Avocor and Generation Digital helps Guildhall School put teachers and students at the centre of a cloud collaboration and learning platform
The Guildhall School of Music & Drama is a world class Higher Education Institution which offers aspiring musicians, actors, stage managers and theatre technicians a creative and stimulating environment in which to develop as artists and professionals. Widely considered a bastion of creative and professional practice, the Guildhall School actively promotes innovation, experiment and research.
The School recently completed a £90M project to expand its facilities, providing state-of-the-art performance and teaching spaces including: a 608-seat Concert Hall, a 223-seat Theatre, a Studio Theatre, three major rehearsal rooms, a TV studio suite and numerous teaching rooms, meeting spaces and conferencing facilities to attract the very best teaching faculty and student community.
One of the challenges faced by the deployment team at the School centred around how to create cloud-based, collaborative environments designed to enhance teaching and learning.
To help them address this challenge, the School engaged digital transformational consultants, Generation Digital to provide programme management and governance to help the School make the right investments based on best of breed technology and progress the programme forward to completion. Leading a joint team with the School, Generation Digital provided the project management, design, implementation, systems integration, training and change management expertise needed to support the deployment of the new technology within challenging timeframes.
There were several key project success criteria, specifically:
- Create new revenue streams for the School by building an online learning platform - meeting the increased demand from international students
- Enhance meeting and teaching spaces with the best collaboration tools in the market
- Build a solution that both teachers and students will find easy and enjoyable to use
- Limit the need for on-going capital hardware expenditure by facilitating cloud based storage.
Guildhall School’s Head of IT, Richard Antonel, was charged with specifically IT facilities and infrastructure that could provide the highest possible levels of performance and future-proofing. He explains, “The scope (of the project) was to install the highest standard of teaching and learning equipment available at the time. The goal was to put students and teachers at the heart of the technology strategy. The School wanted to provide more students with internet-enabled learning systems, so they could learn anytime, anywhere. Since the School serves a wide range of students and teachers around the globe, they needed an affordable, flexible solution that would improve the learning experience for every student and teacher within every department. These new digital / cloud systems need human focused user experience allowing true global cloud collaboration without the burden of learning new and complex systems. Also they wanted to increase revenue by offering on-line courses or a mix of physical and virtual content courses.”
To help make the right technology investments and ensure the project was a success, the School engaged Generation Digital to define the strategy and consult on the best technology solution to meet the requirements and tight timescales for deployment, whilst gaining the quickest return on investment. The central core of the solution were the interactive, multi-touch, 4K display screens deployed from Avocor, ranging from 65” through to 84”. One of the core principles of the Avocor solution is the fact that the solution is based on an open platform. This enabled Generation Digital to build a bespoke solution that met the needs of the School. Powered by Windows 10, the Avocor displays were perfect for the cloud based elements of the project, allowing users to access collaboration packages such as Microsoft Office 365, Skype for Business, Skype, Adobe Connect and Google Hangouts straight from the display. The Windows 10 operating system also ensured that users were presented with a familiar user interface rather than propriety software platforms that required extensive adoption training. The wealth of connectivity allows for video conferencing cameras to be added to the solution whilst cloud based web conferencing software enables immersive meeting experiences, virtual online course delivery and large scale webinars, all providing a transformational learning environment to deliver world class digital collaboration.