In part 1 and part 2 of our series on operations center video wall design, we explored, respectively, the ergonomic considerations of video wall installation and technologies such as LCD video walls, LED video walls, 4K and curved video walls. Part 3 will explore options for video walls sources.
PLANNING THE CONTENT OF A VIDEO WALL
In previous blog posts, it was established that the type of content that will be displayed on a video wall impacts the considerations taken into its design and installation for everything from placement to video wall type. This post delves deeper into the various ways to source content for video walls.
Danny Sasseville, Vice President of Project Engineering at Constant Technologies, said that sources are tied to the video wall using three main methods: local source capture, native processor windows and streaming content, all of which are displayed on the showpiece video wall through use of a processor. A display wall processor, said Sasseville, is "basically a big computer with a large amount of inputs and outputs. It takes all of the various inputs, maps them and organizes them on the screen in the way you would like them displayed." Whether that means one source displayed over the entire video wall or multiple sources mapped out over the wall, the processor has multiple methods of source input and can be dynamically controlled by the end user through the integrated control interface.
LOCAL SOURCE CAPTURE
Local source capture is the term for content that is replicated via a direct connection to the processor: for example, a computer with an HDMI cable connected directly to the processor. The screen that would be displayed on the computer monitor is "captured" from that local source and displayed on the video wall. This is a common method of sourcing for video walls, according to Sasseville. "Most of the workstations in the command centers we install will capture video from the computers at their desks, route it into a switch, and it will go to the processor to be displayed on the video wall."
NATIVE PROCESSOR WINDOWS
While the processor is a vital piece of machinery it, it is also, said Sasseville, a functional computer. "You can run it natively as you would a computer, with software installed or an internet browser opened directly through the processor." According to Sasseville, in many large-scale operations center installations, a majority of what is displayed on the video wall will be native processor windows. "In these big projects, often they will have 100 web browser windows open," he said. A processor can trim the browser to show only the relevant content, and it can produce other effects such as adding colored borders or a name or title.
The third display option, streaming content, is simple: the processor has capability to stream a source, such as a video streaming service or video conferencing, via a codec. Since operations center video walls are sometimes used for video conferencing between different locations of a multinational company, streaming is not an uncommon sourcing method in operations center installations that use a follow-the-sun model.
Although the technical considerations of how to display content may not initially seem relevant to the design of a video wall, mission critical AV integrators like Constant Technologies leave no stone unturned when it comes to operations center design. Said Sasseville, "part of our design process is mapping out all the sources, how they will be routed through the processor and how the client wants each source displayed either on the video wall or at the command center workstation monitors." This source mapping process also contributes to design decisions such as cable management for workstations and under flooring. The video wall is not just a standalone part of the installation and design, but an interconnected piece of the operation that affects and is affected by all the other individual pieces.
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Constant Technologies, Inc. is a premier mission critical audio/visual
integrator providing customized audio visual and video wall integration
and custom technology furniture solutions across the globe. With over 3
decades of experience, Constant's seasoned team has access to and
experience with sensitive environments in both the private and public
sectors, such as Cyber Defense and Homeland Security. Constant designs,
installs and services projects of all scopes to create operations center
furniture and video wall solutions with the highest levels of security,
aesthetics and functionality. Our team works within a range of
environments such as Network Operations Centers (NOC), Security
Operations Centers (SOC), Cyber Security Operations Centers (CSOC),
Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), Unified Command Centers (UCC), and
other mission critical spaces. As systems integrators, we pick and choose from the best technologies to create a custom operations center video wall installation that fits the needs of your space.