LED Video Walls: Not Your Average Install & What Can Go Wrong

LED Video Walls: Not Your Average Install & What Can Go Wrong

There are many variables to consider with on-site audiovisual installations. LED video wall installs are no easy feat, and if you’re not careful, they can quickly be botched in numerous ways. So how should you prepare properly for a successful on-site installation? Premier Mounts’ Director of Marketing Curtis Rose is focusing on the failures at one recent job so future installs can come together smoothly with the proper planning and methodology. Here’s a breakdown of what can go wrong in installs and what to consider to ensure that all goes smoothly when the time comes: Caution, FRAGILE: LED panels are fragile and must be considered as such, yet in some scenarios proper care is not taken. Timing matters. Opening the LED modules on an active construction site before the actual install can lead to breakage that is easily avoidable otherwise. The modules not only need to be transported with care to their final destination, but they must be kept sealed in box away from any danger prior to their time in the install. Poor communication: Project details are often miscommunicated, and when this occurs things can head south before the install actually begins. Without a fluid and communicative relationship between project engineers and integrators, there can be a lack of understanding about important details of the installation. Site walks are extremely important in most cases and should be performed to avoid less than ideal install environments, which leads us to our next point below… Unexpected environmental hurdles: The installation location is important to how it unfolds. When active construction is taking place, things simply cannot and usually do not go according to plan. Construction zones strewn with dust, noise and even sparks are detrimental to putting together any LED display. Other roadblocks can include improper surfaces for mounting, poor visibility, blueprint errors and inability to communicate with those also on the job. Ticking time: Timing is particularly paramount when it comes to who will be involved (and for how long) in the install. If proper training is not completed prior to the install, hours are wasted explaining what could’ve been done beforehand. Schedules should be carefully planned and aligned so that certain individuals aren’t waiting around for others to complete components necessary for them to begin. Unanticipated equipment needs: Having the proper tools and hardware seems like a no brainer, but not every install is the same and thus, needs will vary onsite. Without the correct equipment on installs, crews often scramble to secure the right pieces and thus, valuable time is wasted. Botched installations of the past have led us to examine what got us there and how to avoid it moving forward. And, while we’ve certainly seen it all and things do tend to work out in the end; the more proper, well-planned and executed LED installs, the merrier. While considering the snafus above, more LED installations will occur smoothly worldwide.        

Touchscreen Mounting Challenges During COVID

Touchscreen Mounting Challenges During COVID

Taste, smell, see, hear and touch. The five senses that contribute to the everyday human experiences. COVID has undoubtedly impacted how we experience touch most significantly, yet technologies utilizing this sense still remain and continue to be installed for their uncontested convenience and user-friendliness. Touchscreens are multifunctional. They allow users to interact with the content being viewed through the natural act of selection using hands or a stylus. Both an input and output device, the ability to react and alter the content being viewed is unmatched to any other screen. Unlike typical LCD screen displays, they do require additional components to allow for such functionality. Yet, installing touchscreens during the pandemic presents unique challenges. Mounting screens is literally a balancing act, but with the right tools and products, it doesn’t have to be. Touchscreens in particular come equipped with built-in computers that add weight. Added weight means additional considerations must be made when installing. With a product like the LMVLF the guessing game is eliminated and you can feel confident that your touch screen is secure for use. Another additional consideration to be made when mounting a touchscreen is the height it will be placed. For proper interface, you must be certain that it is displayed in a way that promotes and provides ease of use. If not employing a height adjustable solution, it’s necessary to find a middle ground that won’t leave those on the petite side on their tiptoes, or those on the tall side breaking their backs. Environmental flexibility is key to touchscreen technology ease of use. Places where touchscreens are utilized vary widely; from your favorite fast food restaurant for ordering, to the doctor’s office, airport check in, movie theaters, ATMs and vending machines. Chances are, individuals encounter one just about everyday in completing an average progression of work and general tasks. Because of this variability in environments where touchscreens come into play, the one size fits all approach tends to fall flat, so mounts that provide mobility are optimal for touchscreens. To be most inclusive, height adjustable mounts are preferred as they allow for users to change the screen according to their needed height for use. The ease this provides is idyllic for many different places, especially those with varying clientele in and out each day. Another option is to mount touchscreens on moveable carts or stands. As a way to gain the most mobility in a touchscreen, this approach has found success in educational and medical environments using a product like the LFC-L. The ability to bring the technical to the varying spaces where it may be necessary provides flexibility and increases use overall. While our other senses seem to be getting the majority of attention in COVID times, touch still remains as an active and necessary part of our lives, especially as it relates to technology. Many considerations must be made when installing and maximizing use of touchscreens, yet with the right mounts, use of them can continue easily into 2021 and beyond.      

Is Direct View LED The Right Choice for Your Next Video Wall?

Is Direct View LED The Right Choice for Your Next Video Wall?

In the Pro AV industry this question surfaces often when trying to design an exceptional visual experience for clients: is direct view LED (dvLED) the right choice for your next video wall? In the world of videowalls, there are two main choices for creating captivating experiences for clients or customers alike: direct view LED or LCD. Direct-view LED saw a meteoric rise in popularity within the Pro AV market in 2016 and 2017, but the cost of implementing such a solution was much higher than LCD and seen as an obstacle for specification into certain projects. “Direct view LED was typically most common for outdoor, billboard, or sports applications where viewing distances were a minimum of 75 feet. Now dvLED can be found in lobbies, schools, boardrooms, security rooms and more because of significant improvements in technology that has allowed LED to become more affordable” says Shaun Roos, Western Regional Sales Manager at dvLED manufacture Unilumin. “This is the thanks to advanced fully automated manufacturing plants and labs that are able to produce large quantities of product at a fraction of the costs before and at with higher precision and accuracy. Now that dvLED has become affordable, there are many clear benefits over LCD when comparing the solutions in video wall installations. “Some of the major advantages of dvLED include a 2-3x longer lifespan, seamless design, higher resolutions, better refresh rates, modular scalability and 75% more energy efficient” says Curtis Rose, Marketing Director at Premier Mounts. The list goes on and on, but this should give you a clear indication of what the right choice should be. So, now that it’s pretty clear that dvLED is the right direction for video wall applications, it becomes about choosing the right dvLED product and mount to support it. “Assuming we already know the needed size, one question I am always asking is where is the closest viewer and target viewing distance? This is an important question as it will help filter down pitch and, in some cases, what product to use all together” says Roos. “From there on, it gets into more specific questions like: Indoor or outdoor?  Brightness requirements? Color space requirements? Refresh requirements? Resolution needs? What kind of content could even influence what product should be used. It is with all these details that a selection must not be rushed and partnering with the right manufacturer is important to thoroughly investigate the application and ensuring you have the best product.” Choosing the right dvLED brand and product based on the end-user’s needs is critical, same goes with the mount. “As the foundation of a direct view LED video wall the mount is what brings each LED cabinet together to create a seamless and clear look” says Rose. “Make sure your mounting solution has plenty of z-alignment to compensate for the potential uneven surface the video wall would live on.” In the end, it’s clear that dvLED is the future, with companies like Unilumin leading the charge in advancing the technology and Premier Mounts supporting the technology. The future is bright (literally) and with 2020 already showing 27% growth in dvLED according to AVIXA, the best is yet to come.

Has COVID Destroyed Touchscreens Forever?

Has COVID Destroyed Touchscreens Forever?

As COVID-19 reaches all-time highs in cases each and every day, more and more people are beginning to reevaluate how they interact with each other and technology. One area of concern for consumers is the use of touchscreen technology. Whether in the classroom, corporate office or public space, digital signage or display technology containing touchscreen capability now leaves consumers questioning if the use is worth the risk. According to the CDC it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose. In addition, a study from Australia’s national science agency showed that the virus can live up to 28 days on touchscreen surfaces that are not disinfected. Although this is not the primary method of transmission for COVID-19, the hesitancy in use are very real. Studies have shown that in quick service restaurants across the country customers would rather stand in line to order take-out when no one is at a touchscreen ordering kiosk. These changes have become apparent in Pro AV as this year there has been an 80% decrease in touchscreen sales across all markets. With such a drop in sales it’s worth asking if COVID-19 has destroyed the future of touchscreens. Although usage and sales are down now, we are a society that quickly forgets the past, especially if a reason for forgetting means making our lives easier. That’s exactly what touchscreens do: make our lives easier. While sales are down this year and possibly in 2021, expect the recovery in the years beyond as we move past the scares and horrors of 2020. In the meantime, it’s important if you already have touchscreens installed to properly maintain and sanitize them so that you get your return on investment. The CDC recommends following manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting on touchscreens. If there is no guidance your best course of action is to use alcohol-based wipes or sprays that contain at least 70% alcohol. After wiping it down make sure to dry the surface thoroughly. One alternative to consider is putting a wipeable cover on the surface of the touchscreen. In 2020 it’s safe to say that COVID has destroyed the touchscreen market. But, it’s also safe to say that after COVID has come and gone we will see a rise in the use of touchscreens once again. The technology, ease of use, and faceless interaction bode well for the future of touchscreens outside of the pandemic. How soon they will make a comeback? That’s yet to be seen.

Top 5 Things AV Companies Should Prioritize in 2021

Top 5 Things AV Companies Should Prioritize in 2021

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year and many within the AV community have felt the repercussions of how a global pandemic can disrupt the supply and demand of technology products and services. Everyone is wishing and hoping that the COVID-19 virus starts to pass and advancements in medical technologies are made to stop the spread, but what happens if it takes longer than expected? What will we do in 2021 that allows for us to keep our businesses safe while still allowing for safer execution of projects? We have decided to highlight the top five things that all AV companies should prioritize going into the new year.
  1. Long Time Customers – In the current environment, customers that we have talked to for years may have all of a sudden gone radio silent. Their ambitious plans that you talked with them about during discovery calls have pivoted as their clients have changed their plans and have relied less on installing integrated systems. While some customers may need to take time to rebound, more than likely there are still customers who are placing orders regardless, albeit at probably a smaller scale than average. Focus on developing more interaction with these groups of customers and maybe add some flexibility to their current buying cycle. It may be enough for them to capitalize on better margins or turnaround times that will keep their businesses steady during tough times. More than likely it will also be something they would be incredibly grateful for and something that would be hard for them to forget.
  2. Internal Employees – Unfortunately the reoccurring headline in the news for the past few months has been circulating around unemployment and how companies are cutting staff to keep the business going. Companies have been forced to shutdown their doors and drain savings accounts in order to keep operations running. If you are able to keep most of your staff on hand, let them know how much you value them. Allow for yourself to be flexible to their schedules as the world changes. When you as an employer are able to provide a feeling of safety for your key members, they will work hard and stay loyal as things begin to uptick.
  3. Education and Training – I would bet that a small majority of people within multiple departments at AV related companies are currently up to date with certification and trainings that are needed to maximize their skillsets. Often times day to day operations will take precedent to education and training because they face short deadlines that need to be met. On days where project volume is thin, supplement your days with training. This could be from your installers gaining CTS certifications, to marketing and sales getting accreditation for digital marketing and sales training. Conducting trainings of your own may be a great way to connect with people seeking more information about your services. This ensures that you can have a strong recovery in both the short and long term.
  4. New Opportunities – How do you allow for yourselves to stand out? Are there opportunities in certain areas where you can make a large impact in? Whether it is a new business venture or developing a new product, now is the time to put bright minds together to identify trends that will set your business up for the future. For example, here at Premier Mounts we identified the market’s need for large-format LCD displays and created the LFC carts and LMVLF solutions to best serve those projects.
  5. Partnerships – We all have faced similar struggles businesswise, so a recommended point of focus for 2021 should be looking into new strategic partners you can bring aboard to help navigate through rough waters. A business partnership is defined by multiple organizations who look to mutually benefit each other through products or services. This can mean working together with different manufacturers to create turnkey solutions or working with other installers to go in on larger projects where they may need additional expertise.
Are you looking for training opportunities for your team or partner with Premier Mounts on your next opportunity? Our team of dedicated experts is available to help you with your hardest audiovisual projects. Give us a call or contact us here!

4 Ways We Have Learned Digital Signage Helps in a Pandemic

4 Ways We Have Learned Digital Signage Helps in a Pandemic

  Although we are not out of the woods yet, we have learned a lot about the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of Pro AV. As an industry our role in the pandemic largely becomes an information provider, whether that information comes over audio, through video or collaboration tools it’s an important role to play.  Proper communication through AV products ensures safety and compliance for organizations, which should the top most priority during a pandemic. Today, we are going to focus in on digital signage specially. We have learned that digital signage offers unique features over other AV product categories when communicating about COVID19. So, let’s dive in and get a solid understanding of 4 ways digital signage has helped with proper communication during COVID19.
  1. Deliver Timely Messaging If there is one thing we have learned it is that changes in information around a virus change quickly. Early in a pandemic, every hour new information surfaces that need to be rapidly communicated to the masses. Digital signage networks can communicate these messages very timely. In addition, having signage on mobile carts allows for displays to be moved quickly to areas around the building where information needs to be made available the most.
  2. Promote Proper Safety Measures Wear your mask, stand 6 feet apart, wash your hands: these are the types of messages important to get through a pandemic. Keeping this top of mind is important for customers or employees and keeps you in legal compliance as well.  In addition, CDC guidelines change as situations evolve so printed signage will be more expensive and time consuming to produce than having digital signage in place.
  3. Manage Traffic Flows Whether in a store or back at the office, keep proper distance from others is important. Early on 6 feet of distance was the standard with the CDC now saying the further you can be the better. In order to keep employees or shoppers distanced, it is responsible to have limitations on the direction traffic can flow in a building to stop front faced contact. Using digital signage as a means to communicate this is great, especially when traffic patterns will need to change or there is an unforeseen circumstance.
  4. Promote Positivity Mental health and a feeling of connectivity and relationships is incredibly important during a pandemic. The way we live our daily lives are so altered it leaves an overall feeling of despair, loneliest and hopelessness. Spreading positivity becomes important to keep mental health strong, especially when it comes to employees in an office environment. Sharing good news or even videos of calm and relaxing environments can go a long way, especially when used in conjunction with points 1-3 above.
Digital signage plays a unique role in the pandemic. Whether telling customers to wear a mask or spreading positivity in the workplace, digital signage can help us to communicate clearly, safely and effectively through a pandemic like COVID-19.
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Direct View LED Video Walls are Overtaking LCD

Direct View LED Video Walls are Overtaking LCD

Video walls are built to immerse viewers into content that captivates and engages. At their inception LCD displays were at the forefront of video wall design, but with direct view LED (dvLED) rising into the market, we expect to see a full transition take place in the next few years. One of the biggest barriers for dvLED to overtake LCD is the cost of each cabinet. In 2018, we would see dvLED cabinets for fine pixel pitch as much as 10x the price (as what? LCD displays or 10x the price of what we see today?). Since then, prices have dropped 17% each year with some dvLED manufacturers reporting seeing over a 30% drop in smaller pixel pitches of 0.9 or 1.2mm. As cost come down it will make more financial sense for end-users to adopt this technology due to the many advantages dvLED possesses compared to LCD:
  • Higher resolutions for bigger screen sizes – LCD really caps at 98” and even then, you don’t often see anything above 65” used in video wall applications. Direct view LED will give you better resolution on a larger scale.
  • Modular nature allows flexibility in size – While LCD video walls can theoretically expand as needed, the ease of doing so while keeping panels aligned can be challenging. Horizontal or vertical expansion post-initial install is easy for dvLED in both situations of existing architecture and new construction.
  • Ability for large, seamless videowalls – An obvious advantage is that dvLED video walls lack the seams the LCD bezels create. This means a clearer picture with content being uninterrupted which means messaging comes across clearer and more consistent.
  • 2-3x longer lifespan - A narrow bezel LCD video wall lasts approximately 5 years and needs to be serviced annually to calibrate color and brightness. A dvLED video wall on the other hand might last twice as long and only needs a one-time calibration during initial setup. When calcu­lating the cost based on initial setup, lifespan and maintenance, the cost gap between LCD and LED closes partially if not entirely.
  • 75% more energy efficient - With the right content and brightness settings, dvLED can be more energy efficient than LCD panels, saving lots of money.
  • Higher color accuracy and refresh rates – Color technology allows dvLED to be more accurate giving you an amazing display of “true” color. Refresh rates also are much better, meaning content that is pushed from a media player or steaming service will appear faster and clearer on screen.
  • Capacity for much higher brightness - LCD displays usually fall within hundreds of nits (typically 350-700 nits) while dvLED can produce upwards of 8,000 nits and are able to compete with direct sunlight.
  • Wider viewing angle with no glare – As you have experienced at home, LCD is reflective and can only be viewed at certain angles to get a truly clear picture. dvLED does not have reflective properties by its nature and has a wider angle it can be viewed at.
We hope this information gives you an idea of what the future will hold and why the future is direct view LED. We are excited to play a role in the dvLED ecosystem by creating the mounts and structures that are the backbone of creating the seamless experience dvLED offers. Our Convergent series of dvLED mounts are used as a foundation for the construction of these complex and ornate visual arrangements.
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September Product Showcase

September Product Showcase

  Creating quality products, we stand behind with lifetime warranties is why so many integrators and A/V professionals turn to Premier Mounts. Learn more about our latest and greatest products that solve your A/V challenges in our November Product Showcase!

PP-VIB

Vibration Reducing Adapter for Projector Mounts

  • Absorbs vibrations from outside disruptions to keep the display image steady
  • Large rubber dampers absorb shock from outside activities such as slamming doors or equipment motors
  • Adapter includes an integrated coupler that fits any 1.5” NPT pipe (not included)
  • 50 lb weight capacity
List Price: $179


GB-INWAVPB

In-Wall Cable and Gear Power Box for Drywall Installation

  • Cable routing to keep Power and data out of site
  • Room for small media players
  • Can be mounted horizontally or vertically for
  • In wall box allows screen to sit flushed against the wall
  • Power knockouts available to route all power and data into the box
List Price: $84

PP-TL

Ceiling adapter designed for cathedral or vaulted ceilings

  • Weight capacity 150 lb
  • 1.5 in NPT pipe coupler securely connects extension pipes and projector mounts
  • Slotted for safely routing power and signal cables through pipe interior.
  • Tightening screw to secure preferred position
List Price: $99  
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The Education Market for Pro AV Still is Very Uncertain

The Education Market for Pro A/V Still is Very Uncertain

The education market is vitally important to all of us in the Pro A/V industry. It’s a core vertical to our industry growth. Unfortunately, with the onslaught of COVID-19, many verticals are down in growth and revenue, but education is expected to not have the same fate. The general consensus is that because of COVID-19, we will see more capacity for new A/V projects to take place with the absence of students, but there are two sides to every story. In fact, the education market still is one of the most uncertain markets in Pro A/V. First off, the level of students returning to school varies across the board. In some states there is complete closure. In others, states have ordered only hybrid or remote instruction while others leave it to local health authorities to makes a decision which means some schools are open like normal. As AVIXA research has shown, we still are in the 1st wave of COVID 19 so we suspect things to get worse before better, thus 100% remote education in the US is a real possibly. For schools that are opening or doing hybrid learning, they are spending aggressively on technology largely to make sure that students and teachers are safe during their return. Obvious solutions are laptops, video cameras, audio mics and headsets while still common, but not as frequent solutions are thermal scanners, mobile displays, tablets and broadcasting setups. As the need for remote instruction increases it becomes very difficult to find products like cameras, laptops and mics in-stock. So, we see the education market turning to consumer grade solutions because of availability rather than the quality of product, a natural decision point for the times we are in. We have heard in some cases Chromebooks are on backorder until 2021. By turning to consumer products, the Pro A/V industry loses out. A/V projects for non-COVID-19 installations at the K-12 level mostly came to a complete stop in late April. Interactive displays or touchscreens, projectors or direct view LED projects were among those that were put on hold. Some have begun to resume and this holds true for many other traditional AV technology projects like auditoriums, athletic fields, etc. If these projects were in-process previously, they are now being completed, but much of the long-term improvement projects not directly related to COVID are taking a back seat. For tech managers, we have seen them get a lot busier with the pressures to make sure each student has the technology to succeed. Funding seems not to be a concern for implementing these technologies because they are perceived as necessary. The common thread is that when requested, money can be made available. Obviously, some public schools have been hit hard and are choosing to budget A/V implementations, but private and higher ed schools have good funding for projects in general. So, as you can see, there is a lot of uncertainty in the education market. Our goal as an industry should be to support schools the best we can, enabling students through technology to get the best education they possibly can through COVID 19. We look forward to the day when this market and other will begin to normalize.

Direct View LED Installation Tips & Tricks

Direct View LED Videowall Installation Tip & Tricks

While direct view LED installation can sound like an incredibly hard task, there are five factor tips to make your life easier when taking dvLED projects on. From hardware to software, it is critical to pre-plan for as many variables before the project starts to ensure a successful deployment. Get the Correct Tools and Hardware – Having the perfect tools for the job will not only ensure that all the nuts and bolts properly fit, but will save time as installers navigate across the structure as a whole. Know that not all tools are universal. Your standard drill may not have the features needed from an impact driver. (It’s great to have both for direct view LED) Hardware is also a key component to a successful installation. With the wrong hardware, installers cannot successfully install dvLED videowalls. When selecting hardware, ensure that it is rated for the right weight, wall-type, and size to ensure that preventable disasters do not happen. Also make sure the LED and mount came with all the hardware they were supposed to. Knowledge – Many display and mount companies offer installation training that provides installers insight into the intricate facets of their product offerings. Taking the time to learn more, in-depth coverage about direct-view LED products will prevent headaches. Members of Premier Mounts have been through our own video wall mounting training courses as well as courses from various LED manufacturers to understand how components of the whole solution converge together. Understanding the small tips and tricks can save time on site and every installation after becomes much more streamlined. Here at Premier Mounts, we offer a free 1-day direct view LED installation class because learning first-hand from experts is invaluable. Site Conditions – Once you have gained knowledge of the tools and products needed throughout the course of your installation, you must gauge the actual site itself. Taking the time to map out your space allows for you to identify variables that may not have been caught during discussions via emails and phone calls. In the early days of direct view LED, Premier would assist on installs and its shocking the amount of times site conditions were different in person than they were over the phone. When thinking of a video wall, there could be wall unevenness that needs to be tackled from the very beginning. Understanding other variables such as where your power source is or how much plywood you have as a backing could be valuable information that either gets your project started on time or pushed back. Safety Equipment – An installation can only be labeled as a success if there are no injuries on the job. Having the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) will keep installers safe from any hazards that may happen in active construction. Moving at a safe pace will not only protect the hardware being installed but also the installer. Safety equipment such as hardhats, fluorescent vests, and protective eye wear are all essential to prevent on-site accidents. Back braces, thick gloves, and knee pads all ensure long-term care to body parts exposed to high amounts of stress. Installation Kit – This is the most underrated tip. Your toolbox will have all the hardware and tools needed to do your installation, but miscellaneous items like markers, paper, and pens can ensure that you can take accurate notes on the progress of your job site. Water bottles and snacks can also be kept in this kit to keep your body hydrated and fed when long hours are required on-site. It would also not hurt to pack some antiseptic wipes and bandages in this kit as well in the instance of any small scrapes and cuts you may obtain while working. And don’t forget your face mask! When all of these tips are combined you on your way to an installation that will go smooth and successful. For additional training and education on how to properly install direct view LED mounting solutions, check out our installation classes at our Corona, California headquarter