Education Review Office (ERO)
The Education Review Office (ERO) recognises the value of empowering staff collaboration, despite some of the challenges an operation of its nature faces. There are countless examples of companies implementing a review or programme of this nature, however not many of them are a government agency with seven offices and over 200 staff, the majority of whom began their careers well-before the internet age and operate out in the field for most of the week.
Responsible for evaluating and reporting on the education and care of New Zealand’s children in early childhood services and schools, ERO maintains a progressive approach to technology.
“Our workforce is a mature one with many of our staff having worked in the education sector. They are highly mobile, equipped with a laptop and an iPhone and spend the majority of their time in schools and early childhood learning services,” says the CFO of Education Review Office, James Kwing.
With the few days staff are in the office each week, it is vital facilities such as video conferencing and instant device syncing to interactive panels and TVs support the work of the ERO review team.
“We adopted internal video conferencing capability in 2010, which delivered good value and collaboration between our sites, field staff and office staff. However, it didn’t provide communication outside ERO, which limited the business somewhat” says Kwing.
When ERO relocated to another premises in Hamilton, this provided an opportunity to address these limitations and to review and adopt other technology that would deliver better collaboration and efficiencies in this modern space.
ActiveVision worked with ERO and designed & deployed a suitable solution that included an 86” Clevertouch interactive panel with an audio solution. As well as the training room solution, ActiveVision delivered collaborative meeting room spaces using flat-screen televisions and BenQ wireless presentation systems that enable device synchronising, video conferencing though Skype4Business and simple audio management. Any staff member can now choose a room and get set up to have a video conference, work with colleagues or conduct a presentation in an instant.
“ActiveVision assisted us with delivering our Clevertouch interactive touch-screen panels, video conferencing and audio solutions by assessing the different modes of work by our staff and together we built the solution the new office required. Getting hands-on with the interactive panels and supporting equipment in the ActiveVision showroom during the planning phase was important. We realised that it was intuitive to use and would deliver the capabilities we needed. On the opening day of the Hamilton office, our staff simply connected and started to work straight away with little training. It was very satisfying and rewarding to watch” says Kwing.
ERO then refitted its Wellington office. This site also has a large training room that can be split in two by a dividing wall. At one end of the room ActiveVision installed an 86” Clevertouch interactive panel and at the other end a 65” interactive panel that synchronises with one another. The room is equipped with an audio solution that delivers three separate speaker zones that can be easily configured to how the room is being used. This room presented additional challenges due its odd shape and concrete columns scattered throughout, which ActiveVision’s design solution accommodated.
“It wasn’t long before we opted to go all-in and rolled out the solutions across all our New Zealand offices. It’s removed the geographical challenges between offices and effectively put all of our people in the same room. Since then ActiveVision has provided additional training to help us get the most out of these tools” says Kwing.
“The Clevertouch panels have been excellent and we’re seeing a culture shift internally, where staff use new apps or collaborate using the technology. There’s a lot of enthusiasm for the tools. In my previous role on the procurement side of the business, I used to see suppliers pass their phones around in meetings to share content whereas now they can simply sync their phones to our system and give a great presentation on the big screen” says Sarai Penita, who is ERO’s new Manager of Business Enablement.
“It’s gratifying and exciting to deliver office spaces that foster greater collaboration, efficiency and innovation with technology and connectivity that support this.” she says.