NEC Display Solutions customer installation Corporate

Abcam Plc

Agile working and collaboration

With a focus on bringing teams together, enabling them for better collaboration with fully equipped workspaces which suit their individual working styles, Abcam is well placed for future growth and innovation.

A life science ecommerce company, Abcam supplies antibodies and related products to research scientists across the globe. Established in 1998 from humble beginnings, the company now sells over 100,000 products into more than 140 countries. To support continued growth and to consolidate four separate sites, Abcam moved to a new headquarter building on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Not only does the new building provide 75% more space, its location within the largest life science research hub in Europe sees it operating directly alongside other leading healthcare, science and research establishments - a hotbed of scientific collaboration.


The Challenge

Previously, Abcam’s laboratory teams were separate from its corporate and marketing functions, in different buildings; the move brings all employees together, including R&D, laboratory, logistics, corporate and commercial functions. Designed around creating collaboration spaces, the new purpose-built Global HQ facilitates open collaboration between teams to improve efficiency and innovation.

Seeking a reliable, long-term partner, following a tender process, Abcam called upon Snelling Business Systems to manage the AV integration. The brief covered the integration of AV solutions in 37 meeting rooms plus more advanced conferencing and collaboration spaces, building-wide IPTV and signage, room booking systems, interactive wayfinding plus a wide range of other spaces, all fully equipped for agile working and offering both introvert and extrovert workspaces. Enjoying a long-standing trusted partnership, Snelling Business Systems chose to use visual displays from NEC throughout the installation.

“The nature of Abcam’s business demands precision and reliability, by working with NEC we are confident in a partnership which supports our meticulous delivery of this highly complex project,” explains Toby Wise, managing director at Snelling Business Systems. “Not only are their products of the highest quality, NEC is also highly accommodating, working with agility and flexibility to ensure smooth and timely deployment. Nothing is too much trouble.”

Intelligent building management is critical given the vast amount of technology in the building, one of the largest Crestron NVX deployments in the UK, all technologies are fully integrated and centrally controlled.

To support Abcam’s commitment to global sustainability standards, AV resource management tools report on energy statistics and equipment usage, helping to encourage energy efficiency and enhance employee wellbeing.


The NEC Solution

Each of the 37 glass-walled meeting rooms meet the requirements for informal face to face interactions between small and mid-sized groups of between two and eight people facilitated by NEC large format displays. The larger 8 person rooms, used for inter-departmental collaboration, brainstorming and conferencing, are each equipped with a 65” NEC NEC InfinityBoard with OPS Slot-in PC. To either drive a Skype call from the OPS slot PC or a user’s own device, a Crestron USB extender attached to the rear of the display bracket enables slot PC driven calls to connect with the room microphone and loudspeakers. Integrated within the room booking system, invited meeting participants are emailed a snapshot of the NEC InfinityBoard screen content after the meeting concludes.

“The beauty of the NEC InfinityBoard is that it is so adaptable,” explains Steve Royans, sales director at Snelling. “Where other collaboration board products are prescriptive, the NEC InfinityBoard allows us to supply a bespoke solution - increasing the computing power, removing the camera option and loading the clients’ own choice of software packages. Even now, we can continue to reconfigure the system as Abcam’s needs change in the future.”

Three conference rooms for larger groups (up to 16) are equipped with more advanced conferencing and collaboration kit, including 84” NEC InfinityBoards with supporting 55” displays in adjoining breakout spaces which, when selected via the control panel, display the same content as the NEC InfinityBoard.


“The advanced InGlass touch panel of the NEC InfinityBoard provides incredible touch accuracy. The scientific material which Abcam is working with makes this level of detailed precision absolutely vital,” says Royans. “The NEC InfinityBoard supports a natural, writing-like experience which has been well received.”

Wayfinding stations comprising NEC 48” ShadowSenseTM touch displays with OPS Slot-in PCs are deployed at multiple locations around the building displaying interactive maps to assist staff and visitors to navigate their way around the building.

Other areas include a 98” display in the café and a games room where two 84” NEC displays are utilised for signage, TV streaming via IPTV, company presentations and gaming; entertainment includes foosball, pool and table tennis for staff and visitors to relax. There are also two laboratory meetings rooms, one for 4 people, another for up to 10, equipped with NEC 65” displays for videoconferencing and presentation.

The logistics office features wall mounted NEC 65” displays for key performance indicators relevant to the Abcam logistics operations within the laboratory block, this is repeated across the building via NEC 43” displays which are also utilised for digital signage and IPTV streaming. A mobile presentation system which can be wheeled to wherever it’s needed to maximise space usage and for impromptu gatherings features an 84” UHD NEC display mounted on a trolley.

The Results

“I have no hesitation in stating that this has been the most inspirational development project we have undertaken with AV and we look forward to growing the relationship and technology delivery to our other offices,” says Ian Smith, IT project manager at Abcam. “It was a real pleasure to work with such a diligent professional team of individuals.”