Client feature story: Federated Co-Operatives Limited and the 9th Floor Training Room

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) may be best known to Canadians as the administrative force behind CO-OP grocery stores, gas bars, agriculture centres and more.

What you may not have already known is that their focus includes wholesaling, manufacturing, marketing and administration for four areas: agricultureenergyfood and home and building solutions. These places and industries are all part of FCL’s collective vision of building sustainable communities together.

The 9th Floor Training Room facility has served as their hub for corporate education and development since long before Ed Grassie, their Director of Infrastructure and Operations, first started with the company four years ago.

This large space has the ability to section off into three smaller rooms that can engage with separate meetings and content, or you can easily return the room to its default, unified experience.

Prior to the pre-pandemic, he says the norm for delivering training to teams across Western Canada (from all the various stores and operations) was to travel to Saskatoon for in-person sessions at FCL’s headquarters in the 9th Floor Training Room.

“Our team will train the different Co-op’s on just about anything, so Ignite recommended a more flexible solution with the new design. They’ve created a workspace that has reduced the need for commutes or travel, and scaled up our remote accessibility. Whether people are joining digitally or on-site, everyone can experience the content, audio, and video clearly,” Ed explains.

Ignite’s Premium integrators, certified by Cisco

“When we first started down the path of updating the 9th Floor Training Room, we asked our vendors at Cisco who they’d recommend to design and deploy the right solution for our team, and they suggested Ignite,” Ed shares.

Even before the pandemic, Ed and team had set out to looking for better ways that FCL could remotely train and engage people from the learning facility, but it was due for an upgrade regardless. Ed laughs as he describes the “Klingon-bird-of-prey-looking phone” at the head of the room, and the projectors to match.

Matthew McFarlane, National Manager of AV Delivery, Ignite Technology

Matthew McFarlane, Ignite’s National Manager of AV Delivery served as project manager on this endeavour and notes that FCL’s ability to host remote training sessions from this space was essential, because it wasn’t even equipped for video conferencing at the time.

But he emphasizes still that the issue of audio fidelity and overall sound quality on-site was coming up in conversation time and time again.

We can probably all relate to having a hard time staying focused or trying to retain knowledge from a training session when you can’t even hear the speaker or the audio from whatever content is being presented on screen. With the objective of education and user experience top-of-mind, our Collaboration team refined the audio experience, (both in the room and digitally), to optimize accessibility for FCL.

Audio is key to capturing focus in any collaboration space

FCL had outlined audio as a clear pain point, and it was really hindering the team’s ability to host effective, engaging events and trainings where everyone in the space could have a reliable experience. “If you weren’t sitting in the first or second row, you were possibly missing out on some important information,” Ed laughs.

The 9th Floor Training Room wasn’t meeting the goals the team had for accessibility, and inclusion is critical to FCL, so fixing this foundational piece was key.

It can be challenging to manage a room of this size, so the team honed multiple video endpoints and the distribution of audio-synced video across many screens, curating an operational experience that was simplified for users.

“Incorporating features like Voice Lift helps a lot in spaces like this because it amplifies the voices of whoever is speaking just enough so that people in other parts of the room can hear them with clarity,” Matthew says.

Stunning video wall, and other visual features that optimize engagement

A large Planar LED video wall unites the space, but the room is divisible and can be used as three separate spaces, screens synced or combined as needed.

“The control operations are so seamless. Ignite has equipped us with a professional space, with incredibly impressive visual capabilities that any of our team members can use with ease,” Ed shares.

“Whether you’ve got one person in the space for a quick video call, or 100 people in for a training, the visual experience can be modified to fit the audience. Using the room for a single large event, or breaking it down into multiple training rooms, there’s more ways to train, learn and grow at FCL,” Matthew explains.

By sifting through their discovery with FCL, Matthew and his team were able to understand how they needed the room to deliver in multiple scenarios and customized the 9th Floor Training room to make sure the deployment was a success.

Instant access to enterprise-class collaboration experiences

Setting up a meeting on the fly is no longer an obstacle at FCL. Team members have the confidence they need to head into the room and share content easily at any time.

Ed says that FCL has really benefitted from the ability to instantly connect and will be adopting the same control hubs in all of their meeting rooms over time. The end goal? To offer a reliable experience that’s the same no matter where you’re tuning in from.

Matthew’s team deployed FCL’s complete collaboration solution throughout the pandemic with a ribbon cutting earlier this year, but he reminds us that it’s not just about the technology – it’s about how people use it.

“Our technology education is a solution you can lean on to help your team adopt new technologies and systems. Ignite’s Educators supported FCL’s internal training team in mastering the 9th Floor Training Room operations and have seen an impressive utilization rate as a result.”

Adoption rates soar when Ignite Technology Educators are part of the process

Some of the folks invited to the initial adoption sessions reported being nervous and had struggled a great deal with controlling the old space.

By the end of the session, all anxiousness had dissipated. Participants said that having a guide there to walk through the new technology with them took away a lot of their apprehension and was extremely valuable to getting familiar with the new workflows.

Ignite Technology Educators empower teams to use technology in a meaningful way. They are technology adoption superstars who make a big difference in how people utilize their knowledge.

Transforming a massive on-prem training room into a flexible facility for ultimate engagement

Since implementing their custom solution, FCL’s team is using the space a lot more than they had ever intended. Town Halls, boardroom or breakout meetings, trainings, and workshops – anytime they need to hear, see and present without fail, they can rely on their new space for a seamless connection.

FCL needed video conferencing capabilities in their 9th Floor Training Room to modernize their efforts and expand their digital reach, opening up new opportunities for seamless collaboration. Ignite was able to create a hybrid learning environment, built for engagement and became a trusted advisor to Ed and his team supporting their digital transformation journey.

To learn how your team can share a unified digital and on-premises experience, connect with us today for a discovery call.

Sarah Allen
~Sarah Allen, Content Coordinator

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