A Clean Solution with No Clutter
When equipping their conference rooms, VPV Versicherungen were faced with the challenge of covering oblong rooms in terms of sound and optimally connecting employees on site with colleagues from external locations. ADECIA, Yamaha's complete audio solution for conferences, achieved this feat. Marco Weinkauf, head of VPV's computer centre, and Lukas Kirchner, key account manager at Bechtle system house, explain the challenges and successes of integrating ADECIA.
What requirements did VPV approach Bechtle with? Were there any particular challenges?
Weinkauf: Classic telephone conference spiders from various manufacturers were ultimately no longer able to convince us due to their microphones. The change from telephone conferences to video conferences simply did not work well with telephone conference spiders. As soon as a user turned away from the microphones and spoke in the direction of the video screen, the audio quality, which had been quite good until then, dropped very sharply.
Kirchner: VPV had very outdated communication technology and was not prepared for the new situation, so the almost tubular conference rooms needed a simple multimedia solution to make remote or hybrid working and conferencing possible. Due to the elongated structure of the rooms, the challenge was to make everyone in the room easily audible and to make the other side understandable with enough power for everyone. It also happens frequently at VPV that several people speak at the same time. VPV always had poor results with previous solutions.
Why was a ceiling microphone solution chosen?
Weinkauf: On the one hand, we were looking for an audio solution that would capture voices in the best possible quality when facing the video screens and at the same time had to be easy to use with notebooks via standardised interfaces.
Kirchner: The ceiling microphone is located in the centre of the room and can pick up all participants very well, no matter where they are in the room. Because the Yamaha ceiling microphone has four beams, several speakers can be picked up at the same time.
What were the reasons for choosing Yamaha ADECIA in the case of VPV?
Kirchner: The decisive advantage was the simple installation and the simultaneous pick-up of several voices speaking at the same time. Distributor Exertis supported us in the selection process. Yamaha did a demo and was able to convince with quality, installation and connectivity. That is why the ADECIA system was chosen.
Which elements from Yamaha were used in the overall system?
Kirchner: The complete ADECIA system was used, only the switch is an IT-certified device. Four rooms are equipped with it, some with one ceiling microphone and some with two. The speakers used were the VXL1-16P line array speakers.
How was the installation?
Weinkauf: Overall, the installation was quite simple for us. The ADECIA system is self-sufficient on the network side and the audio functionality is made available to our notebook users via USB from a Thunderbolt docking station as an ordinary audio device under Windows.
Kirchner: The installation on the ceiling was a challenge. There were three or four different types of ceilings and different mounts were needed for them. Solutions were not readily available for all types of ceilings. So we called in a third-party supplier. But the initial set-up was easy, the process could be done quickly. The customer did almost everything themselves. There were still two or three questions, which we were able to clarify quickly and then the installation was finished.
Were there any special features you had to pay attention to during the installation of the systems?
Weinkauf: We wanted to avoid having to manually re-calibrate the system for every meeting. We have rooms where we change seating positions, and the speakers should not have to be newly calibrated every time. We do not have multimedia specialists in-house, we are IT people. And usually those who hold the meetings are not from IT, so it has to be easy to use. ADECIA ticks all those boxes.
How was the experience of setting up and using ADECIA?
Kirchner: At the beginning there were a few minor problems with the beams, in particular the recognition of the individual speakers. But that was solved with a firmware update.
Weinkauf: The very first start-up worked quite smoothly after a firmware update of all components. The components were recognised and the system was automatically calibrated to the room. Yamaha support did a really good job of both analysing and resolving any questions!
How has your experience with the system been since? How is the sound quality and speech intelligibility for the remote side?
Weinkauf: The quality is very good for our meetings via Microsoft Teams, both locally and remotely. For the users, however, the introduction also meant a slight change, because the system recognises even quiet, bilateral exchanges between colleagues very well and may transmit it as the primary signal for all users in quiet moments.
Has the use of a ceiling microphone solution changed meeting procedures or conferences?
Weinkauf: By using the ceiling microphone solution, the audio quality has increased considerably. Our users book the ADECIA meeting rooms much more frequently than the conference rooms not yet equipped with ADECIA.
To what extent does the topic of "contactlessness" also play a role in times of Corona?
Weinkauf: That was not an issue at the time. First and foremost, we wanted a clean solution with no clutter on the desks or tables. There is only one cable from a docking station so that the speakers can dock their notebooks, that is it.
Is VPV satisfied with the solution? Would you recommend this solution again?
Weinkauf: We are thrilled with the ADECIA solution. How well the microphones and the system work - that is quality. We had also considered other market competitors, but ADECIA was the best solution for us, which is why we will equip more rooms with it. When we hold meetings with business partners in our Stuttgart head office and remotely connect colleagues via ADECIA, we often receive questions from the business partners as to which audio solution we are using here.
The ADECIA solution works perfectly for us and our users in Microsoft Teams meetings; the audio quality in video conferences is simply outstanding!
Marco Weinkauf, Data Centre Manager
Based on the customer’s prerequisites and requirements, we engaged in a very productive dialogue with our partner exertis | PRO AV. It quickly became clear that the high-quality solution portfolio by Yamaha was a perfect fit for the customer’s concept.
Lukas Kirchner, Key Account Manager, Bechtle IT system house Neckarsulm
VPV Versicherungen, or VPV for short, is a modern financial services company with more than 190 years of tradition. Founded in 1827 as a life insurance company for postal workers, VPV is now open to all customers, whether for retirement provision, asset accumulation or protection.
Bechtle IT system house Neckarsulm:
The Bechtle IT system house Neckarsulm is part of Bechtle AG. Bechtle employs a global network for the distribution of IT products with comprehensive system house services on site. Personal customer contact, a wide range of skills and individual solution concepts all contribute to the Neckarsulm location’s success. Bechtle employees support VPV in the “Service Desk” department. Bechtle Neckarsulm is a Teams partner and uses Cisco Webex. At its Karlsruhe location and with Bechtle subsidiary Hansevision, Bechtle has specialists for conferencing technology.