The best for the best
Hilson Moran is one of the leading engineering and technology consultancy firms in the country, renowned for development of some of the world's largest and most innovative buildings. A spectacular tower in Abu Dhabi and impressive 'Heron Quays' in Canary Wharf are recent examples of their work and one of their latest projects has been to design 'The Pinnacle'; a 66-storey tower set to define the future London skyline.
With a maxim of applying the most modern design techniques and a sustainable approach to all its projects, the firm had high standards and expectations when expansion prompted a move to new larger headquarters. Its new 22,000 foot office building came without network infrastructure, leaving them the choice and flexibility to choose a cabling system to ideally suit their needs.
Founded in 1977, Hilson Moran has grown steadily and consistently, extending its group of consultants and branching out into new specialist areas.
The consultancy has a range of services for the built environment that include sustainability, building services, structural engineering, vertical transportation, light and visual environments, acoustics, fire engineering, intelligent buildings, and facilities management.
As a member of the Altran Group, the European leaders in innovative consulting, the company has offices in Farnborough, London, Manchester, Milan, Paris and Abu Dhabi. During 2008 the firm outgrew its head office in Farnborough and so - just after the company's 30th anniversary celebrations - the decision was taken to move to bigger premises.
The new site selected was Discovery Place, a modern two-storey office building, not far from their old location and near to both the M3 and M25. It offered the standard of specification demanded by Hilson Moran and once the site was chosen attention was rapidly turned to fitting it out for their requirements.
Hilson Moran undertook its own IT infrastructure design and specification. When it came to the cabling, network infrastructure specialist Siemon was selected to satisfy the company's high demands with a high speed 10Gb/s cabling solution.
Ian Johnson, Head of IT consultancy at Hilson Moran explained the choice: "As a technology consultancy we aim to specify high end solutions to our client base in all our areas of expertise. Being advocates we wanted to be able to demonstrate this technology leadership by deploying it throughout our own premises. Our aim was to transform our headquarters into a showcase for best practice building services in built environments. For that reason we were only looking for the best of the best - and this refers to the cabling as well as to everything else."
Deploying high end solutions wasn't the only criteria that Hilson Moran wanted to fulfil. When it came to choosing the offices' new IT infrastructure they were interested in a future proof cabling solution. The consultancy plans to occupy the new premises for at least 15 years, hence they wanted to deploy a network that will be able to deliver in 15 years time to the same standard that it supports them at today.
Ian Johnson & Richard Fowler
In an environment where architects and construction engineers are working on cutting edge designs, moving large files such as CAD drawings and 3D files is part of everyday working life. At Hilson Moran the new network also had to be reliably capable of transferring high data volumes between parties at high speed.
After careful consideration of all their requirements Ian Johnson realised that the company needed a network capable of transmitting 10 gigabit Ethernet not just in the backbone but all the way to the desk.
When it came to choosing the right cabling supplier he reflects: "I have always associated Siemon with the first supplier of 10G ready cabling solutions. I also knew that Siemon had a strong reputation for extremely high quality networking and cabling products. Even though there were other manufacturers in the race Siemon convinced us through their long term experience in 10G and the quality of their products - two criteria that were of paramount importance to us."
For the actual installation work Siemon were supported by Line Management Group (LMG), a Certified Installer of three years. Hilson Moran were already familiar with LMG through cabling installation works that they had previously carried out for a number of the consultancy's clients in the city of London. Siemon put LMG forward based on their solid record of installing 10G solutions which led them to become the trusted installation partner for the job.
Installation work on a shielded category 6A cabling solution was completed in just under four months. Cabling runs were laid in full access raised floors from the telecommunications room all the way to floor boxes in the offices.
The network currently supports 150 office staff, but with further expansion plans in mind Hilson Moran incorporated 30 per cent growth into the infrastructure. In total the network includes 800 outlets, with two outlets serving each desk in the work area. Telephony (VoIP) now also runs over the cabling infrastructure.
Now that the installation is complete and Hilson Moran have relocated into their new spacious headquarters Ian Johnson reflects; "Throughout the project I have been very impressed with Siemon, their products and support. The products proved very easy to use and their technical support was outstanding."
"Siemon is also a great source of information. I regularly use the Siemon website - which I think is one of the best sites in the industry - to gather information. The level of content it provides on 10G cabling has been particularly useful and supports me greatly in my daily work. There are a team of technical authors publishing excellent material on the site but Carrie Higbie's articles are my favourites!"