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Sight and sound future exciting

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2013
James Bailey
Phil Reid
KEEPING COMPANY:Futureworks sales manager James Bailey outside Te Papa, where the company has installed audio visual systems.

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Futureworks has been installing audio visual presentation systems it custom designs around many locations Wellingtonians work in, live in and visit for more than 20 years.

It has fitted out sites such as national museum Te Papa, the offices of Clemenger BBDO, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Simpson Grierson, the Museum of Wellington City & Sea and the Wellington Town Hall.

Futureworks helps to keep Wellington tertiary education facilities up to the latest teaching technology by installing video and audio presentation systems within lecture theatres and rooms on campus at Victoria University and Massey University.

Last year was a busy one for Futureworks, which Chris Cullinane founded in 1991. It hired sales manager James Bailey a year ago and since then, turnover has grown 25 per cent and the number of staff it employs doubled.

"We're going through a real growth phase at the moment. It's exciting and scary at the same time," said Bailey.

The company specialised in assessing what equipment a space needed to achieve the best audio delivery, whether it was for a lecture theatre, boardroom or museum exhibition. It had designed its own control panel software for users to adjust sound and video playback easily.

"With things like video conferencing, you've got to think whether the normal teacher at a university or CEO in a boardroom or Joe Public at Te Papa will know how to work the stuff. Whether it's a touch panel on a wall or an iPad it can be operated by anybody just walking in to a room. It's all pretty straightforward."

Futureworks had worked on jobs nationwide previously, such as SkyCity in Auckland, and was now looking at opportunities in Christchurch. Futureworks employs nine fulltime staff including engineers, software control systems designers and installers as well as half a dozen contractors.

The business is brand agnostic so it had no obligation to recommend certain brands, instead suggesting what its experts believed to be the best products for a certain space.

Installing audio visual systems in heritage-listed buildings such as Wellington Cathedral and Victoria University's Hunter Council Chamber was challenging because of the restrictions around cutting in to walls or making any minor alterations to lay cables.

At the council chamber it had to fix a 200kg drop down screen discreetly to a wall, that used a motorised pulley system to lower the screen six metres when in operation for viewings.

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"We had to get creative."

It removed a window pane to install a projector with strong lens shift capabilities and speakers were subtly placed within existing chandeliers.

Around 10 per cent of its jobs were in homes, 50 per cent in education and the remainder in corporate settings.

"Homes are a very different market, it is not a focus to push that. Our work often comes from word of mouth, we haven't done a lot of marketing traditionally."

Bailey said that some "shonky" operators in the industry, doing quick installs then charging high callout fees for repairs, could give a bad impression of the sector.

Futureworks did not charge callout fees within a year of installation, on the belief that well designed work should not have any issues.

This month, it is working on a major project for the NZ Rugby Union and was busy with bookings for other installations.

"I think business could double again within a year."

- Fairfax Media

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