[Brad Gallagher] As a part of our deeper dive into Collaborative spaces, we are looking at Collaborative Video Wall Display Systems and their impact on the surrounding architecture. I reached out to Chris Lookenott for some insight. Chris is the National Sales Training & Product Specialist for Planar Systems, a leading manufacturer of Video Wall display products.
Chris provided some great perspective into current Video Wall Design trends and examples related to actual spaces. First we cover the overall trends, then at the end of the article, you will get to see some of the concepts in practice, with photos and notes from actual installations. Hope you enjoy.
BG [Brad Gallagher]- What are the top trends that you see in the move away from presentation and towards collaboration.
CL [Chris Lookenott]
Incorporation of large touch/non-touch 4k displays with the ability to view & collaborate with multiple sources at the same time.
Second Screen control and/or interaction from a mobile device.
Addition of annotation features being added to word processing and presentation software (i.e. Word, powerpoint, etc).
Increasing use of gesture-based collaboration software such as Bluescape.
The increasing use of non-traditional aspect touch video walls arrays in collaboration spaces that allow for simultaneous interaction from multiple users.
BG – How do these trends affect the architecture of these facilities?
CL – In general touch displays are, by nature, thicker than traditional displays. With the ADA requirements in place, project designers must take the display depth into consideration and either utilize a touch display that is ADA compliant (mounted depth <4”) or recess the display in the wall.
If the designers choose the latter, recessed installs, additional considerations must be taken into account such as display ventilation and placement of power receptacles; either of which can limit the life of the display if done incorrectly. ADA as it relates to touch could be an article on its own.
The additional components required for some of the functionality I mentioned earlier tend to either live at the display, in an equipment area up to 500’ away or in the cloud. Regardless of the medium or location, considerations still have to be taken.
In particular, adequate bandwidth needs to be allocated for the application, compatible backend computer hardware needs to be selected (CPU and GPU), transport for digital video signals as well as touch interfaces (usually USB) is required and control/video inputs need to be integrated into the space.
In terms of touch video walls, it’s important to consider the depth as I mentioned previously but also the size and shape of the touch tiled video wall. Due to the fact that tiled touch walls can be up to 40 feet wide and allow for several users to concurrently interact 2 main factors come in to play that must be considered.
1. The number of concurrent touch users
A. The touch mechanism must be able to handle the needed amount of touches required at a single moment in time (i.e. Multitouch vs Dual Touch)
B. The software must be capable of registering the amount of needed touches. If a tiled array supports 32 touch points but the software supports 2, the wall will only have 2 points of touch.
2. Aspect Ratio effects on Touch environments.
A. With Multi-touch tiled video walls is very common to go outside of a common aspect ratio, i.e 16:9, and the result is the need for multi-head output cards to drive the appropriate resolution.
B. In the past each video output from a computer resulted in a new extended desktop or a mirrored image. With touch however you can only have 1 touch desktop active at one time. Luckily with today’s video cards you can take the aggregate resolution of all video outputs and combine them into 1 desktop but you have to use the correct video card. This is one of the most common mistakes made today in collaborative touch spaces.
Next week, in Part 2, Chris will show us some examples of these trends from actual case studies of finished installations. Until then, you can check out our previous article on Ways that Your VideoWall might become a Disaster, or Download our Handy Guide for architects, owners, and technologists from the link below.