I’ve spoken to people recently about being finalists at the Awards. It has become clear to me that unless you work in the industry, you are unlikely to understand what the award title means, and what we’ve achieved to be a finalist.
I wanted to take this opportunity to explore how we’ve got to this point.
Here is a little bit of history and context.
Whitwam AV Integration is part of Whitwam Ltd, which this year is celebrating 110 years in business. You would be right to question how a company specialising in such a technology-led industry could have been in business for so long.
It’s simple; we were there at the start.
Initially, as a retailer of pianos and sheet music, we were at the cutting edge of Edwardian reproducing machines, speech and music recordings. From that starting point, the company has developed from a retail company into what we are in 2019, a company that provides expert and specialist provision in three areas.
Whitwam AV Integration is one of those three areas, with videofrog creating high-quality video for creative agencies, and designed. event production providing creative and technical AV production for live events.
Over the past 20 years, the installation and integration side of the business has grown considerably, developing existing clients and building new relationships.
So that is the history, now to explain what being a finalist in National Integrator of the Year category means!
Looking at this description in the purest form, we design, create and build, integrate and install audiovisual equipment into buildings as an ongoing permanent fixture.
Over the past two years we have completed projects in such environments as cathedrals and abbeys, other historic and listed buildings, and corporate and public sector, including a secure unit for young people.
Each building and location has its unique AV challenges that we aim to resolve. These include working within the detailed requirements of listed building consents to creating operational managed control systems for complex technical equipment.
The project at Winchester Cathedral is an excellent example of the work we have completed in a historic building. The building has existed since the 10th century; updating its AV system was vital for them to be able to communicate successfully with its wide-ranging audience.
This is where it becomes easier to understand what an AV integrator means.
Our work included designing and creating a system that would bring together all the AV systems throughout the Cathedral and allow a touchscreen system to control all the elements. To implement this took many hours of programming the system to make all the different parts, including video cameras, microphones, speakers, amplifiers etc. to come together to work as one.
We work sympathetically both in the way we apply the new technology to the building and in the day to day running of the building.
We apply a high level of consideration to every element of what we do, including colour matching and re-spraying all the speakers to match the stonework of their locations. Plus, we custom designed the brackets so they could be fitted to the columns in the nave without damaged the stonework.
Now when you visit the Cathedral, wherever your location in one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, you can take part in the hourly prayers. The new system now enables the whole Cathedral to take part through its fully integrated system.
Moving from the historic building to contemporary and modern, we have the work we’ve completed in a secure unit for young people.
We created a high-quality touchscreen-controlled solution to provide television and radio, plus the ability to make telephone calls, for the residents the secure youth unit.
The system was designed and built to meet demanding specifications. Each residents room has a built-in robust touchscreen display enabling them to select television or radio facilities. Staff can remotely manage and control each room’s facilities. Each room can have access to a different selection of channels and pre-programmed telephone numbers meeting their individual needs.
The programming of the system is unique; designed to meet the needs of both the staff controlling the system and give the end-user flexibility.
Given the age of the users, we received approval from Ofsted and the Department of Education for the design, programming and build.
These two projects could not be further apart in their surroundings and user group. However, at their heart, they provide the same solution which has led to us being finalists
We aim to provide audiovisual solutions that work seamlessly and sympathetically in their environment.
Our team and the company as a whole, are proud of the achievements that we have made. We look forward to continuing to develop our skillsets, experience and enable our clients to maximise their audiovisual experience.