Architecture Firm WRNS Studio Moves to Zoom Phone to Improve Call Quality, Reduce Latency
WRNS designs sustainable architecture, and as it grew offices and clients, more manageable communications became essential.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Challenges: Poor call quality, device limitations, unreliable communications
Solution: Zoom Phone
Business Benefits: Robust phone service, reliable communications, enhanced collaboration
With our old phone system, we experienced poor call quality and a lot of latency. We had dropped calls, people had trouble hearing each other, and if traffic was high enough, we could only hear every other word that was being said.
Chris NiewiarowskiIT Director, WRNS Studio
WRNS Studio believes the future of architecture will rely on functional, sustainable designs, and the California-based firm is helping businesses, schools, and hospitals around the world build toward that future. Innovative designs and sustainable construction practices have led companies like Google and Microsoft to seek out WRNS’s services, and the firm’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction has earned WRNS a number of awards, including Architecture Magazine’s Top Firm of 2018.
WRNS’s focus on creating spaces that match the personality and needs of some of the world’s leading companies has cemented its status as a ground-breaking architectural firm, which has fueled its rapid expansion. “Our firm is growing very quickly,” said Morgan Gray, WRNS’s Marketing and Brand Manager. “Because of the climate we live in, companies are really beginning to understand the impact of sustainable architecture, and we’re committed to delivering that.”
High growth demanded better solutions
As WRNS grew to include new offices and new clients, the need for a more manageable communications strategy became increasingly clear. Its legacy video communications tool’s lack of useful features and reliability were limiting its team’s productivity.
“A few of our founding partners wanted the ability to share from their Apple devices and do live mark-ups on designs. We just couldn’t do that with our old solution,” said Chris Niewiarowski, WRNS’s IT Director. “Plus, I was getting called into conference rooms all the time to fix issues and troubleshoot the video tools.”
WRNS also was considering a cloud phone service, as its legacy solution was plagued by poor audio quality, latency, and call drops. And with offices spread from New York City to Honolulu, the teams at WRNS needed a more reliable phone solution.
“With our old phone system, we experienced poor call quality and a lot of latency,” Niewiarowksi said. “We had dropped calls, people had trouble hearing each other, and if traffic was high enough, we could only hear every other word that was being said.”
Reliable video and phone service
Before ever choosing a phone solution, Niewiarowski decided to try Zoom’s video-first unified communications platform to address its collaboration needs. “After some research and hearing about Zoom on KQED, the local NPR station, I decided to give it a try,” Niewiarowski said. “We test-piloted Zoom in San Francisco with five users to get started. Our founding partners were really excited about the live annotation feature and loved the solution, so we phased out our legacy communications system and switched over to Zoom.”
WRNS’s teams were impressed by the simplicity of Zoom’s interface and its reliable service, and they were equally excited about the potential of Zoom Phone. “Once we found out that Zoom was going to be releasing a digital phone system, we were immediately interested,” Niewiarowski said. “After testing the beta version of Zoom Phone for a couple of months, we switched over as soon as Zoom Phone went live. And it has been so much better than our legacy cloud phone service.”
The preferred communications platform
WRNS’s implementation of Zoom’s video-first unified communications platform has increased collaboration among teams across the country.
“The live-annotation feature really allows us to collaborate in real-time in a way that wasn’t available to us before,” Niewiarowksi said. “Architects are looking at drawings, pulling things out, adding things, changing things … and being able to do that over Zoom is great.”
Most of WRNS’s clients use different video communications solutions and devices, Niewiarowski said, which has made coordinating and collaborating difficult in the past. But Zoom is still its preferred communications platform.
“We use Zoom across offices to coordinate and collaborate with staff anytime we have client meetings,” he said. “If we create that meeting, it’s always a Zoom meeting because we find it to be the most reliable platform we’ve used.”
WRNS’s implementation of Zoom Phone has been a “remarkably smooth” process, according to Niewiarowski. Zoom Phone’s intuitive design has made it easy for WRNS teams to learn the application, which has made the transition even easier. And with improved call quality and reliability, the teams at WRNS have noticed a difference.
“There’s not a lot of training required to teach people how to use it. If you’ve used a smartphone, you’ll know how to use Zoom Phone,” Niewiarowski said. “I’m shocked how good the quality is for New York or even Hawaii. We don’t have people complaining about the phone system anymore.”
Overall, WRNS is continuing to grow and Zoom’s unified video-first communications platform will continue to help its teams collaborate, reduce travel time, and further support WRNS’s sustainability mission. “We just had a meeting with some Italian architects, and we were able to do all of it over Zoom instead of flying people around the world,” Gray said.
“Zoom has definitely cut down on our travel time,” Niewiarowski added. “That has allowed us to reduce our carbon footprint as well, which is great since sustainability is always the goal.”