Sentinels deployed at University of Chester

Client: University of Chester


Roche worked alongside JM Supplies to provide University of Chester with a bespoke lectern for teaching spaces. The popular Sentinel Lectern was used as a starting point and modified to suit the clients requirements. Up to press around sixty units have been rolled out across multiple sites...

The Client

The University of Chester is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the UK and offers a diverse range of undergraduate, postgraduate, foundation and apprenticeship degrees from sites across the city, as well as University Centres in Warrington, Shrewsbury and Birkenhead.

The University seeks to provide all of its students and staff with the education, skills, support and motivation to enable them to develop as confident world citizens and successfully to serve and improve the global communities within which they live and work. At the heart of the University’s vision is an unwavering commitment to ensuring an outstanding student learning experience, developing the expertise of staff, providing teaching excellence, and actively growing research and scholarship. Through these actions, the University hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of students, staff, and the communities that it serves, enabling the institution to make a significant and growing contribution regionally, nationally and internationally

The Challenge

From March 2020 the University increased the number of laptops issued to teaching staff. This meant a larger cabinet or desk style lectern could be a thing of the past as there would be no need for a local PC in every space. Mark Sargison, Digital Workplace Services Manager at the University, was keen to replace traditional style AV cabinets with sleek and compact lecterns having a smaller footprint. This new style lectern would then be rolled out over the coming years and become the standard setup for all teaching spaces at the University. As an approved AV integrator on the NWUPC framework we worked alongside JM Supplies who specialise in manufacturing high-quality audio visual furniture, lecterns and rack units for learning and communication spaces.

The Process

The popular JM Sentinel Lectern design was used as a starting point. This stunning lectern has been designed with aesthetics in mind, having rounded edges throughout and finished to the RAL colour of choice.  The back of the desktop can also have an alternate colour, and can be removed to access the rear of the rack.  The hide can either be split, or a full wraparound hide to allow for larger logos.

Custom Design

The Sentinel base was modified to allow for the storage required for the AV components. The initial design offered 7U vertical rack space, 9U of horizontal half-rack space above, and an 800mm wide desktop.

Key Features

  • 1053mm desktop height (fixed height)
  • 7U full width+ 4U half-rack space, plus 4U under-desk cabinet
  • Castors, 2 braked
  • Cable management through the base​

Sample Unit

The modified design was approved and a sample demonstration unit was sent to the University for evaluation in May 2021. The lectern proved a success and the first roll out of a dozen units for the main site was completed the following month.

Further design modifications

The design was tweaked over following months factoring in staff feedback, as they got used to using the lectern on a day to day basis. A cabinet was added to the design to give access to a local PC, and a new sample demonstration unit was then produced and delivered in November 2021. Once this new version had been approved the revised Sentinel design began production in February 2022 with an initial 15 units delivered to the University. Over 30 units were then delivered over the months of July and August 2022 and into 2023.


The Result

The collaboration with JM Supplies on the custom Sentinel Lectern has proven to be a huge success at the University and there are plans for more units to be rolled out in the coming years.

"Working with Roche AV and JM Supplies was effortless and the communication throughout was great, with the final product speaking for itself. Our suggestions and requests during the design phase were all listened to which meant that we got the product that we needed. We are now using this lectern in all new teaching spaces and when we refresh existing teaching spaces. We know that if we ever need any new lecterns in the future that this collaboration will work perfectly again". 
- Mark Sargison - Digital Workplace Services Manager,
Learning and Information Services, University of Chester.

The Legacy

Following its success, JM Supplies then produced a "Chester Sentinel" lectern design - allowing other organisations to capitalise on the modifications and have the same unit in their teaching and meeting spaces.

"As a new product for other customers it has really taken off!  We have provided them to a number of schools and other Universities, as well as into the corporate market for boardrooms and training rooms."
- Lee Langthorne - Business Development Manager, JM Supplies

(Official University of Chester Photography: Jon Lingwood)