We’re delighted to announce that over the summer the FLUID7 team moved into the Cable Yard at Electric Wharf. Our new studio provides us with the creative space to develop and grow the company as we begin to see the fruit of the partnership between WebJetty and FLUID7 (back in October 2010).
Eco-Friendly Studio, overlooking the Canal
We love the eclectic estate that we’re part of. Electric Wharf is an attractive (award winning) canal side environment close to Coventry City Center. Previously an early Victorian power station, the new development of modern offices fuses the industrial brickwork and steel of old with modern architecture. So there’s lots of recycled material in the build and as art around the estate.
Our new studio is within The Cable Yard which is a completely new build that compliments the rest of the development. These eco-offices have been built with solar boosted heating and hotwater systems, rainwater recycling and energy efficient construction with the aim of reducing energy consumption by 35% and water use by 25%. The stunning floor to ceiling windows allow us get a great view over the canal and the city beyond it, and because they are south-facing the studio really does benefit from the sun.
Moving wasn’t without its challenges
All the normal challenges of getting services installed (broadband, phone, electric) fade into insignificance against the actual moving experience for us. We decided to move over night to “minimalse” disruption to clients. It took two nights to move everything over and we were able to keep our old studio operational during the process.
However, on moving the final computers over to the new office ready for our first working day in the new pad, we decided things had gone a little too smoothly, so we dropped our server to spice things up. The casing took a beating, as too did the hardrives within it. So our first working day was spent trying to get the server to power up, then trying to get the harddrives to mount in a different machine… the saga continued, but we were able to work without the server while we got a new machine sorted and restored the data.
If that wasn’t fun enough, we arrived at the Cable Yard a week later to be met by the other tenants and a lovely policeman waiting outside the property. Some cheeky chaps must have seen us moving in and thought it would be a good idea to break in and pinch all our lovely Macs. All the offices within the building were effected but it was a tough time saying goodbye to the beautiful beasts that had been the backbone of our design department for years. Fortunately the development team work from laptops which were all out of the office at the time, so work commenced as usual despite embarking on a delightful security exercise of resetting our online passwords (and client passwords) to ensure data couldn’t get into the wrong hands.
New pad, New Tech
We’re yet to properly kit out the studio as we’d like it and naturally as we’re preparing for growth there’s a lot of fun toys that we’d like to bring into the workplace (including the replacement kit from the break-in!).
To lay some foundations for this new tech, we thought long and hard about broadband and phone systems. We we’re keen to get away from BT as we’d struggled to get quick support from them in the past, and the nail in the coffin was their inability to allow us to take our old phone number with us half a mile down the road (as the new office was on a different exchange).
We finally settled on Spitfire for our broadband and they were really helpful setting up everything for the move. To sort the phones out we worked with Tino at Forza IT and settled on a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution from Babblevoice. The system we’ve got in place has allowed us to keep our old number and grow our system from only taking one call at a time to handling multiple calls at once. Better still, as well as physical handsets we can setup our iPhones as additional handsets. Meaning the team can stay connected even outside the new studio.
Keeping it slim, the ultimate virtual office
The key advantage of our hosted VoIP solution is it that we’re not restricted by physical hardware within our studio. We manage our calls via a web interface, and with the ability to make/receive calls from our iPhones (using the business phone number), we can literally operate from any internet connection. Add to this the concerns over our break-in, and we got to thinking, what if we could set things up to allow us to opperate our entire studio from anywhere we needed to? In the instance of a break in, or fire, we want to have the confidence that all our data is offsite and that we can literatully plug in at home or in a different office and resume production without loss of time or data. We already use a lot of Software as a service (Saas) within the company, such as Fogbugz & Trello for team management, Kiln (Mecurial) for code versioning, BrowserStack for testing etc. So we’re on a cloud-based journey to further slim down our reliance on the physical building we’re in and set ourselves up with the ability to respond quickly to whatever we face in the future. A key aspect in this new journey is to go paperless, which is quite a challenge but we’re excited by the flexibility it will bring.
If you want to know more about the cloud-based services we’re tapping into (including the powerful cloud hosting we offer from Amazon), or have experience you can share when using VoIP or going paperless please get in touch!!