5 Key Challenges in Control Room Video Walls
1. Scalability and Room for Growth
Video walls are a big investment: screens, mounts, controller, installation and training. When planning a video wall install, it’s easy to list out the needs of today, but it can be difficult to predict the needs of tomorrow.
You need a solution that can grow with you.
If you purchase a proprietary hardware based video wall controller that has X inputs and Y outputs, you’re going to be limited in the future if you want to expand.
Choose a solution that can meet your requirements today but allows for growth in the future.
To accommodate future needs, you may want to be able to add more inputs or outputs.
It’s also advisable to consider a software based solution that ensures that ensures you get new features when they’re released.
2. Complexity of Management and Control
Today’s control rooms are demanding environments with the need to display multiple diverse content sources simultaneously on a video wall and to quickly change that video wall content on the fly.
To address the needs of modern control rooms, many video wall controllers have added complexity. The feature heavy load has made them cumbersome.
Even today when simplicity and ease of use is highly valued, some video wall controllers require specially trained installers.
Many require hours of coursework and training for operators.
This is a pitfall you want to avoid.
There are solutions that are powerful, featureful and flexible without being overly complicated.
Userful for example offers all the high end video wall controller features you need, but comes with a very simple control interface and can be set up and configured without a lot of training.
3. Easy and Flexible Interactivity
Interactivity is a key requirement for any control room.
You need operators and administrators to be able to control what’s displayed where on the video wall and to interact with the video wall quickly and easily.
There are video wall controllers that simply take HDMI inputs and scale them onto the video wall or a zone within the video wall.
When this is the case, it can be difficult to ensure all operators can interact with the source of that HDMI input.
Take the example of an NOC that needs to run 6 browser sessions on its video wall. They can use 6 HDMI inputs each connected to a PC each of which is running a browser.
That’s obviously cumbersome and it also means the solution design needs to ensure anyone who needs to can interact with those six PC’s and the browser sessions running on them.
A software based solution like Userful makes interaction with the video wall and the content on the video wall easy.
In the example above, instead of having the video wall controller connect to 6 desktops, 6 browser sessions can be run directly from the PC.
For interactivity any of the operators can launch the interactive viewer and with that control they can control the mouse and keyboard for one or all of those 6 browser sessions.
With Userful it’s equally easy to control what content appears where on the video wall and administrators can use presets to set up multiple specific configurations that need to be regularly used, each with different zone layouts and different content sources as needed.
4. Robust Reliability
Downtime at a mission critical control and command center is unacceptable.
When deploying a video wall in a control center, be wary of anything with a single point of failure and remember the more complicated a solution, the more of a challenge it can be should something go wrong.
Proprietary hardware can be difficult to service and if your video wall controller requires a specialized technician, any down time can be magnified by delays involved in getting the right person on site.
Here at Userful, one of the reasons we use standard off the shelf PC’s is to keep costs low, the other is to ensure ease of support.
With a standard off the shelf PC at the heart of the solution, service and support is that much easier.
Userful also offers automated failover which allows customers to put a second identical PC on site and set it up in the Userful software as the backup PC.
In the unlikely event of a hardware failure, the second PC will take over operation of the video wall.
While the cost of displays has dropped significantly, the cost of a traditional video wall controller has not. This is usually because those controllers are built from specialized proprietary hardware which has low volumes and high costs.
Cost matters in every project and no customer wants to spend unnecessarily.
Userful uses a standard off the shelf PC to keep costs down, and by using the network and a low cost zero client receiver, the solution is a fraction the cost of any other high performance, feature packed solution on the market.
If you want to see exactly how cost effective Userful is, all our pricing is available via our website.
Visit here for Userful video wall pricing.