Collaborating more Effectively with SMART Board Interactive Whiteboards
In today’s fast-paced and highly connected business world, effective collaboration is essential for companies of every shape and size. As a specialist water resources management and environmental consultancy, Envireau Water provides expert guidance on all design, management and regulatory issues. Its clients range from FTSE top 100 companies to private individuals, and projects can vary in scale and complexity from delivering high-level technical support for an oil exploration project in Africa, to providing a water supply for a cottage in Wales. “Projects often involve different offices and multiple client sites, and our work is a combination of office-based tasks and site visits,” explains founder and director James Dodds. “Most of our work involves producing reports of one kind or another, either working remotely or face-to-face with clients. We’re always looking to improve our client service, and the SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard supplied by TecInteractive has been crucial in helping us collaborate more effectively and work more efficiently.”
Envireau Water is centrally based in Derbyshire, with other offices in North Wales and North Yorkshire to provide national coverage. Its expert staff, comprising hydrogeologists, hydrologists, water resources engineers, water treatment specialists and environmental scientists, are spread across the various offices. “Projects can be anywhere across the length and breadth of the country from the extreme north of Scotland to Kent, or from Devon to East Anglia,” says James Dodds. “We’ll tend to run projects from our nearest office, but they will nearly always involve people based elsewhere, so it’s important that we’re able to easily communicate and collaborate.”
Having decided to investigate the latest collaborative technology, a simple Internet search turned up SMART Board interactive whiteboards that feature intuitive touchscreen technology and are regarded as the most easy to use and interactive products available on the market. He then contacted TecInteractive Ltd, the SMART Accredited Silver Reseller based nearby in Derby that provides a full service from supply and installation to training and maintenance.
“Our goal is to bring meetings into the digital age, and SMART Board interactive whiteboards are fantastic collaboration tools for the modern business,” says Tom Bamford, Managing Director of TecInteractive. “We ran a demo at Envireau Water’s offices, prepared a proposal and then quickly implemented their SMART Board interactive whiteboard and trained them how to use it.”
The SMART Board interactive whiteboard was installed by TecInteractive at Envireau Water’s main office in the Derbyshire village of Draycott, and it connects to the other offices via the ‘Go To Meeting’ Web conferencing service to which the company already subscribed. “Before, we were using screensharing in a rather crude way via a standard projector, and it was difficult to see in the conference room,” says James Dodds. “With the interactivity of the SMART Board we took a giant technological leap forward!”
“I can’t speak too highly of TecInteractive!” says James Dodds. “Their service was excellent throughout, and they did exactly what they said they would do. They were neat and tidy, and everything worked first time. A few days after installation they came back to train us, and within a few minutes we were up and running with our new SMART Board.”
How the Technology is Used
Envireau Water uses SMART Board in a number of different ways to aid collaboration and interaction, powered by SMART Meeting Pro™ collaboration and meeting productivity software. “In the office we use it day-to-day much like a whiteboard to sketch and record our thoughts and ideas, or as a projector for PowerPoint presentations,” James continues. “However, it really comes into its own when we display and share engineering drawings either as PDFs or CAD outputs – the annotated drawings can be saved and then distributed internally or to clients as the minutes of the meeting. It’s an extremely productive and efficient way of recording and sharing information.”
The company also uses the SMART Board and the Go To Meeting service for internal management meetings, project planning meetings, and staff meetings: “We can quickly and easily display and edit documents such as spreadsheets interactively, and then share amongst the group,” explains James.
“The biggest benefit for us has been a massive improvement in both efficiency and effectiveness,” he continues. “We can offer a better client service while reducing the time and cost of travelling. Clients are equally impressed by the technology and what we do with it. We also use the Web conferencing capability much more effectively by being able to capture and save the annotations and discussions – even freezing videos to annotate individual frames and then saving the screenshots as PDFs to distribute.”
Recently the company has invested in more SMART Interactive Displays to give a true inter-office collaboration experience.
“SMART Board interactive whiteboards are inexpensive to buy and install, and deliver immediate benefits and a quick return on investment,” James Dodds concludes. “It’s a really powerful collaboration tool – particularly for companies with multiple sites – and there must be thousands of businesses out there who could benefit from it. I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t have one!”