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Kodum And Ara Combine Skills To Futureproof Educational AV

When Ara wanted to upgrade their AV educational technology to a digital platform, sourcing a technology solutions provider who worked as a partner rather than just a supplier was key.

In 2015, the Ara Institute of Canterbury began a program to move their dated and highly limited analogue teaching spaces and lecture theatres to more modern digital platforms.

“There have been massive changes in the use of AV in higher educational and technical institutions over the last few years,” says Ryan Roughan, ICT Technology Manager at Ara explains. “That rate of change is only likely to increase given the merger of AV and IT and the new norm created by Covid-19.”

To keep pace with the industry, Ara worked on changing its infrastructure and network capacity and put in place a suitable, scalable network that would allow the Institute to easily adopt and rollout the latest technology to meet their teaching needs.

“Innovative and usable AV equipment is at the heart of our teaching,” Ryan explains. “The quality of technology, correct and timely installation and ongoing support are all essential for seamless and effective teaching and communication for our students and staff.”

Partnership approach key to growth

As the changes developed, it became obvious to the Ara team that they needed to bring on board a new AV solutions provider. The final choice came with one big caveat. “We didn’t just want a supplier,” says Ryan. “We wanted a partner who had the knowledge to help us grow into the new world of networked AV.”

During the application process, Ryan recalls that Kodum asked Ara what they needed, rather than simply telling them what they could do. He saw the approach as “refreshing” and clearly showed that Kodum shared their partnership philosophy.

Andrew Green, Kodum’s Chief Visionary Officer, adds that getting in on the ground floor of the redevelopment plan was a big plus. “It meant that both parties could engage in thought leadership around what could be achieved.”

Another factor that worked in Kodum’s favour was their knowledge around ICT and AV user experience. This allowed them to provide the Ara team with in-depth information to deploy a high performance network.

Early Adoption Delivers Success For Health Research & Education Facility

The partnership approach was out to the test on some of Ara’s smaller teaching spaces. The successful implementation of this initial project led to Kodum working with Ara to develop the AV for the Institute’s new medical teaching building (Manawa).

Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct, of which Manawa is a part, is a collaboration between Ara, the Canterbury District Health Board and the University of Canterbury.

Manawa houses health education, professional development and research activities for over 1800 Ara nursing, midwifery and medical imaging students, as well as CDHB education and development staff.

A simulation floor holds a mock operating theatre, ward, imaging, ICU/PACU clinical simulation and teaching areas, enabling students to hone their skills in real-world healthcare environments.

The design of the space is revolutionary with flexibility at its heart. “The networked technology from Kodum allowed us to make significant changes to the design with tweaks to the programming instead of having to do major recabling,” says Ryan.

The Manawa project was a wifi first concept. As a result of this, Kodum’s recommended design needed to match the minimalist vision. “They worked closely with our Head of Network design to develop a futureproofed concept that was scalable and ready to support our future business needs,” Ryan explains.

Breaking New Ground

As a collaborative teaching building, Manawa needed some fresh thinking around the use of technology.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was chosen as the most efficient way to allow students and teachers to interact with the building’s AV technology. Kodum also made it easy to reconfigure rooms within the building, both physically and AV-wise. Large rooms can be broken down into smaller rooms and visa-versa at the push of a button.

“This was only made possible through the close collaboration between Kodum and our team at Ara,” says Ryan. “Kodum’s collaborative approach to the design and implementation process for this and all of the other projects we have worked on together has always been very enjoyable.”

The strong connection that has developed between the two teams means that solutions have always been found to any issue that comes up during projects.

Andrew Green from Kodum agrees that the collaborative approach has been working well. He says that a key to this success is the way that Ara engage and participate in design and product evaluation. “Ideas are shared freely and there’s a level of confidence that everyone around the table is highly committed to the best solution.”

“The need for flexible technology in a post Covid world is paramount for us,” says Ryan. “It’s essential that we have a knowledgeable technology partner that we can rely on. Kodum’s approach to bringing us new technology and discussing how it might be used means that we’re ahead of any problems before they arise. We can rely on Kodum as our partner to deal with the future.”

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