The giant Utama 1 Shopping Centre in suburban Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is either the 4th or 6th or 7th largest mall on the planet, with 5 million square feet of space and a lot of people coming in the doors each day.
The mall operator has been running a mall-wide digital signage network for the last 10 years, selling display “airtime” to mall tenants and 3rd-party advertisers. That network has now been upgraded, using new displays, industrial PCs and a video over IP set-up to push content to 60+ displays.
“We were invited to submit our proposal for a new network in the center, and unlike other AV vendors that submitted plans with individual signage players per display or extender, and sharing content via splitters, we proposed that we install a seamless Gefen Video Over IP solution,” says Jeffrey Yip Sau Chuen of JD Molecule. “Our clients at the shopping center were delighted to learn about this new technology. We were asked to provide a proof of concept for a minimum of one month, and the rest is history.”
The goal of the project, says a Gefen press release, was to deploy a digital signage information network that would allow the client to sell airtime to tenants and external advertisers, as well as easily relay updates and events happening within the center. The centre’s requirement was that the management team needed to be able to seamlessly send content from one location without tedious and exhaustive oversight. “They wanted to sell ad space on the displays to stores within the mall without the headache of constantly monitoring it,” Chuen explains. “They wanted a system that was easy-to-use, simple in infrastructure, and did not require any extensive cabling. The system that my team put in place checked all of these boxes.”
For the AV nerds: the team installed sixty 50” Panasonic TH-50LFE7 displays, one Gefen Video Over IP Sender (EXT-HD2IRS-LAN-TX), one Gefen Video Over IP Receiver (EXT-HD2IRS-LAN-RX), one Avaya Gigabit Network Switch, and one industrial grade PC accessible only to the center’s maintenance team. The newly-implemented Video over IP solution enables the distribution of content to new and formerly unreachable areas of the shopping center.
The mega-mall plans to install a large scale video wall by the end of Q3, running off the same IP system.
Sprinkling portrait-mode display around a giant mall will not send the pulses of the retail design and experiential crowd racing, but these things are there with a defined purpose of tenant marketing, subsidized by advertising. These things tend make rounding error money for the mall operators, but I’m guessing the ad buys cover the cost and then some.