IF YOU THINK OF VIDEO WALLS as simply upgraded digital signage, think bigger—bigger display, bigger opportunity.
Video walls typically comprise multiple monitors and projectors fitted together to perform as a single display. They also offer expanded capabilities. Whereas digital signage excels at delivering targeted or responsive content, video walls are designed for more active content manipulation and user engagement. Integrators and managed service providers who rethink or expand their AV or IT knowledge can take advantage of the increasing demand for this hot technology.
Globally, the video wall market grew 47 percent from 2017 to 2018 and will continue to grow, according to market analysis firm Futuresource Consulting. A contributing driver is a transition from LCD to LED technology, enabling larger displays, says Graham Cooke, a market analyst at Futuresource. At the same time, the price of LED is dropping, thus increasing accessibility to a wider audience.
Cooke says video walls are attractive for creative applications. Museums, for example, may use tilted displays in unconventional shapes to transform their spaces and attract visitors. In addition, video walls have an extra “wow” factor, making them popular in image-conscious businesses. “If your neighbor’s got it, you need to be seen to have the big, nice technology so you don’t fall behind,” says Cooke.
Evolving back-end technology is contributing to the increasing popularity of video walls as well. Tom Scott, CEO of Hiperwall, a video wall software provider, says systems are moving from cable-based technologies, such as an HDMI cable connecting a control box to a monitor, to IT-based designs that use faster Ethernet cable connected to a wall. The near future will see more software-based capabilities, allowing businesses to choose off-the-shelf processors over proprietary versions and upgrade systems in a cost-saving, piecemeal fashion.
Rethink Customer Groups
Thinking first about space and use—as opposed to vertical markets—will help channel pros better recognize new opportunities. For example, video walls are booming in settings such as network or security operations centers, where multiple people must see, share, analyze, and manipulate content in real time.
Cooke says that large corporate lobbies and the many people moving through them make video walls effective for internal messaging, or as links to the outside world, showing social media and news feeds. Transportation hubs have similar needs (and are a particularly strong market in the United States). Higher education, another setting with lots of space and people, is a further, often underappreciated, place for video walls.
Of course, digital displays have already proven their value in large retail spaces, and these remain strong markets for video walls too.