TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN. Hoteliers are constantly challenged to keep up with the rapid pace of technology advancements and with the majority of U.S. hotels still running on coax infrastructures, most properties are still playing catch-up with the replacements of first generat read more
Last week I was at CEDIA expo in San Diego and I got a firsthand look at the 2017 product of the year, The Frame. Does it live up the hype? You bet it does. Don’t worry if you missed it. You can check it out for yourself at the www.e4avtour.com. What impressed me w read more
As a nod to The Kentucky Derby, a few classic cocktails were in order to celebrate New York’s Always Dreaming, the colt who was “ready to run” at Churchill Downs on Saturday and bolted over the finish line in first place despite the mucky track and acclaimed list of con read more
While we know it can be challenging to pin down application details in the early stages of a project, gathering as much info as you can early on can help save thousands of dollars from the get-go and can even save you from headaches later where you might need to modify your proposal to reflect the correct product and adjusted labor. In Part I of The Great Outdoors, we highlighted 5 questions to help our reseller partners uncover specific needs for getting outdoor digital signage right the first time.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the unique features Samsung has engineered as part of their totally new 2016 outdoor lineup and see if we can put the answers to those questions to work for you!
For example, knowing who the audience is and where the unit(s) will be located may clue you in on the need for durability features. Let’s say you’re working on an application for a movie theater, college campus or theme park, you may want to suggest a model with Magic Protection Glass which can withstand whacking from a hammer or even a baseball bat to protect the investment your clients are making in digital signage against rowdy patrons or students. Three of the five new series include Magic Protection Glass: OHF, OHD & OHE Series. (See chart at bottom). Another feature is Polarized Sunglass Support which ensures a perfect picture regardless of the viewer’s lenses and eliminates the blinding glare on most flat panels.
IP56 Certification is another important feature that can be essential to the longevity of an outdoor unit if directly placed in the elements. As defined in international standard IEC 60529, it classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures. The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. Samsung has IP56 certification on the OHF, OHD and OHE Series outdoor units. (See chart at bottom.)
Depending on the application, some locations may require round-the-clock operation. With Samsung, select outdoor units are rated for 24/7 usage meaning they are engineered to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 years to half brightness. This means the display will run a full 5 years without any noticeable degradation in brightness; if used only 24 hours a day 5 days a week, this life span would be extended beyond 5 years, minimizing total cost of ownership. Don’t forget Samsung’s 3-Year On-site manufacturer’s warranty on all professional displays, plus New optional, Protection Plus extended and expedited service options to help you meet the requirements for overnight replacements for more critical installations where down-time is simply NOT an option. Ask your Almo rep for more details.
Speaking of brightness, did you know Samsung’s new 24” compact display, the OM24E can not only take direct sunlight without blacking out the panel like many outdoor units, but it has also been engineered and tested to withstand temperatures of 110 degrees! Plus, the display can now automatically optimize brightness control and increase energy efficiency using the new Auto-Brightness Sensor. This allows the display to automatically reduce brightness to 200 nits or up to 1,500 nits depending on the ambient light which maximizes effectiveness of digital signage in any lighting conditions. In addition, the OM24E also allows users to manage digital signage content wirelessly with built-in Wi-Fi and mobile app support.
Although most applications are a great fit for complete products that are ready-to-hang right out of the box, we realize there are plenty of unique applications where digital signage displays are incorporated into an overall design theme or as part of another structure – Samsung hasn’t left you hanging in this regard. In the OMD Series, Samsung offers two versions to accommodate needs for a fully-enclosed, ‘complete product’ (OMD-W) as well as a KIT version (OMD-K) which can be installed into a more customized enclosure. Both versions can stand up to direct sunlight in a store-front window or out in the elements in a weatherized enclosure (provided by others); both versions now available in 46”, 55” and 75” sizes for maximum design flexibility.
Let us know how we can personally help you on your next outdoor digital signage project and we’ll help confirm the right solution for your specific application.
Here’s a snapshot of the key specs on Samsung’s 2016 Outdoor Lineup: (see www.almoproav.com for full details)
And don’t forget to register for this Friday’s Webinar on Samsung’s High-Bright, Outdoor and Weatherized Displays!
The Great Outdoors: High Bright, Outdoor & Weatherized Displays Defined on Jun 29, 2016 2:00 PM EDT at:
Drive-thru restaurants, theme parks, stadiums, retail window displays – these are all places where specialized displays are a necessity due to the outdoor elements, lighting and more. In this session, learn the differences between these types of displays, when to use them and in what applications. Through an examination of real-world case studies, you’ll explore the essentials for installing these specialty displays and important considerations BEFORE you start to specify a project.
Presented by Jonathan Brawn, Brawn Consulting on behalf of Samsung.
It’s especially nice when the manufacturers plan their distributor summits in a nice warm location during the dead of February. Such was the case this month with Samsung in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. Distributors, resellers and DMR’s gathered to hear the vision to 2016 and beyond, while seeing some of the latest product developments.
One of the greatest things about these functions is the networking aspect. You’re surrounded by customers, the manufacturer’s folks and even your friendly competitors (and if you are lucky a celebrity or two). The opening reception kicked off this portion of the conference. Here I am rubbing elbows with George Gervin from the San Antonio Spurs (left) and Director, US B2B Distribution for Samsung, Tom Perrier (right):
A lot of the conversations revolved around the ever-present dilemma of shrinking and sometimes even razor thin margins on displays in both the Pro and especially consumer markets. I think Samsung has got some new things up their sleeve that may be impactful for their partners as to help with the margin issue. More on that later. Now speaking of razor….
I’ve been on the road a lot lately, and even though I consider myself a season traveler, inevitable I forget something. This time it was a razor so I went down to the JW Marriott gift shop. Filled with cowboy hats, sombreros, ponchos, hot sauces and other Texas sized treats, it was your typical gift shop. I grabbed my usual brand from the stand, went up to the register and the cashier said, “That will be $20.12”. WHAT???!! $20.12 for one disposable razor?
I said no thanks and started to wonder…in this age of fighting declining margins in our industry, how is it that a commodity product like the razor can command 3000% mark up? Location, location, location. Resourcefulness took me to the spa and they ponied up a razor at no charge.
On to the Samsung Product Showcase – in usually Samsung fashion they never disappoint when it comes to new product development. It was good to see some of the concept things coming to fruition such as:
The transparent display which holds a multitude of applications such as retail and anywhere the end user just basically wants to be uber swank.
The mirror display which they showed in a retail setting with RF technology in clothing and shoes that dynamically changed when the user took them to the mirror. Here is our Business Development Manager extraordinaire, Apryl Lamberti taking it for a spin.
Outdoor displays – not just ruggedized, coated and cased back- lit LED panels but..
Surfs’up! Samsung’s YESCO acquisition last year brings the new outdoor LED.
Finally the indoor LED was quite a hit. Here is Apryl examining the type of panel used to make the video wall in the background.
I think the future looks bright with the new LED products (no pun intended). What Samsung was showing are solutions that require an ecosystem of services, which is where the margin lies and value to our partners. The opportunity for services such as content creation, can create that long-term relationship with a customer, long past the sale of the display.
As digital signage continues to grow in the pro AV space, it’s no secret that one of the biggest trends has been the movement to larger screen sizes with how affordable panels have become. For Samsung, in addition to larger screen sizes it’s their video wall category that continues to tip the scales with record growth. Taking a close-up look at the new, expanded video wall product lineup, the new UD and UE “E” Series Smart Signage Video Wall Solutions in 46” & 55” options and specifically their Color Expert Technology, it should be no surprise that reports show Samsung spends nearly as much on R&D and product development as some of the world’s global technology leaders including companies like Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and others.
Why is Color Calibration Important?
While there are many components that contribute to a successful digital signage installation, video walls can be particularly challenging because of the added complexity involved with having to adjust the luminescence, brightness, color and other settings on multiple displays in order to achieve a uniformity in appearance with the goal of getting the overall array to show the content as it was originally designed/intended without looking patchy or having any color variation between screens. Some examples of color calibration issues include: fonts could appear grey or darkened to the point text may not be easily spotted by a viewer, graphics may appear distorted and unsynchronized because of the time difference of conventional LCD panels’ scanning mechanisms and images can appear choppy, images of select screens within an array may appear tinted or as though they have a cast of color (green, red, blue) over the entire image which can distract the viewer by drawing their attention to the differences or imperfections rather than to the intended content.
Samsung Addresses Calibration Starting Right at the Factory… Why?
Samsung’s new optimal calibration solution provides multistep factory tuning process and uses an Advanced Color Management (ACM) Chipset with 16-bit processing and a 12-bit lookup table (LUT) that provides the highest performance available for image and color processing in our industry. The ACM chipset enables displays to provide extremely crisp, clear images with accurate color, producing nearly perfect uniformity right out of the box which makes Samsung’s video wall displays more tech-friendly and saves considerable labor on the job which can mean higher profitability and/or more competitive video wall proposals for your clients. The enhancements made to the 2015 “E” Series UD/UE product lineup is “dramatically different” and does the majority of the work for you without a color calibration tool, although some folks will likely still want to make some adjustments. The differences with the latest ACM chipset have been said to be 20-30% faster in processing and some of Samsung’s applications engineering level technical teams have described the setup for new video walls taking nearly 70% less time than previous generation product, so the Samsung product will be a great asset for integrators to grow their video wall business in the year(s) ahead. The ability for fine tuning is provided with Samsung’s Color Expert Software for customers who want to customize the color settings beyond the factory calibration settings depending on environmental conditions, content, client preferences, etc. This software is included at no charge and allows for finite adjustments to settings such as local uniformity, gamma and white balance to create engaging and immersive experiences for viewers regardless of the application.
Why has Samsung Become Known for their Video Wall Display Solutions?
Samsung is known for being the premier brand of professional grade displays (as well as consumer) but this is especially true when it comes to video wall displays. These units come standard with a 3-Year on-site, parts and labor warranty with a variety of options available for extended service programs to fit nearly every budget, which can be particularly important in a video wall installation when there’s no time for down-time. If you’ve ever talked with a Samsung employee that has been on a factory tour, you’ve probably heard comments about the impression made on them by the extensive quality control inspections; this factory tuning and calibration is another great example of the Samsung brand standard and their commitment to quality and manufacturing excellence; they strive for perfect product out-of-the-box and the number of units we see coming back as DOA compared to other lines we work with is extremely small in comparison.
A few other highlights include: high durability for longer term usage, clear viewing with vivid colors for exceptional picture quality, and superior panel technology and design result in anti-wrinkling/crumpling panels. The durability of these panels is unmatched; rated for 16 hours a day/7 days a week usage or 24/7 usage at high temperatures, these units are built to last. They even include built-in technology to help prevent image-sticking that can happen when the same image is displayed for a long period of time, especially common in black/white or greyscale content, so this is one less thing you have to worry about especially if the client has not yet determined their content selections at the design and proposal stage, which we know happens more often than not. Finally, Samsung is also known for having the best picture quality in the industry; their displays have very high contrast ratios and the darkest blacks as well as quicker response time for smoother motion viewing. Below are some visual examples to help you see just what we’re talking about and how this technology can make an impact to the picture quality.
Can Almo Help Design Your Next Video Wall Project?
Absolutely! Reach out to us today to help design the right video wall solution for your specific needs. Whether it’s the ultra-narrow bezel (3.5mm edge to edge) or new UD/UE “E” series high-bright versions at 500 or 700 nits, studio/broadcast version or you’re looking for a simple video wall solution without having to add the expense of a separate PC and want to simply play content right from a USB thumb drive, contact your Almo rep today or me personally for assistance with your next video wall system design. Let us help take the guesswork out of your next video wall project, while increasing your margins and providing you with a quality product you can continue building your reputation on. Samsung provides extensive support for Almo partners and is here to help us as we work with you to grow your business. We look forward to hearing your creative video wall ideas!
Samsung Makes a Splash with New Small-Signage Products at Chicago E4!
Last week’s Chicago Almo E4 AV Tour was fab-u-lous! Some of our top vendor partners said it was THE BEST reseller event they had ever exhibited at. By the time I glanced at the time, it was already one o-clock! Where does the time go? With nearly 20 CTS certified training sessions, a product Expo that introduced some of the latest technology in our industry and the support of our vendors, what a great resource for dealers to see so much all in one place!
I spent the majority of time at the Samsung pro booth where a number of new series were vividly on display:
Love these professional grade displays for simple digital signage but what about for posting outside a meeting room or throughout a conference center for welcome messages, meeting room bookings, or even at the front desk for guest check-in for hospitality applications?
So while bigger may be better most of the time, you’re no longer limited to just 32” and up. Think of Samsung as the leading brand of professional digital signage solutions with the most extensive product lineup in the industry, from 10” and soon, all the way up to 110”. Samsung’s solutions carry a full 3-Year, On-Site Warranty and your Almo rep can even help you with extended warranties.
Don’t miss the next stop on the spring E4 AV Tour coming up in Los Angeles, CA at the Sheraton LAX Gateway Hotel, April 21st! And let us know how we can help you today!
While some manufacturers continue eliminating features to maintain aggressive prices, did you know that nearly the complete lineup of Samsung’s 2014 consumer grade TVs are rs232 compatible? If you’re doing a double-take, you’re not alone… this is one of the most common questions we get asked by Pro AV resellers inquiring about using consumer units in simple applications like conference rooms where projectors/screens are being replaced or augmented by flat panels as the prices become more and more affordable for a variety of applications either in single up to several displays for presentations, meeting collaboration, secondary visual aids, etc.
RS-232 on Samsung consumer units is available via the Ex-link port (3.5mm 3 point connection) on the back of the control panel (pictured below) with use of a AA39-00311A adapter (9 pin Serial Connector to 1 Stereo Connector cable). Now I know what you’re thinking… “Ok, so there are RS-232 capabilities, but what kind of functionality is really provided on the consumer units, and will it be enough for my project needs?” Just like you’d see in commercially provided RS-232, the consumer units provide both a Tx and Rx line; however control data can only be sent to the TV which means there is no support for status. Although we know ‘status’ is not a requirement for every project, this can limit the use of consumer TVs in the commercial space, and for this, Almo offers Samsung’s full lineup of professional grade displays as our flagship line and the industry’s leading brand (both in consumer and commercial spaces).
Need to know specific details of the Samsung coding, testing application or supported coding on these units, just reach out to your Almo rep for a work book outlining the nitty-gritty details and we’ll be happy to provide this to you. Click here for a listing of Samsung consumer models with RS-232 compatibility.
Have a comment about RS-232 on consumer units in the commercial space? We’d love to hear your questions or comments about your experiences! Let us know how we can help you grow your business with quality leading the way with innovative Samsung technology.
Are we taking the car salesman approach to selling video walls?
Let me first say that I am not in any way disparaging the professional car salesman. Car sales is a unique market all its’ own and there’s no shortage of challenges facing today’s sales pro regardless if the product will get you from point A to point B fast and loud, cheap and easy, or green and clean.
You may have heard the statistics, but recent surveys show a very different car buying experience today than that of just 5 to 10 years ago, much less 15 or 20 years ago…. Did you know that on average, by the time today’s car buyer drives onto the lot or walks into a showroom, they’re already 98% of the way to signing on the dotted line? Does it surprise you that this number is so high… 98%?
Now I will admit, buying a car used to be something I’d look forward to; I’d test drive a number of possible options, narrow down the selection and thrive in negotiating the deal down to the lowest possible price. Fast-forward to today- call me crazy (or just a normal, working professional, mom, wife… (Need I say more??)) the very thought of all the time I used to spend selecting the perfect car just to be traded out in a couple years, (not out of necessity, but boredom) totally exhausting, right?
These days, I have (thankfully) changed how I buy a new vehicle. I do all the research upfront- I generally can narrow it down to precisely what model I want, features/packages, all the way down to a price range that I am willing to pay based on all kinds of information available at my fingertips thanks to the internet. For me, the magic formula is finding the right dealer with a willingness to get the car I want if that’s what it takes (rather than trying to convince me to buy a car on the lot they want to sell me), one who values my time (that means they have a straight-forward direct approach), along with a knowledgeable sales team (hopefully one that knows the line better than I do! ☺).
Ok, so transitioning to our world. Queue the twinkling chimes…
As one of Almo’s business development managers, I specialize primarily in the Samsung product line. Working closely with our sales and reseller partners, I am still surprised when I ask the question, “What kind of content does the client want to display on this video wall or how will digital signage be used in this application?” and the response is either “I don’t know, or we’re just in the preliminary stages of the bid and just need hardware costs right now” (which usually translates to “I don’t know.”) This scenario comes up more than you can imagine and I have to ask myself if as an industry, “Are we taking the car salesman approach to selling video walls and digital signage?”
Statistics show that digital signage is growing on average 30% per year. Take a few seconds to think about where your current signage business is coming from. How are you becoming engaged in these opportunities?
- Are you or your sales team out in the trenches uncovering small – medium sized opportunities to propose a solution to a common need of independent businesses or even to corporate America within your target markets?
- Do you have a mapped out sales plan or company initiative to target your existing customer base and increase the products you sell to them leading with digital signage solutions at the core of your messaging, OR…
- Are you mostly responding to bid specs and taking calls from end users who generally already have an idea of what they’re looking for and often call out specific models, brands or even software versions?
If you found #1 or #2 to be the source of the majority of your digital signage business, these kinds of outbound opportunities allow an integrator some advance knowledge of the end user’s business and enables a more customized, design-built or solutions-selling approach after meeting with the client to confirm their needs and problems digital signage would help them solve. In this process, the end user typically recognizes the integrator as the pro A/V expert and decision making may be limited to a single point of contact or a primary point-of-contact may involve a few key department heads such as operations/facilities management, IT, or purchasing to confirm final acceptance collaboratively.
On the other hand, if you caught yourself thinking you’re so swamped with responding to bid specs and taking calls from new prospects on digital signage projects that you don’t have time for identifying new opportunities or expanding what you sell to your existing customer base, your overall volume in digital signage business may be high but there’s a good chance that margins are tight and getting slimmer all the time. It can be difficult for companies to change direction and get out of the cycle where so many internal resources are taxed to respond to RFQs (requests for quotes) only to be awarded to the lowest bidder. If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your business for long-term growth, does bid work provide the stability you need or give you the opportunity to show the client the value you (the dealer, integrator, or reseller) bring to the table?
Let’s take a look at 3 most overlooked aspects of designing and selling video walls:
√ Understand the content and the clients’ objective for the video wall. What purpose will it have or what problem will it solve?
√ Address warranty and on-going maintenance services for the life of the product to ensure optimal performance and customer engagement to help show the value of the product you’re proposing as well as your ability to support client’s needs long-term.
For example, if you’re proposing a video wall in a lobby or atrium where there is high ambient light or floor to ceiling windows to bring the outside in and a high-bright non-video wall product is a better match for the site conditions than a low-light video wall option… or let’s say the architectural and interior design of your clients’ existing space is sleek and modern with virtually no structure to hold the bulky video wall product your client is requesting from you, be sure to take this into consideration when designing and presenting your solution to your client. If a high-bright solution is really what the environment calls for, discuss it with the client and/or other project partners (architects, engineers for example) when reviewing your proposal to help differentiate you from the competition. Anticipated this August, Samsung’s new UDD Series offers the narrowest bezels in the entire line at just 3.5mm bezel to bezel in both 46” & 55” sizes; units are rated for 24/7 usage with brightness at 700 nits and anti-glare screens and an input for a hard-wired internet connection, a good choice for areas that have high ambient light. As an alternative, Samsung’s UED Series, also available in 46” and 55” sizes has just come into stock and is rated for 16/7 usage and a lower brightness rating of 450 nits and offers a built-in Quad Core processor and Wi-Fi for infrastructures that call for wireless connectivity.
Surprisingly, content is often the last component considered as part of a video wall project implementation but it’s the most important factor that should be taken into consideration when designing/configuring the wall. For example, if your client is a cosmetics company, you don’t want to have content of a close-up shot of a model’s flawless face broken up by noticeable seams or bezels. Consider ultra-narrow bezel video wall displays like Samsung’s new UDD Series: UD46D/UD55D which has a reduced bezel to bezel dimension of a sleek 3.5mm, down from 5.5mm in the previous generation, the UDC series. Or, for content where bezel widths are less critical, the UED Series could be a great fit with 11mm bezel to bezel. Both the UDD and UED Series have a built-in processor on board but It’s important to confirm what resolution content will be, what kind of file types can be provided and how many sources are required as this can determine whether an external video processor may be required.
Warranty is another factor more often implied than detailed. The worst call you can receive is a client telling you one of their video wall screens is out. All warranties are NOT created equal so be sure to detail this in your proposal. Explain not just the length of warranty but specifically what is covered under warranty and what isn’t- provide examples. If you are in a competitive situation, let the customer know to ask some questions of your competitor about the warranty they’re providing, this can be a great opportunity for you to differentiate yourself. Samsung, for example provides a 3 Year On-Site Warranty. This means they will schedule a certified technician for an on-site visit when a service call is made. Others require units to be sent in for warranty repair which can mean serious down time, big difference…
So, next time your phone rings or before you rush to answer that email asking for a video wall quote on a specific brand right down to the model number or worse, they “just need equipment the IT department will install it,” ask yourself if you’re taking the car salesman approach to selling video walls by simply quoting a price for what the customer thinks they need or if you’re taking the time to understand the true needs of your client so that YOU can help design a solution to help them accomplish their goals. After all, we are the experts! A-hem, aren’t we?
I’d love to hear your stories… tell me about a time you got burned with a “box sale” or ruined a long-term opportunity or relationship by quoting what the customer thought they wanted rather than what you knew they needed.
Car shopping anyone? OMG, no thanks! (At least not until December, 2016 anyway! LOL ☺)