Case Studies

B. Braun Medical Inc: Building Hybrid Meeting Solutions

Posted in: Corporate , Healthcare , UC&C

Braun Medical Inc., a leader in infusion therapy and pain management, develops, manufactures, and markets medical products and services to the healthcare industry. Other key product areas include nutrition, pharmacy admixture and dialysis. The company is committed to eliminating preventable treatment errors and enhancing patient, clinician and environmental safety. B. Braun Medical is headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is part of the B. Braun Group of Companies in the U.S., which includes B. Braun Interventional Systems, Aesculap® and CAPS®.

Globally, the B. Braun Group of Companies employs more than 64,000 employees in 64 countries. Guided by its Sharing Expertise® philosophy, B. Braun continuously exchanges knowledge with customers, partners and clinicians to address the critical issues of improving care and lowering costs. To learn more about B. Braun Medical, explore their website.

The Challenge

Through fostering strategic business alliances with other medical product companies, B. Braun excels at bringing together novel ideas and technologies to offer products with inherent safety features that address some of healthcare’s most significant challenges. Therein lies the glaring requirement for the business as a whole; employees, executives and company stakeholders need contemporized audiovisual and unified communication solutions to be able to collaborate and conduct meetings effectively.

Spurred by the need to prepare for disasters such as a global pandemic, Senior Telecommunications Analyst Avinder Sidhu and B. Braun’s IT infrastructure team at the Pennsylvania facilities in Allentown and Bethlehem realized that upgrading meeting spaces and office environments would be futile without integrating technology that has the capability to easily connect remote workers and clientele with in-office employees. What’s more, leadership was looking for quicker, easier and more consistent ways of communicating with supervisors working remotely but still overseeing operations and production. So, for them, “that means enabling connectivity via Microsoft Teams, which the existing conferencing system and audiovisual hardware was simply not compatible with,” said Sidhu.

Engaging with Vistacom to design and build an integrated technology solution specifically to meet this need came out of a 25-year long relationship, or “a trusted partnership, over the course of which we’ve really seen an evolution of B. Braun’s AV and conferencing technology,” said Andrew Quinn, Senior Account Representative. With an established technology ecosystem of microphones, speakers, displays and touch panels, B. Braun partnered with Vistacom on achieving a clear goal with a forward-thinking mindset: integrate upgraded audiovisual components and enable the room users to leverage the technology for Microsoft Teams or any other software-based video conferencing applications.

With staff gradually returning to a hybrid office environment in late 2021, some employees work in the office, while others work from home—all on varying schedules. B. Braun aims to transition into an era of a more flexible workplace, meaning their conference room technology upgrades of various sizes and scope should be planned, designed and engineered in a way that establishes a reliable standard for business communication in the post-pandemic, hybrid work environment.

The Solution

Embracing the challenge to implement meeting technology for consistent workplace collaboration regardless of whether you’re a business partner dialing in, a remote worker at your home office, or a meeting participant physically in the conference room, B. Braun worked in stride with the Vistacom to develop a standard for better-equipped meeting rooms that enable team members to work together in this new environment.

Not only did these meeting spaces need to be easy to operate in terms connectivity, but also equipped for video conferences, audio conferences, and presentations in slightly different configurations that were tailored to each room’s use, purpose, size and physical arrangement.

Four different solutions were designed and integrated at B. Braun’s corporate headquarters in Bethlehem and its manufacturing facility in Allentown, all driven by the common need to easily connect with Microsoft Teams and give remote participants the same perspective and experience as if they were physically collaborating in the meeting room.

 

1. ClickShare Logitech Integrated Rooms

To allow remote participants to see and hear everything that’s happening in the meeting rooms—and vice versa— Vistacom designed a custom integration with the Barco ClickShare Conference CX-30 wireless conferencing systems and the Logitech Rally solution. From the Finance Atrium to Customer Support to the office of the COO for B. Braun North America, each conference room and meeting space that received this cutting-edge AV setup consisted of Logitech Rally’s wall-mounted HD 4k automated PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras, ultra-low distortion wall-mounted speakers, and high-precision beamforming table mic pods.Known as the ClickShare Logitech Room Solutions, these systems were either connected directly to the existing, wall-mounted flat panel display or a newly furnished NEC 75″ Ultra HD display. The upgraded rooms provided B. Braun with the ability to connect to scheduled or impromptu video and audio conferences via a designated laptop and/or handheld device with USB connectivity, incorporating the existing HDMI laptop inputs for local content sharing within the space.

Presentations with the ClickShare were made exceptionally easy with this integration, as the room user doesn’t need to do anything except connect to the ClickShare conferencing USB or hardware option and utilize the handheld remote control for the display settings and Logitech Rally devices. Once initiated, all of the room peripherals are activated to enhance the meeting experience with professional-quality video, crystal clear, room-filling sound, and AI-based microphones designed to ensure that everyone in the conference room is clearly heard.

 

2. Logitech Meetup Huddle Room

To aid HR leaders in facilitating better collaboration and personal communication in their conference room at the Bethlehem building, Vistacom deployed the Logitech MeetUp all-in-one video conferencing system. Being quite small, this space needed a compact conferencing setup that still consists of built-in professional-grade 4K HD video, beamforming microphone array and full-range speakers.

Braun expressed the need to maintain the integrity of natural and intimate conversations in this HR huddle space. Quinn swiftly understood the challenge and worked closely with Vistacom Applications Engineer J.P. Van Spanje to implement the MeetUp solution that enables just that, with front-of-room alignment of voice and video, auto-leveling of louder and softer voices, beamforming mic array that captures varying speech, and an ultra-wide lens designed with Logitech’s RightSight™ to automatically capture and frame everyone in the huddle room—whether it’s a confidential one-on-one or a group exchange.

“The MeetUp solution is mounted at the base of the flat panel display so it’s eye-level, maximizing usable space in the room and centralizing all functions of the application,” said Quinn. It’s simple to manage and ideal for connecting to video conferences in the small space, which is enabled with ease through a Bluetooth or wireless connection, the existing Barco ClickShare CSM-1, or the new HDMI laptop input at the HR conference table for local content sharing.

 

3. Versatile USB Switching & Enhanced Control

In the BoA board room at the Allentown location, Sidhu said that “versatility and ease-of-use were top of mind when designing for the board members using this large conferencing space, and Vistacom diligently listened and focused on that throughout the entire AV engineering and integration process.” This system enhancement included the ClickShare Logitech Room Solution with all of the bells and whistles connected to the existing LED flat panel display—Barco ClickShare Conference integration with buttons and USB adapters, Logitech 4K HD camera with 5x zoom, Logitech Rally Mic Pods, and wall-mounted Rally speakers.

But, what makes this room remarkably versatile is the added ability to participate in a Microsoft Teams conference and/or any other software-based conference call using either the software running on the dedicated PC in the board room, or through a BYOD (bring your own device) capability, typically via a laptop, using the HDMI laptop input for easy content sharing.

The key to this involved two unique installations: an Extron USB switcher and a Crestron control system. In a nutshell, the switcher provides any user of the board room the ability to select which audio or video conferencing application (either the dedicated room PC or integrated ClickShare Logitech solution) will access and use the Logitech camera.

Additionally, Vistacom aimed to create a technology ecosystem in the board room that was fundamentally hassle-free with enhanced control. Sidhu and the Vistacom team worked in tandem to plan and subsequently program, configure and integrate a control system consisting of a chassis and a 10” tabletop touch panel. The result? All equipment can easily be controlled, even by non-technical staff, with an intuitive graphical interface that can turn the 90” flat panel display on and off, adjust audio volumes, select different sources, and even modify settings for the lighting and shades throughout the room.

 

4. AV Bridges & Fully Optimized Conferencing

In order to bring all of the technology components together for a high-quality Teams call, Vistacom carefully considered how to integrate wireless ClickShare conferencing while making effective use of the existing AV system in the Executive and Manufacturing conference rooms at B. Braun’s Allentown facility. Fortunately, Vistacom’s established relationship with B. Braun meant that the team knew exactly how all of their previously installed Cisco video conferencing peripherals function together and operate for unified collaboration in each respective space.

To engage all devices, including one new wall-mounted Lumens 20x Optical Zoom HD PTZ camera in the front of the Manufacturing conference room, Vistacom deployed a dedicated Vaddio AV Bridge in each room in addition to the newly integrated ClickShare Conference CX-50. Essentially, the AV Bridges together with the ClickShare system converted the audio from the existing overhead microphones and video from wall-mounted cameras to streamline proper USB connection to either a dedicated room PC or personal laptop.

By optimizing use of the entire conferencing ecosystem through AV Bridges, meeting room participants can share a presentation in a hybrid format. Collaboration and content sharing can happen locally within the room and simultaneously with any remote attendees by simply connecting a USB ClickShare conferencing button to a laptop. Plus, Vistacom’s Programming team made enhancements to the Crestron control system and touch panel to account for the AV Bridges and ClickShare integration with the existing room system.

The Results

“Although these rooms are only just beginning to be used, our employees are already very happy with the ease-of-use, meeting quality in a new hybrid arrangement, and all of the added capabilities, particularly with Microsoft Teams,” said Sidhu. He added, “we’re looking at this as, really, a true conferencing solution for B. Braun moving forward.” This touches on one aspect of Vistacom’s relationship with B. Braun that Quinn often evangelizes: the practicality and value of standardization. Using these room systems of various sizes, use cases, and technology configurations as models, Vistacom’s role in long-term planning for hybrid conferencing environments at B. Braun continues to take on the form of a critical partnership to deploy similar conference room systems throughout the company’s U.S. locations and beyond.

Sidhu mentioned that B. Braun’s decision-makers and stakeholders have realized the importance of standardization when it comes to technology infrastructure and AV integrations. Prior to developing the conferencing layout for these room upgrades, meetings were sometimes disjointed and often experienced complications when attempting to connect with Teams and other video conferencing applications.

“We had to look at certain things from a global level, such as functionality and the overall cost,” Sidhu said. “Now,” he continued, “this is what we’re planning to model and deploy. The Logitech Rally solutions and integrated Barco ClickShare wireless conferencing connect directly to and seamlessly with each room; we no longer have to worry about the peripherals. It’s the pathway forward to bring people together and more easily collaborate.”

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