Neighbourhood Tech Hub
Neighbourhood Tech Hub Model in Newport is Bringing Communities Together
Ringland was chosen as the first location to pilot the Neighbourhood Tech Hub model before rolling it out to other areas. The dilapidated council building that wasn’t really being used, was to be reconfigured and modernised as a community centre. Home to many community services such as Work and Skills, youth services, Families First, Resilient Communities, libraries, Flying Start and other partner organisations.
The Neighbourhood Tech Hub will provide the right support, in the right place, putting residents at the heart of service delivery. Newport City Council wanted to create something dynamic, not stereotypical, making use of new technology in such a way that members of the community want to come in and use the hub. The space is to be used by lots of different people, for lots of different reasons, so the brief is to be as broad as possible.
The dedicated AV consultant started from zero and engaged with all departments involved to understand their end-goals. Conversations were not technical to begin with but the group was able to develop technical knowledge and build on requirements as the project progressed.
A key requirement was to create a wow factor that would bring the community into the hub to use technology that they don’t have at home. That technology would be built at Comcen HQ first, to be tested and to ensure that no failure would cause delay on-site during installation.
CPD training sessions and on-going support is also available for staff across all departments to familiarise themselves with the new technology and maximise use of technology.
Our engineers installed six CTOUCH interactive screens because of durability, teaching software Oktopus, the ability to connect numerous devices for collaborative work and presentation features.
The eight small pods included installation of 24 inch Samsung screens that could be connected to several laptops perfect for project work and (BYOD) Bring Your Own Device setups. There are also a couple of digital signage screens to enhance messaging.
The WOW factor came in the shape of a nine-screen video wall centrepiece that consisted of nine LG 49” video wall screens, all tested before installation. They were installed on special brackets with micro adjustments enabling the screens to be pulled out individually for maintenance and then connected back together as closely as possible, to create a striking 4K 147” showpiece.
The next phase will include meeting rooms with elements of video conferencing.
CTouch is a great multifunctional device that will enhance user experience. From an education perspective, the CTouch will take provision to the next level. For example, educational-based services, such as the Post-16 Work Based Learning project aims to engage 16 to 18 year olds disconnected from the schooling system.
The new technology will enable users to navigate council services that are online such as, job clubs. Additionally, the technology will encourage community groups to utilising the tech and spaces, building camaraderie and group spirit.
The beautiful videowall certainly has its WOW factor and potential for community-based activities, such as, cinema nights for young people.
The community hub success is already recognised as specialist services in the community that will have a bigger impact on the local people’s lives. The tech is relevant and applicable in the 21st Century, and helps to identify opportunities out there.
The ‘Newport Neighbourhood Hub’ is the first of many.
“We had a vision, we wanted to embrace technology but we didn’t know how the technology fit. James has been incredible. Seeing the tech installed we know he made the right choice for us and we remain happy going forward.”
Rhion David, Delivery Manager from Newport City Council.