A lot of the larger LED companies – particularly ones from China – have been going after the control room market with its finest pitch LED product, the thinking being large public and private companies might have deeper pockets than retail and other vertical industries.
But it looks like a U.S.-based manufacturer has bagged the largest command and control display job to date – a 32-meter wide screen that monitors rail operations around Sydney, Australia.
The new Sydney Trains Rail Operations Centre (ROC) has a huge 1.6mm pitch NanoLumens display that allows the new control center’s staff to visually monitor and track all 178 stations on the Sydney Trains rail network. The job was done by Australian integration firm Critical Room Solutions (CRS) and technology consultant Digital Place Solutions (DPS).
“Sydney Trains was initially looking at a cube wall for this installation because that is what they used in prior control centres,” says John Kimenkowski, Technical Supervisor at CRS. “We presented the option of LED display technology for several reasons and, once we made that pitch, NanoLumens quickly became the solutions provider of choice. From initial inception, concept proof and demonstration, to manufacture and installation, the process has been relatively short at just over 12 months.”
The wall provides an entire display resolution of 19,200 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels high, equivalent to 20 windows of native Full HD resolution or 5 windows of 4K resolution.
“Our new Rail Operations Centre is more than bricks and mortar, it’s a symbol about how we operate trains and provide real time customer information to improve the customer experience,” says Tony Eid, Sydney Trains Executive Director. “For the first time in our history we have managed to bring together and consolidate multiple control centres in the one location.”
The rail network was previously run out of six different locations. The new command and control center will come online in 2019. The NanoLumens’ press release suggests this is the largest control display out there, to date, though I will caution there may well be something, somewhere, in China, that’s actually larger.
This isn’t digital signage, really, but interesting because it shows that fine pitch LED is at a level of granularity and clarity that the fine detail required by operations centers can be shown on something other than LCD or display cubes. It can work because the wall is so big that the ops desks are set back to a distance where the eye doesn’t see the tiny gaps between the LEDs and the visuals look tight. That matters for things like the numbers and text typically needed on a control room display.
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.