There’s nothing about this installation that’s going to set hearts racing, but it’s a vivid example of how direct view LED is starting to supplant LCD when it comes to video walls.
Calgary-based DIRTT Environmental Solutions, which makes pre-fabricated workplace interiors, has switched out the 2×4 LCD video wall matrix that was in the lobby of its Chicago Green Learning Center with a NanoLumens NanoSlim Engage 1.8mm LED wall.
“DIRTT is committed to going beyond the conventional when it comes to offering their corporate clients interior design solutions that combine cutting edge technology with cost-effective, easy-to-install and maintain interiors,” says Dan Rossborough, NanoLumens Director of Strategic Projects. “They knew that, from a visual perspective, the era of LCD video walls was over. The future belongs to fine pitch LED solutions, if a way could be found to integrate them into DIRTT’s interior wall design.”
The new 12.5-foot by 6.3-foot wall is a good little arrangement for Atlanta-based Nano, as DIRTT uses the learning center as a showcase for current and prospective clients. “We can demo our proprietary ICE software, which is used to design interior spaces, for clients,” says DIRTT’s Bryan Sipes. “We can also use the display to show PowerPoint presentations, marketing material through BrightSign, or even play music videos using AppleTV when we have parties in the showroom. It’s used for everything!”
Beyond the regular arguments for LED over LCD walls – no seams, brightness, etc – Sipes says another big attraction was the ability to design the display to a specific size and snug it into a shallow wall cavity. “We were able to design the wall specifically for the display using our ICE software,” Sipes says. “When it arrived from our factory we had a perfectly tight opening for the NanoSlim Engage display, so it actually looks like it is part of the physical wall instead of a screen set inside. Additionally, the 1.8MM pixel pitch allows for close viewing without the image being pixelated, which was a huge benefit when we had 250 people in the showroom to watch the Belmont Stakes in June.”
DIRTT and NanoLumens have developed a strategic alliance, and the design company plans to put similar displays in its other showrooms around the globe.
LED walls are substantially more expensive, still, than narrow bezel LCD walls of the same dimension – but the display guys all see that shift happening because of the lack of seams and the ability for LED cut through midday sun in places like office lobbies.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.