The Current State of the Video Wall Industry
Video walls have exploded in popularity. In recent years, the applications of these display systems have expanded significantly since the technology has become more readily available. While at their inception video walls were mostly used in mission critical applications, recent AV growth has seen them become available in most industry verticals.
In a survey of 126 integrators and consultants in the audiovisual industry, Commercial Integrator found that demand for video walls has risen sharply in a variety of previously unexpected industries. From retail and restaurants to education, health care, and corporate applications, video walls are everywhere.
While previously the main application for video walls was to display real time data in mission critical rooms, they now serve as a platform for whatever the customer envisions. There are all kinds of objectives people might have for their video walls: from a space to display marketing messages and daily agendas to a shared screen for critical data to simply “wow factor.” Realistically, no one integrator will be skilled and experienced at installing video walls that perfectly fit every kind of objective. Different goals for your video wall will demand much different kinds of technology. Therefore, it’s important to choose an integrator with expertise installing in your particular field, particularly if your installation is mission critical.
What Makes Mission Critical Different
There are challenges to mission critical environments that aren’t present in other areas of the AV market. For example, sites such as network operations centers and SOCs must be resilient and operational 24/7 with absolutely no downtime. In addition to selecting the right technology, the design for these video walls must also have plans for redundancy built in to ensure that systems are always running. A video wall expert with specific mission critical experience is a necessity for successful installations.
In other video wall applications such as entertainment venues, hotels, or office lobbies, losing audiovisual capabilities might be an inconvenience, but it ultimately would not cause a significant interruption. But for these types of installations, where a video wall might be responsible for monitoring anything from information security to network strength to active threats, it is absolutely critical. The success or failure of operations is at stake, and the technology needs to stand up to the task. This can mean that an organization’s financials, sensitive information, or even people’s lives could be on the line.
Specific Product Design
In installations where the reliability of the technology isn’t as crucial, there is a lot more flexibility with the quality of technology that can be installed. In mission critical, however, there are specific capabilities that must be carried out, so your AV integrator needs to be more selective with the technology and aware of the strengths and weaknesses of every product within the audiovisual design. There are products specifically tailored to work in mission critical environments. It is important to choose an audiovisual integrator with a deep knowledge of the mission critical industry to ensure they know these products and how to work with them.
When installing an operations center video wall, it is important to know that these products typically come at different price points than the screens for, say, a hotel lobby. This is because the design intent is not consumer grade, but commercial grade. These products are designed to withstand the rigors of 24/7 use, which is no simple task, and with that comes a cost.
There are some who would be tempted to put consumer grade products into a mission critical facility, but an expert integrator would advise against such a move. In the long run, effective products that are designed specifically for mission critical will bring fewer problems and will need to be replaced much less often than if you were to put consumer grade products into a space.
Cutting Edge vs Bleeding Edge
The technology integrated into a mission critical command and control installation must be absolutely bulletproof. Everything must be carefully vetted to ensure uptime. In our industry, we use the terms “cutting edge” and “bleeding edge” to compare new technologies. While these important spaces should have cutting edge technology, it is absolutely vital that the products are tried and true. We cannot use a first release of a product in a critical facility – these types of spaces should not be beta testing sites. The bugs of a particular piece of equipment should be worked out before it’s installed in a mission critical environment. The bleeding edge is technology that has not yet been tested. At Constant, we stick to the cutting edge – products that are fresh and highly capable, but have a proven track record of success.
A trend we are seeing a lot in mission critical AV installations is the capability to share information in real time with other locations. Securing information takes place all across the globe, and many organizations will have multiple facilities working in tandem to monitor the same data. Within these facilities, consistency is key. Whether it’s London, New York, Singapore, or anywhere else in the world, these installations should have similar technology that can enable them to work together. In addition, if someone goes from one facility to the next, the technology should be familiar.
As with all mission critical operations centers, these multi-site installations should be designed carefully. Sharing information from one space to the next should always go smoothly, and doubly so when that information is critical. Enabling multi-site capabilities is another aspect of mission critical AV design where everything must be expertly designed and installed to prevent a disruption of operations.
Why Choose Constant for Mission Critical?
We’ve established why working with a video wall expert is absolutely key to having a successful installation if you’re focused on mission critical. The question now is how to find one of those experts.
When choosing an integrator for your command and control center, past performance is an absolute must. At Constant, our client list speaks for itself. Our work with firms like Aetna, CVS, Akamai Technologies, Carnival Cruise, Facebook, Lockheed Martin, and more as well as with government agencies such as the Department of Defense, United States Coast Guard and Air Force proves that we are trusted with the most sensitive environments.
There are a lot of audiovisual integrators out there, and many of them have dipped their toes into the mission critical world. However, specializing exclusively in the field of mission critical is something that no one else does. We have always been steadfast in building our expertise and not straying from what we know. With over 30 years in business, we offer a wealth of experience as well as custom design services and long-term service contracts to ensure that your mission critical space is the best that it can be.
If you are ready to install a video wall in your command and control center, contact us today to get started.
About Constant Technologies, Inc.
Constant Technologies, Inc. provides audio video integration of 24/7 video walls and custom furniture for operations centers. With 30+ years experience, we work with the most sensitive environments in both the public and private sectors. Our installations of all scopes and sizes have been completed around the world. We create solutions held to the highest standards of security, aesthetics and functionality. Some of Constant’s installations include: Network Operations Centers (NOC), Cybersecurity Operation Centers (CSOCs), Emergency Operations Centers, Security Operations Centers, Social Media Command Centers, and other command and control environments.