When we hear “Video Wall”, we usually think many big monitors and lots of money to spend. It doesn’t cost a huge amount of money to try digital signage or video walls. If you’ve got or can create content that can pass messages to your customers and drive some sales improvement a small investment can pay back quickly even in very simple implementations. A simple web page of daily or weekly specials isn’t that hard to generate as a start.
Video Walls can start as simple as one small monitor each, and expand to as many locations as you need. Most facilities with successful digital signage grow to many digital signs, each either single monitors or arrays of monitors.
It’s good practice to plan early for success and required future growth, because you don’t want to lock into hard to expand or manage structures for video wall hardware and software from the beginning.
Here’s a simple start: a standard RPT Motion simple rugged signpost mount, designed for wall mounting of one, two or more monitors back to back. Commonly used on ends of aisles or along sides of aisles to highlight and inform.
We’ll use an hypothetical small grocery store as an example, and start with a simple, attractive, rugged and affordable RPT Digital Signpost Mount with two 24″-39″ 1080P monitors of your choice, one on each side in either portrait or landscape. Place it somewhere with traffic, just above a tall head walking past.
There are many ways to drive two monitors at low cost. Example One would be a low end signage player, a Mini Windows 10 PC like an Intel NUC which can drive two monitors, connects to the Internet via WiFi. To keep it low cost, you can then use a free content management system like Rise Vision to prepare, schedule and manage what’s being displayed when and where. There is usually a fan and perhaps other moving parts if you use a hardrive instead of an SSD.
Additionally, there will be inevitable Windows updates and other PC management of the NUC Player, but really not a big deal as you’ve only got one tiny simple PC to add to your thinking. Any updates or maintenance will require a keyboard and a mouse to work, so you’ll need a ladder to connect and update as required.
Windows base players just can’t deal with separate screens, so to stay cheap you’d have to be a bit creative and accept some inconvenience with Rise Vision or other content managers to set up the back to back screens as one Windows desktop and then build your presentations accordingly. Probably just easier to bite the bullet and manage with one Intel NUC player per screen, they’re really not that expensive, just double the number of NUCs and power supplies and put one on each monitor.
The above solution works, is quick, simple, low cost, relatively reliable and also short sighted. It’s hard to manage and hard to grow.
Very few locations have just one aisle or location calling for digital signage, so now let’s deal with the future scenario of ten double sided end of aisle units highlighting specials in each aisle.
Now, you’ve got twenty monitors requiring a different content source for each, in effect twenty small single monitor video walls.
Suddenly you’ve got twenty mini PC’s with power supplies and fans to manage and maintain, hanging up in the air accessing your WiFi with twenty passwords that need changing if you change your router WiFi password. No WiFi connection, no content.
Twenty is a realistic number of screens for a small to medium grocery store with active marketing plans and content, a larger store could eventually swallow a hundred screens with each screen adding sales opportunities every minute of every day. A chain of stores, local, regional or national could have thousand of screens to manage.
You need a simple, reliable and fully scalable solution with a low cost of entry. The good news is that it’s ready for you.
Here’s an affordable reliable starting strategy with unlimited growth potential:
If your content is basically static images or web pages, a single low end Userful Software Video Wall Server, based on standard PC hardware that can cost less than an Intel NUC costs, and can easily feed content to nine 1080P screens via a single Gigabit Ethernet Switch. Two standard Gigabit Ethernet ports wired to each signpost is easy to do, not expensive, easy to manage and very reliable compared to WiFi.
Probably better to spend just a little more and start with the mid-range Userful Software Video Wall Server for better performance, growth potential to forty 1080P monitors and 4K input cards, guarantees the ability to smoothly add more input sources, and smooth video wherever needed for more active and creative promotions.
The Userful Video Wall Server can be located anywhere on the network in your building, so it can be securely locked in an office. The almost unlimited content sources and configurations can be managed by the browser based Userful UCC from any PC, tablet or smartphone on the network, so when those avocados on sale in aisle 7 sell out, it’s easy for the produce manager to bring up the next special sale for aisle 7. Userful’s API allows much more complex scheduling and control, if needed.
Each monitor would have a “no moving parts, and no maintenance” Zero Net Client, which is included in the cost of the USerful license, mounted to the rear of the monitor, drawing just a few watts of power from a monitor USB port or via POE. The Userful Server uses the Zero Client to decode from Ethernet to full 1080P HDMI at the monitor.
You can use your choice of Content Management systems or devise many local only or web strategies to schedule and manage your content and sources, including HDMi inputs if you want to distribute broadcast TV to some signs.
In the future, you might decide to add a few multi-monitor video walls around your store, and that’s no problem because Userful can handle up to 100 monitors per Userful Software Video Wall Server. Just install the monitors, connect Ethernet and add licenses.
Start small, but be smart early and success will come easier and at much lower cost.
Think ahead and plan for success by building unlimited video wall potential with RPT’s Video Wall mounting systems and Userful’s Software Video Wall Server from your first screen.
Contact us by this form to talk about one or many RPT Digital Signpost systems with Userful Server starter package that fits your needs now and can grow with you.