The Lighting Industry Association is a trade association dedicated to serving anyone involved with the UK’s lighting industry, and is the largest of its kind in Europe. The LIA is committed to the advancement of the lighting sector, as well as promoting best practice and ensuring standards are kept high. Members benefit from the LIA’s highly proactive approach to knowledge development, with access to technical support and laboratory testing services.
Such a forward-thinking organisation should be supported by up-to-date IT architecture and network connectivity, but as of 2015, this was not the case. The existing setup was outdated, with poor wireless infrastructure, a distinct lack of network security, inconsistent and non-functioning backups, and old and slow hardware. The managed services provider at the time was not actively monitoring the system or providing anything more than a purely reactive service; they responded to issues, but did nothing to improve the LIA’s IT infrastructure as a whole.
When Hayley Hillyard joined the LIA as Financial Controller, she saw the potential for a vastly improved IT and managed services setup. Having worked with Vanti before, Hayley was quick to begin talks with us to see how we could shake things up. We worked closely with Hayley to understand what setup would be most beneficial for the LIA, and implemented this over the course of the next two years.
- Full wifi coverage and improved network connectivity across the main LIA building as well as new LIA Academy and Lab building.
- Migration from onsite servers to the Vanti Cloud, resulting in increased workforce mobility as LIA staff and associates can now work from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Full rollout of Skype for Business and Office 365 following migration from an out of warranty onsite server.
- New hardware, including faster computers and two screens per team member to increase productivity.
- Reworked network architecture with increased efficiency and security thanks to next generation firewalls.
- Sitewide digital signage.
- Installation of standard audio-visual connections in every room, featuring VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort. These were installed in a Hydraport that also included power and Ethernet ports, and a touchpanel that can be hidden away when not required.
- 7″ touchpanels outside each room to display the new room booking system, featuring Office 365 integration for ease of use with users able to see bookings from their Microsoft Outlook or online.
- Intuitive video conferencing systems installed including cameras and dedicated microphones for crystal-clear audio and video conference calls.
- Wireless presentation devices installed in various locations in order to reduce the need for cables and create a cleaner finish.
- SMART kapp iQ smartboards to aid collaborative working.
- Minimised cable requirements to create a clean interface; room connectivity systems were built to need only a single cable from table to screen.
- On-brand user interfaces (UI) where possible, including in Hydraport touchscreens and room booking panels.
Vanti conducted a full overhaul of the LIA’s entire IT architecture in terms of network, security, hardware, and software, with the aim of providing them with a much more modern setup that would increase efficiency and productivity. We also moved the phone system to an internet-based one utilising Microsoft Skype for Business – this was a key deliverable for the LIA team to improve communication and collaboration.
Our onsite and offsite teams worked closely with one another to procure, build, and test systems before installing them on-site, and we followed our tried-and-tested Vanti methodology to make sure that this process was as efficient as possible in order to minimise disruption for staff at the LIA.
What the LIA used us for:
- VoIP phone system implementation
- IT architecture and networking
- Provision of new hardware
- Managed services
- Room booking systems
- Video conferencing
The work carried out at the LIA has had a huge impact on the way the organisation runs, with staff and association members benefitting enormously from the new wireless connectivity, internet-based phone system, more modern hardware, and state of the art AV systems. These changes have increased productivity and allowed the LIA to do an even better job of serving the lighting industry. The new LIA Academy, with technology fitted by Vanti, has provided a high-quality learning environment for all stakeholders, which will lead to exciting and innovative developments in the world of lighting.
Our approach to any managed services projects is proactive rather than reactive, and we’ve designed the LIA’s systems to provide us with the data necessary to constantly optimise the system and pre-empt any issues. The Vanti Monitoring Solution actively checks the LIA’s servers and internet connectivity, giving us a real-time picture of the state of the network and allowing us to proactively fix any issues – often before the LIA have become aware of them.
There have also been benefits from an HR point of view – by moving the LIA to cloud-based services such as the Vanti Cloud, Skype for Business, and Office 365, the workforce is a lot more flexible and can work from home or member locations more frequently. This results in happier team members, who are more likely to be motivated at work. Our hands-on managed services approach also means that the LIA is happy to depend on Vanti for all of their IT needs; they don’t have an IT person on site because they don’t need one, thus saving money.
- "Vanti carried out a complete overhaul of our IT systems and servers, so now we’re all consistent and working from the same operating system. The Vanti team are very patient and will talk you through everything; if you’re not an IT guru they will hold your hand and take you through the technicalities in layman’s terms so you can make the right decisions. The whole system is working much better than with our previous IT supplier; Vanti flag things proactively and fix any issues very quickly. Even with support calls, they tend to solve problems straightaway - the team are very helpful and I can’t commend them highly enough."
Hayley Hillyard, Financial Controller / The Lighting Industry Association /