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The Rules of Operations Center Video Wall Design: Part 1

The Rules of Operations Center Video Wall Design: Part 1

An operations center is the nerve center of an organization that facilitates critical decisions based on a continuous flow of data. A video wall is the focal point of your mission critical operations center, and great care and precision must be taken in its design and installation to ensure peak performance. At Constant Technologies, we think of every last detail of video wall integration to ensure that your display wall withstands the rigors of nonstop use.

Video Wall Size, Placement, and Sight Line Analysis:

One of the first steps in designing a video wall installation is determining size and placement. Deciding how a video wall will best fit your space is a detailed process. The decision of 24/7 video wall size and placement is based on the farthest distant viewer, the nearest distant viewer, an ergonomic sight line analysis and what the client plans to display on the video wall.

Said Danny Sasseville, Vice President of Project Engineering at Constant, "We use ergonomic studies to calculate the distance from the farthest distant viewer and the nearest distant viewer to define the height of the screen before the viewers' necks are in a potentially harmful position. On top of that, we do a sight line analysis to calculate how far somebody's head has to turn back to see the top of the screen."

A sight line analysis is a detailed process wherein the Constant Technologies team conducts an ergonomic examination of operator placement and viewing capabilities to reduce strain on the eyes and neck. An important component of the analysis is knowing how many people will populate the space and will need to view the video wall. There is significant variation in ergonomic ideals for a space with two operators compared to a space with 50 operators. In a room with multiple rows of operations center consoles, we strive to find a happy medium so that the operators at the back aren't too far away, and the operators at the front aren't too close to the video wall.

"As a general rule, the bottom of a video wall display typically starts at about 4 feet off the ground, which is about average seated eye-level and just above the top of a display at a console," said Senior Design Engineer Neil Medeiros. With sight line analysis, Constant's engineers make sure that operators will have no more than 25 degrees maximum eye rotation so that they don't have to bend their heads back to look at a video wall installation. Added Sasseville, "We also take into account what would be in the field of vision to the right and left for someone sitting at a desk. We try to maximize what they can see with just eye rotation before they have to turn their heads."

It's not an exact science, however, according to Medeiros. The size of monitors and console desks affects video wall placement. "If you have very large display monitors in front of you that you need to see over, the display wall has to be higher." The construction of the room is also a determining factor; ceiling height is often a fixed element that can add complications to the ideal design of a video wall. If a display should ideally start at 5 feet off the floor in a particular room but the ceiling height would not accomodate it, it may need to be shifted down. "And since everyone is different heights," added Medeiros, "this is really just a general starting point."

When there are multiple rows of operations center furniture, especially if there are adjustable height consoles installed in the space, the sight line analysis becomes more complicated. "The challenge is that not everybody is at a fixed point," said Medeiros. Constant often counteracts this by adding a slight tilt to the floor so that operators in the back can see over the heads of the operators in front of them. However, this solution comes with its own added challenges -- if the tilt is too far, the operators at the back may have trouble seeing over their local displays. All of this detailed optimization is what Medeiros calls "a balancing act;" without the expertise of the experienced mission critical AV integrators at Constant, the multiple levels of necessary analysis could be overlooked.

As another element for consideration during the operations center design stage, the application for the video wall's use also helps define the way that Constant Technologies approaches its design and construction. Medeiros said, "Sometimes we will install rooms that are more 'showpiece' rooms for tours. People in the room aren't really watching the wall; it's more for a viewing gallery. In that case the sight line analysis isn't as important." Added Sasseville, "Network operations centers and similar projects have comparable applications every time. But in a project scenario with a showpiece video wall in the lobby displaying large-scale content, or a room primarily used for tours, the considerations for sizing and placement of the video wall are different."

When it comes to installing a mission critical video wall, bigger isn't always better. "Sometimes clients will ask us to install the biggest video display wall possible," said Sasseville, "but once we show them the sight line analysis, many of them change their minds." With a project as significant as a command center installation, you need an audiovisual integrator with the necessary expertise, precision, and attention to detail to ensure that every decision is the optimal choice for your space and its purpose. With over three decades of experience and projects all over the globe, Constant Technologies can help with your video wall installation every step of the way. Our thorough process of consultation and analysis ensures that your mission critical operations center runs at the peak of performance, aesthetics and ergonomic comfort.

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About Constant:

Constant Technologies, Inc. is a premier audio visual integrator providing mission critical customized audio visual integration, technology and custom furniture solutions worldwide. With over 3 decades of experience, its seasoned team has access to and experience with sensitive environments, such as Cyber Defense and Homeland Security. Constant designs, installs and services projects of all scopes to create solutions with the highest levels of security, aesthetics and functionality. Our team works within a range of operations center environments: Network Operations Centers (NOC), Security Information Centers (SIC), Security Operations Centers (SOC), Cyber Security Operations Centers (CSOC), Fusion Operations Centers, Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), Joint Operations Centers (JOC), Tactical Operations Centers (TOC), Combined Operations Centers (COS), C4ISR Environments and Social Media Command Centers. We offer professional video wall integration and technology furniture installation to give your team the space to operate efficiently.

Admin October 26, 2017