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The Evolution of Video Walls

A stacked number of projection cubes, LED tiles, or LCD panels are referred to as Video wall. It is also called overview display, large display, media wall or backdrop in the broadcast applications. In integration with a proper image processing system, this physically separated array of multiple monitors acts logically as one large screen.

Unlike single monitors, combining screens together forms one large wall with a greater number of pixels equals the sum of each individual screen resolution. That allows a larger picture size and a larger amount of data that can’t be fitted in one monitor.

The evolution of large displays went through different phases. Historically, in process management as an example, the operator had to go around each part of the plant, look and investigate every component’s status to ensure the entire system’s functionality.

To overcome these challenges, the first attempts were to gather all that instruments and switches at one location where both information and interaction were combined in the same piece of hardware, which allowed the operator to control the entire process from one common location with direct feedback on the status at the field.

Passing by the development of chart recorders and alarm enunciators allowed us to overview historical trends. With the introduction of computers, it became possible to distribute wall panels onto several process graphics handled by several operators. So, the overview is now lost again. If a critical incident happens, with the limited number of operators screens, it was difficult to navigate to find the required information and act timely. The introduction of electronic visualization panels overcame those shortcomings, and operators could get a clear overview of the entire process.

Nowadays, the main purpose of a large display in the control room is to provide operators with true situational awareness and a common picture. Real-time information from computers, video, security cameras, etc., may be simultaneously shown and shared.

This enables and promotes informed decision making on a unified level which is always important for mission-critical operations in today’s fast-paced organizations and industry, including Utilities, Transportation, Emergency Operations, Management & Response, Command & Control, Security & Surveillance and Telecommunications & Network Operations.

In conclusion, Video walls have several distinct attributes and advantages, with image display capability and flexibility that simply cannot be achieved otherwise. However, the capital investment for video walls nearly always faces heavy scrutiny, so it is important to sensibly identify and specify the video wall system requirements for every project upfront. With proper consideration for environmental and human factors, and effectively designed video wall system ensures viewing comfort and optimal accessibility for everyone in the room. This, in turn, helps to maximize the cost-effectiveness of the initial investment.

April 18, 2021
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