An Interview With Alan Brawn, Brawn Consulting

Userful Video Wall

Alan Brawn is a principal of Brawn Consulting, an audio visual consulting, training, educational development, and market intelligence company with national exposure to major manufacturers and integrators in the industry. He was formerly Vice President of Hughes-JVC, National Product Marketing Manager, Pro AV Group, Samsung Electronics, and President of Telanetix.

Here, Alan talks with Userful to discuss how and why video walls are experiencing explosive growth.

Tell us a bit about your business. What problems you help solve?

Alan Brawn Consulting specializes in commercial AV and digital signage. We provide consulting services for a select client base and each year we design 6 to 10 Digital Signage (DS) networks for enterprise level companies.

On top of that, we manage and conduct several educational programs in Digital Signage for the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) and International Sign Association Expo, as well as delivering classes at InfoComm.

Members of our team serve on the Advisory Board of the DSE and I am the past chairman of the Digital Signage Federation. In addition to our volunteer work we are the directors of Digital Signage Experts Group (DSEG) which is the certification program for the Digital Signage industry with members in 64 countries.

Why is there such a huge growth curve for video walls at the moment? What problems do video walls help solve?

As a maxim, “when application technology and price converge, an opportunity is created,” provides a good way to understand what is happening. We see this convergence with video walls.

By design (pun intended), digital signage, at its best, is an experience enhancer, motivator, and behavior modification medium.

The proper design and implementation of video walls fits this paradigm perfectly. With the advent of thin bezels, higher brightness, increased duty cycles, better video wall processors, not to mention more definable ROI and ROO, this has facilitated the growth in videowall.

"By design (pun intended), digital signage, at its best, is an experience enhancer, motivator, and behavior modification medium."

How have perceptions about video walls changed in the digital signage industry? What has facilitated this cultural change?

There is more of an emphasis on analytics. Where video walls were once just “bigger for the sake of bigger,” more advanced designers are drilling down into all the other attributes that video walls bring to the table. So now we see expanded analytics, and as a result there is a deeper understanding of the viewer.

And, just as important as analytics, content on video walls has matured and gone beyond the one-size-fits-all concept of sheer size that we refer to as “ooh shiny”.

"Content on video walls has matured and gone beyond the one size fits all concept of sheer size that we refer to as 'ooh shiny.'"

What is one industry or vertical that has embraced video walls, and is ahead of the curve?

In digital signage and public display environments, video walls are all about "going big" to attract attention—it's becoming common now to put synched displays together to create a larger canvas.

Leading the pack are entertainment and retail venues followed closely by the corporate and education communities. Of course, command and control is a major segment and they have probably done more consistently with video walls than any other niche.

"Leading the pack are entertainment and retail venues followed closely by the corporate and education communities."

As video walls proliferate and people become more used to seeing them, where do you see this trend going?

At this point video walls tend to be standalone installations, with one giant set of displays.

The trend we that is happening is twofold:

  1. Instead of just one focal point for the store or venue, there will be satellite displays complementing a primary video wall.
  2. Video walls will move beyond information and the ‘wow’ factor and be used for "Techorating"—a fusion of technology and decorating, using tech to create or be an element of interior design and decor.

Does it mean larger and larger video walls, does it mean more interactivity, more artistic or "mosaic-style" video walls, more unique configurations, or does it something else entirely?

All of the above plus more as we enter the new era of paradigm shifts and thinking outside of the box.

Alan Brawn is a principal of Brawn Consulting, an audio visual consulting, educational development, and market intelligence company.
 

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