Just Another Brick in the Videowall?
In an increasingly visual world, videowalls represent a golden opportunity for AV pros to show they're not like all the other digital signage integrators.
I know you've heard this before, but AV and IT are converging. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the exploding market for digital signage systems. And by varying estimates, people other than AV integrators are getting the lion's share of the business. Some of that is because the AV industry has been slow to adapt to network technologies. Some of it's because AV pros have been slow to recognize the opportunity digital signage presents and haven't brushed up on the non-AV skills (content design and management) required to do it successfully.
Whatever the truth is, I've sat through enough seminars about breaking into digital signage to know that the AV industry is apparently still on the outside looking in. What will it take to make AV pros more relevant? How about bigger, better digital signs?
It will be hard to compete with the opportunists if digital signage is defined only by a network, a media player, and a screen (or many media players and many individual screens). Videowalls however, whether they are simple 2x2 or complex 3x10 configurations, are right up the AV designer and integrator's alley. Videowalls are defined by AV-speakwords like switching, scaling, mullions, and calibration. And, frankly, clients want them.
We're in a golden age of videowall construction. Tried-and-true projection technologies command attention in our security-conscious nation's growing number of control rooms. Meanwhile, with prices for flat-panel displays coming down, and bezels shrinking, it's not a leap to convince a signage client, for instance, to run its content on four screens joined together instead of just one. Plus, with new tile-style display modules, videowalls can come in more creative shapes and designs. And really, who's more creative? The AV pro or the IT guy?
The Renaissance Orlando hotel could have put run-of-the-mill flat-panel TVs at its lobby bar. Instead it went with a 4x4 videowall of NEC thin-bezel displays (pictured), which, in a nod to nearby SeaWorld, create a massive virtual aquarium.
Videowalls may scream Times Square, but they're coming to a location near everyone. And these digital signs are more than just networked displays. They are pro AV creations.