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Guest View: Ten Tips for a Successful Video Wall Setup

While choosing the right media wall can be complex, a few simple tips will ensure a successful video wall system setup or upgrade

When planning a video wall setup, working with a design team that offers knowledge and experience can help maximize the long-term ROI of the investment from both a system performance and financial perspective.

High-quality video wall systems display a range of visuals with eye-catching impact. From emergency management facilities to mission control rooms, government IT teams are deploying video wall systems in a range of applications that include ongoing operations, command and control, emergency management, infrastructure protection, network operations, and multiple simulation and training situations.

The need to visualize disparate sets of data and instantly share information for collaborative analysis across agencies and organizations makes choosing the right display system crucial.From intelligent traffic control systems to border surveillance and emergency management systems, a well-designed control room enables the display of critical information in real time to enhance situational awareness, monitoring capabilities and operator response.

When planning a video wall setup, working with a design team that offers knowledge and experience can help maximize the long-term ROI of the investment from both a system performance and financial perspective. Below are ten simple, but effective, tips to ensure a successful video wall system setup.

Differentiate between what the customer wants and needs

What an organization wants, and what they actually need can be two very different things, so it is important to start the process by understanding how exactly the organization plans to utilize the video wall today and how it might be used in the future. Adding in some bells and whistles may help you close a deal, but delivering a system with the functionality required will ensure a happy customer.

Understand customer expectations

Before designing a solution, you need to understand why a customer wants to install a video wall system. What do they plan to do with it and how will it fit into their existing AV or control room infrastructure? There are always multiple ways to get to the same end result. Asking the right questions at the start of the process will help you determine the best way to get there.

Ask the right questions

In many cases, customers either don’t know what they want or don’t know how to explain it to an integrator. A detailed list of basic questions can help you properly qualify customers and clarify their requirements. After you conduct this survey, you will have obtained information about the customer’s business model, system requirements, intended use, budget, priorities, timeframe and expected functionality.

When setting up the system, be sure to determine the size of the wall, the type of content and the number of sources that need to be displayed simultaneously, and whether real-time processing is required.

Understand the nature of the sources

How many sources will feed into the video wall processor? What are their resolutions? What kind of content will be displayed? Will IP streaming sources or applications need to be displayed? How far away from the wall will the sources be located? These questions will help you decide what kind of processor, cabling, extenders, signal support and connectors are needed.

Clarify number of inputs, outputs and displays

Video wall processors accept multiple sources from disparate systems for display on an array of monitors or projector screens. Determine the size of the wall, the type of content (graphics, text, motion video or a combination), the number of sources that need to be displayed simultaneously, and whether real-time processing is required.

Determine the importance of system security

Video walls can be used for a variety of applications, some mission-critical and some less so. Because security is very important in control room, surveillance, monitoring and government environments, a dedicated video wall processor will help mitigate the risk of a data breach. For less critical applications where security is not a priority (such as digital signage), a PC-based system may provide more flexibility.

Document, document, document

Using the first six tips, you will obtain a lot of information from the customer. Make sure you document the process at every step, so that you have support for the decisions you make.

Only then move on to the design

With a clear idea of what the customer expects, you can now design your system. When possible, work with a manufacturer’s design services team, since they are expert in the use of their products. Provide customers with a system diagram, bill of materials and a functionality statement that clearly outlines what the system was designed to do, what will be delivered to the customer and the timeline for completing the project.

Present the customer with options

The technological landscape is constantly changing. With this in mind, it is important to educate your customer about trends and present options that can help future-proof their installations. For example, you could build in room for system expansion, or enable the system to accommodate higher resolutions such as 4K. Offer the most functionality and flexibility that the customer’s budget allows, and then let them decide which elements to incorporate.

Test the system before delivering

Before you deliver the final product, test and troubleshoot the system in-house. This will increase customer satisfaction with the system and reduce or eliminate the time required for tech services personnel to be at the customer site.

In short, make sure to leverage the expertise of a knowledgeable design team, gather information, manage expectations, and document every step before designing, testing and delivering your system.

Scalable and versatile, today’s video wall display systems are high performance, cost effective and easy to deploy in all types of situations. So much is possible with today’s video wall processors, from small-scale operations that utilize a single multiviewer to enterprise level video walls consisting of 100 monitors or more. Working with a design team that offers knowledge and expertise can help maximize the long-term returns of a video wall investment.

Tim Carrigan is the manager of Technical Services at RGB Spectrum, and has more than 30 years of experience leading engineering, programming, project management, installation and sales teams in the audio visual industry.