Acquia is a cloud platform provider for a number of the most recognizable global organizations in the world. With clientele that includes the NCAA, Warner Music Group and The European Union, among many others, the Acquia Platform helps to deploy and manage thousands of sites at scale. With such a massive and important portfolio to maintain, it’s imperative that the company attract and retain the best talent available to continue to grow.
Acquia took a major step in positioning itself as a prime destination of employment this past year with the opening of its Boston headquarters. “The demand for talent of all skill sets, all ages, is enormous,” says Bill Sorenson, CFO of Acquia, in a video made surrounding the build. “To have a space such as this to basically attract talent, for us, is a great tool to have in our toolbox.”
AV Helpdesk was to provide the systems design for the AV side of the new headquarters project. Acquia utilized global real estate and project management firm Cushman & Wakefield to help choose the right partners for the build, and the company brought in AV Helpdesk to contract directly with Acquia. AV Helpdesk has a business model that differs from most systems integrators or consultants in the industry, as it provides the systems design before bringing in an integrator to build out the project.
AV Helpdesk sat down with Acquia in order to discern the best way to deliver technology, using the most reliable system possible. Members from both companies looked at the floorplan and collaboratively decided what was needed in different types of rooms. For example, would a room that sits over six people require a monitor, while a room that sits under four people will only require a telephone and internet connection? AV Helpdesk then gave options for technology in each type of room, and once Acquia made a decision AV Helpdesk scaled the design across the building.
“For this particular client – they share graphics constantly. They’re always on video,” says Steve Grace, Principal at AV Helpdesk. “I’ve never seen a client that pushed video as much as these guys. And there’s no video conferencing gear. They do everything over Google Hangouts. They walk around with tablets with Google Hangout sessions, everybody does. You go into a conference room and you bring up a Google session, and they’re sharing documents that way and conferencing that way.”
AV Helpdesk designed a system where web cameras and monitors were available in all rooms that seat four or more people. They also created mobile carts that hold a 55-inch monitor, a web camera solution, a dedicated PC and a UPS with wireless connection that are utilized to bring in team members that are working remotely to interact with those in the office. Small and larger conference rooms feature monitors while several dedicated training and presentation rooms house projectors, but all are built on Google and Google Chrome technology at Acquia. iPad Minis can be found at every door of these rooms, and a web-based scheduling platform allows employees to know when rooms are booked or free for use. AV Helpdesk then brought in AV integration firm Adtech Systems for the buildout.
“It starts out as a bid situation,” says Paul Kelley, Sales Engineer for Adtech Systems. “AV Helpdesk puts the design out to a few AV integrators in the area, and we were ultimately awarded the project. In the process of that bidding we review all the AV Helpdesk drawings and equipment lists, and confirm that it looks good and makes sense and we have faith in it. Generally speaking AV Helpdesk does really great designs and we like working with them, and have worked with them on a number of large scale clients.”
The most visually stunning aspect of the installation is the Planar Mosaic LED Video Wall that hangs in the front lobby of Acquia’s Boston office. Acquia chose the Planar Mosaic video wall because the piece had more to do with ramping up the aesthetics than with pushing content. With less created content coming across the board, AV Helpdesk suggested that the Mosaic wall would provide visual appeal, allowing content to have a longer shelf life without becoming stale. Display screens line the walls throughout halls and in large gathering areas, and all displays can show cable TV, Google Hangouts, and company messaging that can be pushed from a central location. The entire office is as plug-and-play as possible, with Google Chromeboxes in every room along with laptop connectivity.
“The main showcase piece is the Planar Mosaic wall in the lobby,” says Kelley. “It’s really a cool, abstract 4K video wall that is really eye-catching. It stands out and makes everybody stop in their tracks when they see it.”
The Acquia Boston headquarters opened in 2015 with an event filled with partners, employees, press, and a speech from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Acquia plans to continue to innovate and upgrade their office in order to continue to attract the best talent possible.
“We now have formed a great working relationship with Acquia, so for any new work they come to us directly,” says Kelley. “Obviously they just did an amazing upgrade, so there’s no major renovations taking place immediately. But we’ve already done a few other upgrades since the completion of the core project.”