Waikato District Council hits hybrid meeting sweetspot with Infocus Mondopads.
Gene Oudes and his team only had days to respond. In fact, you could almost measure it in hours.
After Covid hit, New Zealand was one of the first countries to ‘go early and go hard’.
The Waikato District Council has about 500 staff on its books, and almost overnight, everyone was sent home.
Not with laptops either. Gene Oudes is the Waikato Council Infrastructure & Support Lead and had the job of getting everyone back working. He had to swiftly move all of the council’s office staff away from desktop machines to laptops and Microsoft OneDrive.
As the Covid dust settled, the council resolved that the days of everyone coming into the office at the same time were officially over. One whole floor of its Ngaruawahia HQ had its desks and cubicles ripped out and transformed into ad hoc meeting spaces.
After the executive had set the course for flexible, hybrid and remote working, they gave Gene the task of investing in AV technology that would allow it to happen.
One large piece of the collaboration jigsaw puzzle was to find the right interactive flat panel.
Gene Oudes: “We were looking for something that got above the level of hardware; something that was more on an application level. Software comes and goes. Zoom is flavour of the month now, but it may not be in three years’ time. So the hardware needed to be software agnostic — if we wanted to add more products on an application level down the track, then we could.
“We also knew that we didn’t want to bring it into our corporate network, it would be kept very separate on our guest network. If you wanted to use the flat panel, then you would go via the browser through the guest network, then the authentication would mostly be done at the Microsoft level with the two-factor authentication. We didn’t want to have to try and manage all of that ourselves. We wanted to keep it very simple.”
Waikato District Council Offices
Infocus Mondopad Interactive Touch Panels
Canon Business Solutions
SPOILT FOR CHOICE?
Gene put some feelers out into the market and discovered that after he eliminated systems that tied him to Zoom or Teams, the interactive flat panel choices were quite limited. And of the platform-agnostic choices one product presented itself as a compelling value-proposition.
“We invested in 10 Mondopads,” explains Gene Oudes. “It’s a big investment for an organisation our size — and local governments notoriously don’t have a lot of money — but it was at a very, very good price.”
Gene and his team stripped the Mondopads down to the bare minimum to do his best to make the transition as easy as possible.
Largely the Mondopads are used for Teams meetings, collaboration and whiteboarding. Staff use the Mondopad like any shared computer terminal: sign in, and use the board to run Teams; or cast to the Mondopad from their laptop. They can grab their presentation from their OneDrive or the office intranet is also accessible via the browser — Mondopad is siloed completely from the enterprise network.
Most of the Mondopads are installed in meeting rooms, while the rest are on trolleys.
Staff take-up has been excellent — it’s rare to see a Mondopad sitting idle.
FACING THE FUTURE
And Gene Oudes likes the fact Mondopad is futureproof:
“That’s where I see the real benefit of the Mondopads — they’re so flexible. If we need another tool, we can roll it out on a couple of panels, see if it meets our security model. We can leave it with staff for a period. We can remote in on Teamviewer to assist if needs be. From a business perspective, we can see the real potential of what the Mondopad will offer us in the years to come.”