Everyone wants to hit their business opportunities out of the park – and LG’s newest commercial displays can help make this possible! Given that we are in the midst of summer, it only makes sense to compare how LG displays are like one of greatest games on Earth…you gue read more
At Almo Pro AV we just wrapped up our 2016 E-4 AV Tour with stops in Boston and then Dallas. Like our previous E-4s, these events offered our customers, large end-users and consultants multiple CTS-certified lectures (with RU Credits!), hands-on experience rooms and an impressive exhibit floor populated with over 50 manufacturer partners displaying the latest in technology.
Due to space constraints and other outside factors, exhibit halls in general often restrict what manufacturers showcase to individual components and not an entire working solution. Attendees then must visualize the solution, usually by associating it with a recent or current application need. But what if they could see an entire solution, made up of components from multiple manufacturers in a single exhibit? This is a concept I’ve been at work on for the past few E-4 events, and the reception and feedback I’ve received is motivating.
Representatives from well-regarded display and projector manufacturer NEC have worked with me on this concept from the beginning. Our goal is to display NEC’s superior commercial panel designs and demonstrate their functionality in a working model, such as a video wall or unique projector application. To accomplish this we started with a video wall configuration and called on another partner, Peerless-AV to supply their specialized video wall cart. The cart is an actual Peerless-AV sku providing video wall mounting with mobility. Perfect for our exhibit hall floor. Now we can easily demonstrate the features of this video wall solution and mount combination to show attendees.
In Dallas we took the partial solution even further. TVOne joined our configuration to display their low-cost and feature-rich 4k video processing unit that utilizes NEC’s Tile Matrix feature. We then insured electrical noise-free power by employing a Tripp-Lite double-conversion UPS. The end result was a working, fully mobile 4k video wall solution.
Next, we wanted to demonstrate a single-panel application with a 65″ UHD Panel, mounted in portrait orientation. Once again we called on Peerless-AV to provide a video cart capable of portrait orientation, enabling us to demonstrate the panel’s ability to change screen orientation. One dealer group actually came by the booth that day ans offered to purchase the solution right then and there and take it back to their office!
Also popular these days are indoor kiosks, and Almo and NEC were able to bring such a solution to our E4 attendees as well. This time we created a kiosk solution featuring a 46″ NEC panel displaying content from a BrightSign media player, all secured and ventilated within the Peerless-AV kiosk and once again powered by Tripp-Lite.
Almo is already hard at work with our partners for our March E-4 AV Tour stop in the Windy City, Chicago, IL. Our solutions exhibits will no doubt continue to evolve and grow. Perhaps we’ll employ a unique NEC SSL laser projector based digital signage application with portrait orientation using content provided by Almo’s Content Creation Services. Rest assured, we’ll come up with something – and our attendees will be able to see a true solution through the forest of products on the exhibit floor.
The popularity of video walls in in the Pro/AV industry is exploding. The market is competitive and selecting the best video wall solution may feel overwhelming. Video walls can be configured in an infinite range of shapes, sizes and technology. With LG’s Commercial Display Portfolio that targets all vertical markets you can create stunning video walls that are easily installed, maintained and managed. LG offers a Commercial Display Portfolio that targets all vertical markets.
Most of us are comfortable talking about LCD (liquid crystal display) flat panels. We see this technology every day in computer monitors, smart phones and TVs. They are cost effective and high resolution. This makes displaying text images and video aesthetically pleasing. Typically though, their bezel width is visible, so when you are creating a video wall, the “big picture” is far from seamless.
Direct view LED panels are bezel free, so you can create different configurations for a seamless video wall. They are great for large scale digital signage solutions due to their efficiency, reliability, refresh rates and color accuracy.
OLED or “Organic Light Emitting Diod’s” are solid state devices made up of thin films of organic molecules that glow when an electric current is introduced. When the light passes through the layers, it produces spectacular high definition images. LG’s perfect OLED design has only two layers, making their digital signage display unbelievably light-weight and incredibly thin; 4.5 mm at its thinnest point.
Image Gap reduction from LG provides a beautiful, crisp clear picture… without image distortion.
As the content moves from one screen to another, and the picture is shared across multiple screens, look to LG for the distortion-free “BIG PICTURE” every time.
Being in the Pro Av arena for 10 years there is really not much that I haven’t seen. You would think by now I wouldn’t be the person walking behind a LCD panel in a store or restaurant to see what mount is being used or what type of ceiling accessory it has…..well, you would be wrong! Yes, I am still that person! Just yesterday I received a text message with a picture from my niece while she was at Petco Stadium watching the Padres vs Diamondbacks game, instead of commenting on her experience my first response was “I love that stadium! I was part of their original AV renovation project in the early 2000’s”! Again, I am that person.
With that said, while there is not much in the AV arena I haven’t seen, there is still a TON that impresses me! Living in Chicago I have access to some of the most historic arenas and stadiums equipped with the best AV systems money can buy. Last month I had the privilege of going to the United Center to see Adele perform live. While I’ve been to the United Center numerous times over the last year, no other experience compared to this for me. I walk through the doors on July 13th and see the 35’ x 9’ curved video wall with no other than, yes, you guessed it, Adele! I was smiling from ear to ear and most definitely felt like a newbie in the AV industry. I am a huge fan. =)
As with many sporting events and concerts, signage was everywhere! Visitors of the United Center can see 64, 42 inch flat panel displays throughout the 100 level concourses, not to mention LED boards inside each of the four main gate entrances.
I feel very lucky to be part of a great industry like Pro Av! I get to help clients spec in products that enhance their customers experience in many different vertical markets. On July 13th I was just a patron benefiting from a truly immersive fan experience thanks to innovative, Pro Av solutions.
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.
It’s no secret we’ve been moving away from the classic form of advertisement for quite some time. Static advertisement strategies to merely attract customers are a thing of the past. With the onslaught of information, creating an engaging experience around the customer is today’s minimum requirement.
Digital signage is an exploding market with ever expanding applications and innovative products that help draw attention to the message. But have you ever wanted to exhibit your latest signage project on a display that truly stands apart from the rest? Well, LG has introduced an amazing new 86” Ultra Stretch monitor for these types of cutting edge digital signage applications – the 86BH5C-B. It’s the world’s first 58:9 format featuring 4K Ultra HD resolution.
This distinctive display size is ideal for some very unique visual applications. The 3840 x 600 resolution provides a one-of-a-kind canvas to display lots of content with amazing color and imagery. Having an extended wide format display can provide a lot of information on a broad canvas without sacrificing image quality. For example, mounting it sideways in landscape format is a fantastic way for retail stores to display them on top of shelves and demonstrate the latest products.
The portrait format mount is equally valuable and really shows the versatility of this type of monitor where it can be utilized in spaces previously unused for signage. You can mount them vertically on building columns to show the latest information and schedules at transportation hubs (i.e. airports, train stations, bus depots, etc.) and businesses (hotels, banks, art galleries, etc.). Plus, the Picture-by-Picture (PBP) feature allows you to divide the screen into four parts in landscape or portrait installations. You can use one portion of the monitor to show video (live TV) and the remaining 3 portions of still images (date/time, weather, flight schedules, etc.).
Debuted as a new digital signage format, the 86-inch LG Ultra Stretch Signage display can even double as “digital décor” (art galleries and museums come to mind). Its stunning image quality and capability of being used in diverse scenarios make this a revolutionary breakthrough in signage.
The only challenge may be in getting the exact content you desire to be custom created for this unique format. However, with the LG SuperSign media editor, you can easily edit images or video clips of original content without any additional editing programs. If you ever need help obtaining the content needed to ride on that display, Almo Content Creation services is also a fantastic option!
For more information on LG’s Ultra stretch display or any of their products please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org / 888-420-2566 X4082
First, if you haven’t heard of the term “techorating”, it’s not something I made up. I thought I had but after I asked my dear friends Alan and Jonathan Brawn to write a course for our E4 AV Tour on this trend I was calling techorating, they discovered it was not an original. Techorating was a catchy term coined back in 2008 by interior designer, Doug Wilson from the TLC TV show Trading Spaces, as a concept for the emergence of integrating home technology and home decor in balance with one another. Since the Brawn’s taught this course for us a few years ago, the term caught on it the AV industry and has been written about in nearly every major AV publication, including a recent article in Digital Signage Today.com. I’ve seen a lot of great examples of techorating, especially in Las Vegas where designers and architects continue to push the limits to wow audiences, attract visitors and keep us coming back for more shows, casinos, long cab lines and the ever-present linger of 2nd hand smoke. Which is why my visit to Comcast last week was filled with techorating awesomeness! It was an experience like no other, elegantly done with a playful yet bold approach – and 100% smoke free. You enter the lobby on JFK Boulevard in downtown Philadelphia, which is the tallest building in the city, and at first it looks like any other normal lobby: Nice ashy oak walls, silver accents, very clean and polished look. But wait, something starts to happen and… It’s not just a wall! It’s an intergalactic force to be reckoned with. No wait, it’s a water wall! Cool stuff, right? It’s the attention to detail as well that struck me. Much of the content intertwines with the wall architecture, creating virtual joints in the places where the LED panels “join” – you can see from this shot that part of the image is a real joint and the other is silver colored pixels. You may be wondering what I was doing lingering in the Comcast lobby. I was there on official business but I can tell you that this is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Philadelphia, so it’s not uncommon to see all sorts of people in their lobby. We launched our new Almo Connect service for our resellers to offer bandwidth, cable TV and voice services to their customers and Comcast is one of our partners (along with many other top cable providers). Why would our partners offer bandwidth services? Think about if you’re doing a digital signage deployment and you plan on refreshing high resolution content on a daily or weekly basis. You need LOTS of bandwidth! And for future proofing, think about 4K – now you’re talking BIG data coming across a network. And of course the IT people are like, “no way, not on my network!” And you’re like, “no big deal, we offer high speed internet and we can take care of everything.” Voila – the reseller makes monthly reoccurring revenue on that sale – that’s right – every single month. But back to the techorating – here’s a very cool video so you can see how they use different parts of the wall for entertainment, like this “cubical” video:
Kudos to the designers and especially to the content creators. The convergence of architecture, decorating, digital display, graphic arts done spectacularly well and I didn’t even have to walk through a casino to see it.
It seems flat panel displays are virtually everywhere these days and have gotten larger, thinner, lighter, and less expensive than ever. Not that long ago in applications requiring a large image a projector was the natural choice, however as flat panels have evolved you are now seeing them installed where historically it would have been a projector. I am not denying the benefits of using a flat panel display, but there are many reasons why projection would be the way to go.
For starters, let’s look at image size. Generally speaking 98” is about the largest flat panel that is readily available at this time. So in instances where an image of larger than 98” diagonal is required, projection becomes the only option to use for a single display device without the complexity of multi-screen video walls. This is pretty clear cut, but size is not the only consideration.
Often audio visual components are integrated into high end architectural spaces including corporate board rooms, lecture centers, training facilities, and more where the display device may not always be in use and for aesthetic reasons the client may not want to “see” the technology in the room. Most projectors are ceiling mounted and generally out of view or can be installed in a lift that can disappear into the ceiling. Projection screens also can disappear when not in use by recessing flush into the ceiling.
Another key consideration is cost. While flat panels have certainly become affordable, however once you get up into the larger sizes above 80”- 90” the costs can still be prohibitive in many cases where projection will often be much more affordable. For illustration purposes consider a 98” professional grade monitor at a cost of $32,679.00 compared to an installation class projector like the Epson PowerLite Pro G 6770WU which is 1920×1200 resolution at 6000 lumens available at a retail price of $5,699.00.
When it comes to unique display applications there are times when a flat panel display is simply not an option. Think about events where you have projection on floor surfaces or on buildings. With projection mapping some really unique projects can be pulled off. A really cool example of this was recently featured in a case study on the basketball arena at Pensacola Christian College using Epson Pro G projectors:
Both flat panel displays and projectors have their pros and cons, however projection is still and will continue to be a great choice for many display applications. For assistance in selecting the right Epson projector or to learn more, contact Brian Rhatigan at email@example.com or 888.420.2566 x6546.
So when did your end user last consider refreshing an older video wall? What a great question. I bet most end users consider replacing or reconfiguring video walls a prohibitive exercise of expense for soft dollar returns. In other words, it’s about metrics related to advertising attention or informational effectiveness. But soft dollars are challenging to measure and hard for integrators to include in project proposals designed to convince end users.
But today there’s more! When advances in large display panel technology, mount designs, content software, signal distribution, and control are combined with lower purchase, implementation, and operational costs, a “perfect storm” of hard cost justification opportunity begins to form. Add in the possibility that the end user’s current video wall may be fully depreciated as a capital expense, and BINGO! ….. dealers and integrators have a great pitch to sell.
In the coming month, Almo ProAV will be reviewing the opportunities with Video Wall Refresh. In the meantime, here are some quick items to consider:
- Energy Savings: Today’s panels are much more efficient in operation, substantially reducing energy costs. Those savings alone can nearly justify a whole project.
- Advanced Design and Features: One example is ambient light sensors that provide auto dimming. Another example is High Brightness (high nit) panels for high ambient light environments
- Lower Install Costs: Today’s mount designs reduce install time. Easy to use color calibration tools reduce install time as well
- Lower Large Format Display Costs: Perhaps consider a single 90”+ display rather than a 2×2 wall, for example
Look for discussion guide to Video Wall Refresh in the coming months.
Over the past few years AV professionals have known that their industry has merged with IT in many different facets. Part of that collision of industries involves an impact on network resources, which is significant to say the least. Equally important is finding the best telecom services that are needed to support those network requirements. Almost every AV project involves some form of telecom in how they will effectively operate. Consequently, data connectivity and bandwidth requirements are in high demand and must be addressed for these A/V solutions to function successfully.
Bandwidth governs all access to the Internet, the speed that data, images, and video can be uploaded and downloaded, and whether usage will be seamless or problematic. Capabilities vary from venue-to-venue, location-to-location, and project to project. As A/V technologies and solutions advance there is a perpetual requirement for the right telecom services to make them work. There are many key indicators that would trigger the need for more bandwidth to be successful in a new project.
But how well are you prepared to handle bandwidth requirements and telecom services on your next AV solution?
Here are some examples and ways to evaluate your AV projects and the resulting telecom needs:
Video Walls – need bandwidth to update content and stream video/audio content. They require a substantial bandwidth pipeline to accommodate the download requirements of streaming high definition video content and services. Without the appropriate amount of bandwidth your message
Video Teleconferencing – Expecting flawless video and audio during a teleconference requires proper upstream bandwidth for smooth conversations without lag, jitter, and choppy images. If you’ve just outfitted your customer with a new video teleconferencing system, you need to have the conversation with them about obtaining the appropriate amount of bandwidth to accommodate that service functionally. The impact on network resources should be realized and planned accordingly from the beginning.
Video Surveillance – We’ve been seeing the transition from analog to IP cameras used for surveillance over the last few years. Now that these cameras are riding on category cables (Cat 5e/6a) and connected to a network they will also need to send and retrieve stored information on network video recorders (NVRs). If you plan on viewing or recording footage remotely then you will need to have substantial upload capability to accommodate bandwidth hungry high resolution megapixel cameras. For reference, a single 3 megapixel IP camera operating at 30 frames per second will need at least 50 Mbps of network bandwidth to operate effectively.
VoIP Phones – If you have a PBX system that is about to migrate to the cloud, you will have to consider the bandwidth requirements to support this new move. You’ll save money on hardware overall, but an upgrade to business class voice services will definitely require an increase in available bandwidth. And, since your telephone system is so critical to daily operations, you will likely need to have a dedicated Ethernet circuit brought into the business. These types of circuits offer guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee uptime of your network for mission critical operations, like your phone system. This is especially critical for call centers handling numerous calls simultaneously.
Streaming HD Video Services – with the advent of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube the network will always be taxed to deliver the intense data load of HD content. Bandwidth hungry services like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. are driving the need to provide more bandwidth to businesses that support these applications. Hospitality is one market that is constantly changing its bandwidth requirements to conform to their customer’s habits of online gaming, streaming video services, guest Wi-Fi usage for multiple devices, etc.
All of the previously mentioned examples are key indicators that a conversation should take place about evaluating, and possibly upgrading, your bandwidth circuits to support – cable TV services, streaming HD video, video teleconferencing, digital signage content, command and control rooms, VoIP phone systems, and surveillance applications.
Remember: Key indications that you need a bandwidth discussion begin with a complete evaluation of the project, network environment, and overall requirements. Without the right speed, their applications may be slow. They need connectivity that will help keep everything working as you intended. And they are going to look to someone for connectivity. Why not have it be you? Offering customers something that they have an existing need for adds an additional tool in your tool belt, and allows integrators to become more complete solutions providers. If you are a trusted technical partner of your customer and they depend upon your expertise to keep their projects running flawlessly, you should be involved in the discussions for bandwidth requirements and telecom services.
ALMO CONNECT’s national telecom services aims to be your complete telecom solutions and bandwidth provider that will help you become even more valuable to your customers and their projects.