Essential Install December 2016 - Page 25

Essential Install | Day in the Life: Oxberry Cliff’s Edge Daniel J Sait met with Cliff Stammers, MD of one of the longest established Crestron programming companies around, to learn more about the company’s backstory and what keeps Oxberry at the cutting edge of the industry. Catering for clients from all types of backgrounds and producing something that suits their taste, is key Creating backgrounds by photographing items in the room was a technique used for the Crestron NYC showroom Coping with any language, in this case for a Finnish rapper, is another strength Key to Oxberry design is reflecting the interests of the family. If the kids like Dora The Explorer, that’s what they get Situated in Cobham, Surrey, Oxberry HQ is these days in the same building as Crestron’s European head office. However, Cliff’s start in the automation world was in a very different sphere when he was working as a technician in mobile theatre. Cliff recalls: “Some of the equipment was controlled using early AMX systems via a touch-screen. Developing an interest in the technology, I thought it would be interesting to learn more, so did a bit of research and ended up phoning Robin van Meeuwen, who had just launched Crestron in Europe. In those days it was literally just him running the company; he said come in and let’s do some training and really I have never looked back.” Despite launching Oxberry almost straight after his training in 1999, Cliff served time working for another company, AVE, cutting his teeth on a large MOD contract before returning to Oxberry full time. Cliff recalls: “One of the first jobs I can remember doing was for Sony. We created an interface for a demo panel they were using: at a tradeshow. What motived me then, still motivates me now, using technology to create attractive interactions that connect with the user. I have always been heavily into electronic music and the way we try and work is very similar, using technology to deliver a creative experience.” Oxberry became the full time focus in 2000, working out of a home office. Cliff explains: “Right from the start, the projects came in fast, a big yacht project really underlined the fact that I needed help. I met Vinnie (Vince Pinhorn, technical director) around this time, who was already working in the industry and he came on-board. At this time, just having two of us gave the company a genuine boost, most programmers were one man bands, but as fast as we could add another lane, it would fill up with traffic. Eventually we needed more help and in 2007, we expanded again and Stef joined (Stefano Mallia, services director).” With an expanding team and working with really top end clients, royals, celebrities and the like, in 2006 it was time to get a commercial office and the company’s first home was in Dorking. However, like all companies during the recession, Oxberry had to tighten its belt and gave up the Dorking office, creating an office of its own at the bottom of Cliff’s garden – a space that is still in use today, but now as a recording studio. However, business soon picked up again and another key team member, John Roberts, senior software programmer joined in 2011. Cliff explains: “There is a recognisable theme with Oxberry, every time we add a team member, the workload immediately goes up to fill that extra capacity; it’s a testament I feel to our commitment to quality and just doing this job the right way.” The company’s current home came about when Oxberry was asked to programme Crestron’s London demonstration suite in 2013. Cliff explains: “Crestron CEO, Randy Klein, really liked the work and we got asked to work on the Crestron New York design showroom too. Both these projects helped to build on what was already a very strong relationship and led to our profile growing in the US. Around the same time, Robin explained that there was a spare office going in the same building as Crestron and asked if we would be interested. It’s been a really great move for us, the business grew 80% in the first year we were here.” December 2016 | 23 DIL.indd 23 14/12/2016 17:04