September 2017 saw the launch of BCU’s new Birmingham Conservatoire, a state-of-the-art project that was several years in the making and took two years to construct. The world-class Conservatoire, which was granted a Royal status just two weeks after it opened, cost £57 million and features five public performance spaces, including the 500-seat concert hall, 150-seat recital hall, and a 100-seat organ studio. The building also boasts the UK’s first permanent conservatoire-based jazz space, which seats 80, and a flexible and versatile black-box studio called The Lab where students can experiment and innovate.
The last week of November saw the return of Silicon Canal’s annual Tech Awards, which took place this year at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Vanti were delighted to be nominated, then shortlisted, for the Small Tech Company of the Year award, and faced some stiff competition from GuyKat Solutions and Wealth Wizards. However, the panel of expert judges decided that Vanti were deserving of the title, and we graciously accepted our latest award!
We often talk about our core Vanti Values, and we do our very best to live by these every day. When we chose our Values, it was obvious to us that we needed to include Care because being considerate and compassionate is so integral to the way we operate as a team and as individuals.
It’s this empathy that drives us to seek out opportunities to provide help where we can and support causes and initiatives we believe in. When we learned that the UK division of GAiN (the Global Aid Network) were looking for corporate partners to help them deliver their incredibly valuable service, we didn’t hesitate to get involved.
Anyone who knows Vanti knows how much we love supporting innovative tech work and our local community, so when an opportunity recently came up to host the amazing Rebel Makers in our new office, there was no way we were going to say no.
For those of you unfamiliar with Rebel Makers, it’s a peer-to-peer digital making club open to all ages and abilities. Launched by Birmingham-based Rebel Labs in 2015, Rebel Makers allows anyone with an interest in technology to learn new skills and explore possibilities. There are now five clubs around the country, where monthly sessions allow techies to work on projects that range from electronics and programmable hardware, through to writing code, design, and media production.
Technology has come a long way in the past decade. The huge leaps forward in wireless communications in particular have paved the way for what we’ve come to know as ‘Smart’ spaces, with wifi, 4G, Bluetooth, and RFID enabling processes that we’d have written off as sci-fi not too long ago. The implication of this advancement is that tech is now almost omnipresent – what were called Smartphones are now just regular phones, we’re all almost constantly connected to the internet, and we increasingly use systems and devices to make our lives run more smoothly.
As Master Systems Integrators, Vanti bring Smart to life by creating incredible buildings and spaces that make their users and occupants happier and more productive, and help the owners and occupiers achieve their business goals. However, it’s not always straightforward – as Smart technology is a field still very much in its infancy, there are a number of assumptions people make and limitations companies like us encounter.
We love supporting exciting events that take place in our home city of Birmingham, which is why we’re so pleased to be sponsoring TEDxBrum – a day-long event that provides a platform for some of today’s most inspired thinkers.
This year’s TEDxBrum will take place on Sunday 15th October at the iconic Birmingham Hippodrome, where over 1800 audience members will be inspired by a range of incredible speakers and performers as they take the stage to share their thoughts and ideas on this year’s theme of perspectives.
Vanti are one of the UK’s leading proponents of Smart building, so we often talk to people about the huge benefits integrated technology can bring to organisations and individuals. To us, it seems obvious: Smart buildings use tech to create more efficient and effective environments that improve productivity, wellbeing, and profitability.
On the opposite end of the scale are what we refer to as ‘Dumb’ buildings – spaces that rely on passive antiquated systems working in isolation that provide no benefit beyond their sole function. As advancements in technology and the increasing prevalence of the Internet of Things are key to Smart building, the majority of the world’s residential, office, commercial, and retail spaces are still very much Dumb.
As Master Systems Integrators, we are responsible for taking spaces and making them Smart – whether that’s by retrofitting technology into previously Dumb buildings, or by designing and implementing integrated systems into new builds. Part of this process involves educating stakeholders about Smart vs Dumb, putting into context the positive impact of our way of working. The main challenge we face is that Smart is so unfamiliar to many, and with the benefits of integrated systems impacting across so many areas, it can be hard to provide a concise yet clear picture of how it improves things like teams, data, systems, and overall user experience.
We are incredibly pleased to announce that Vanti have been selected as one of the inaugural Innovation 50! The index has been collated by top UK law firm Mills & Reeve LLP, and was created to celebrate and promote the region’s 50 most innovative companies across a range of sectors.
Vanti were up against some incredibly tough competition, which demonstrates just how impressively forward-thinking the regional economy is. We’ve always been proud to be a Midlands company, acting as a voice for our home city of Birmingham and the surrounding area whenever we travel across the UK and abroad. The Innovation 50 report demonstrates that the region is home to some exceptionally innovative businesses, and these companies are at the forefront of the ever-growing Midlands economy.
We pride ourselves on our innovative approach to AV, IT, systems integration, and Smart building, and we’re delighted to be recognised as one of the region’s most forward-thinking companies.
To download the Innovation 50 report and find out more about the companies making waves in the Midlands, just visit innovationfifty.com.
Earlier this year, James McHale of (the brilliant) Smart building research company Memoori wrote a LinkedIn post entitled ‘The Need for Real Human Experiences in our Smart Cities and Buildings’. It really struck a chord with us, as it raises some interesting points about whether the technological advancements that are often at the core of Smart technology are actually of benefit to the individuals using the spaces.
The use of buildings, especially commercial premises, has changed. Until relatively recently, if you were offered employment with a company, the chances are that you would have been expected to report to your company’s premises when you were working.
In a world of increasingly collaborative working and knowledge sharing, that is no longer the case. In fact, commercial buildings are rapidly changing from places we go because we work for someone, to tools we use to get our work done.
Business leaders must begin to appreciate the relationship between the spaces in which their people work and the key business challenges they are trying to address: