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Coca-Cola’s Johannesburg office has recently relocated to Rosebank and has benefited from an extensive upgrade under the guidance of the company’s in-house Workplace 20/20 team. The move has brought Coca-Cola South Africa in line with the company’s global standards – opening up opportunities for smarter working processes, higher levels of collaboration and greater productivity – realised through Crestron Electronics office automation solutions, among other technology.

In a recent interview, Pro-Systems Africa News spoke with Vernon Pond, Coca-Cola’s technology services manager for Southern, Central and East Africa, about Coca-Cola’s new home.

Originally housed in a single unit within a multi-tenant office park, Pond explains that as Coca-Cola Southern and East Africa’s operations expanded, so did the company’s office space and by the late 1990s, they had taken over three four-story buildings in Parktown. However, as the property was not originally designed to house a single entity, separate buildings and labyrinthine corridors between departments discouraged interdepartmental collaboration and effective utilisation of available resources – and made the adoption of new technologies and work processes particularly challenging. The Coca-Cola senior management team therefore decided that it was time to move to a new location.

“Once it was decided that we were in the market for new premises, the senior management team came together and brainstormed what they wanted in a work environment, both from an aesthetic and functional standpoint,” Pond explains. Objectives highlighted included the need to house the team in a single, open-planned environment that offered breakaway spaces specifically designed to facilitate collaboration, supported by a standardised, state-of-the-art IT network, as well as homogeneous, user-friendly office automation and audiovisual solutions to optimise workflow.

Speaking to Pro-Systems Africa News in a recent interview, Panavision Evolve sales director, Jaco Potgieter explained that the Coca-Cola contract provided Panavision Evolve with a rare opportunity to deliver a world-class office automation and integration system at international standards for the local market.

At the Rosebank offices, 20 of the 25 collaborative meeting spaces on offer are equipped for VC. Each VC enabled room is equipped with an HD screen, CISCO cameras, Shure microphones and a Crestron desktop panel, which is pre-programmed with a standardised user interface. Thanks to Crestron’s room scheduling technology, an associate can book a huddle space in advance using an app that integrates with a variety of electronic calendars or simply by using the touch screen panel positioned outside each venue. Once a meeting is scheduled, a user simply needs to follow the prompts on the desktop panel to start their meeting.

All components are wirelessly connected using Crestron’s AirMedia® Devise, which enables associates to walk into any meeting space and wirelessly present PowerPoint, Excel, and Word documents, PDFs, photos, and screenshots from any Mac or Windows notebook, iOS or Android device.  Employees are hosted on the company’s internal Wifi network. However, guest presenters can wirelessly connect using the guest network, making plugging in an HDMI or similar cable unnecessary (though still possible).

Pond explains that Coca-Cola has been using BlueJeans, a cloud-based video calling platform designed to enable people to connect to multiparty video conferencing sessions for some time. “We offered associates access to BlueJeans VC platforms at the Parktown office. However, the user-friendly and accessible AV installation at the new offices has made it truly accessible for the first time, and has radically transformed work processes throughout the organisation,” Pond points out.

Pond is able to analyse usage across rooms and devises thanks to the inclusion of Crestron Fusion® monitoring and scheduling software that integrates systems and technologies that typically operate in silos. The software is able to track usage to provide data on room usage, high traffic areas and the number of users among other variables. “With Fusion® in place, we are able to see which rooms get the most traffic and plan scale-up or maintenance intervals accordingly,” Pond points out.

“Panavision enjoys a lot of support from Crestron during the implementation of the Coca-Cola contract. “We feel confident deploying Crestron solutions as the company offers exceptional aftersales support and a very solid five-year warranty on all of their equipment. He goes on to explain that Panavision keeps a solid inventory of Crestron equipment for loan to ensure that if a client’s equipment is removed for maintenance, they can minimise downtime. “However, Crestron also keeps an extensive inventory of products for loan, and if we can’t find something, they are willing to go the extra mile to import a unit or component for our client.”