ad hoc without technical support.

One solution, multiple spaces and use cases

Participants had to feel like their remote colleagues were in the room with them, a key consideration in reducing meeting fatigue. This included one-touch setup, reducing extraneous noise while picking up nuances of speech, providing seamless access to devices, and capturing and reproducing subtleties of body language with no outside technical help.

Following initial inspection to scope size of space, acoustics, layout and other factors that would influence a successful user experience, Calibre One engineers recommended high-fidelity devices from Poly, Biamp, Shure, Samsung, and LG.

Calibre One’s solution had to provide the same user experience and professional audiovisual quality in the smallest meeting room as it did in bigger spaces such as the boardroom and “The Bunker”. Tracking cameras were installed to enable more natural presentations, while hidden microphones ensured crystal clear audio pickup. Professional audio speakers ensured clear and accurate sound reproduction.

Additionally, the CEO regularly presented to remote teams from the Adelaide HQ’s courtyard so they needed the same access and presence as local staff. This was especially important to build bridges with Codan’s recent offshore acquisitions.

Calibre One installed a Poly Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) solution connected to a reprogrammed Extron controller with iPad interface. Its sound engineers designed a complementary audio solution with six Biamp Community loud speakers, and Biamp amplifiers driven by a Biamp TesiraFORTE digital signal processor (DSP) for accurate audio. A new AVer professional live tracking camera with its up to 30x optical zoom and 120-degree field of view ensures the key speaker is always in the frame even when they move around. Calibre One connected the new equipment to an existing multi-panel TV wall display to provide larger-than-life display for those in the courtyard.

In rooms elsewhere, systems that delivered the same outcomes at lower cost were deployed including Poly Conferencing for Teams (MTR), Poly EagleEye tracking cameras, Shure ceiling array microphone ‘tiles’ with advanced audio DSPs to limit distracting sounds such as keyboard clicks. The Shure audio processing is designed for remote conferencing with advanced echo cancellation, noise reduction and automatic gain control that guarantees a premium
audio experience. Shure network-powered speakers and high-quality video displays including projectors round out the high-fidelity installations.

“The reliability and quality of those Shure microphones is phenomenal. You can walk anywhere in the room and people on the other end hear you at the same level. Speakers in the courtyard sound crystal clear,” Pilcher says.

Unexpected and delightful benefits point to the future

Although Codan achieved maximum success with its expected goal of broadcasting the CEO’s messages to a global internal audience, it has observed other emergent benefits.

Its large engineer cohort increasingly connects geographically distributed workgroups in many-on-many Microsoft Teams meetings, including remote individuals as presenters. The legacy system made such configurations too complicated for regular use.

And while spurred on by the pandemic, company directors outside South Australia who in lockdown attended board meetings by video, are keen to continue commuting virtually as conditions relax. The annual general meeting (AGM) of shareholders — held virtually for the past two years — may also continue to have a virtual component even as big gatherings are again permitted, Pilcher says.

“People ask, why go to Adelaide for a board meeting or AGM when we were successful linking up over video?” Pilcher says

Although Codan’s new solution won’t eliminate travel, it could cut up to 25 per cent of trips: “We did a lot of travel that could have been covered virtually so travel won’t be the first option; it will probably be second or third option in future.”

And the new solution has change Codan’s culture. Pilcher says management is now more open to staff working from home, such as when caring for family.

“They’re still in group meetings and included in everything going on. So it’s better for people to work remotely than what it was before.”

Other emergent benefits of the Calibre One solution are:

· Enhances Codan’s reputation as a leader in wireless communications by deploying a solution that is flexible, powerful and still easy to use

· Supplements contingency planning by empowering users to work remotely at a moment’s notice should a physical office be compromised

· Identifies Codan as an employer of choice for primary carers and employees returning to work because they can work from home as needed

Pilcher says Codan is exploring how to expand the solution including extending it to the training room and providing bigger screens to staff working at home.

Lessons learned: Engage a trusted adviser to help you maximise success

Pilcher credits much of Codan’s success with its new communications platform to engaging Calibre One, who helped it codify the fast-growing business’s needs and delivered maximum success.

Lessons learned included the need for a client to be clear about what they wanted; understand the value of quality components transcends price; land on a clear and agreed specification and scope; deliver a solution that delights users and supports their changing work patterns and expectations.

"Calibre One listened to what we wanted to design a solution that seamlessly encompassed our existing equipment, including when we pushed the boundary,”

“They found ways to cut costs so we could reinvest in higher quality audio and video, which makes a phenomenal difference to the user experience.”

Dave Pilcher
Codan operations manager