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Opinion: Large-format LED is evolving

The emerging new opportunities are exciting for integrators, says Brice McPheeters, director of customer experience at NanoLumens

Until recently, the large-scale roll-out of LED displays into diverse, multi-location retail and other enterprise operations has been fairly uncommon. End-users in these spaces have traditionally opted for LCD technology instead of LED because it is (typically) less expensive up front and more widely available as an off-the-shelf commodity. Additionally, because customers are generally somewhat familiar with LCD technology, they often are not interested in bringing on professional integrators to assist them. These customers feel comfortable enough with LCD tech – perhaps from their experience with LCD TV screens in their own homes – that they don’t deem it necessary to contract outside help. That’s a critical missed opportunity for integrators, but fortunately for them the tide is turning. LCD technology may be more common now, but LED display solutions are where the industry is quickly turning its focus, and for good reason.

Studies have shown that LED display solutions are far and away the most effective and efficient display medium. Notably, the US Small Business Association published a report declaring that in terms of cost per thousand impressions, LED displays blew competition out of the water. Unlike LCD screens, LED displays are not frequently found inside the home, meaning customers are likely to be a bit less fluent in how to design, install, and operate this sort of tech. That’s a boon for integrators, who will now find their services in high demand for any enterprise looking to roll out LED display solutions throughout their operation. As the stellar reputation of LED displays proliferates and pixel pitches shrink to optimise for the close quarters of retail and other enterprise locations, organisations will opt for LED instead of LCD and integrators will reap the benefits.

Service-based purchasing

This turn to LED for enterprise-wide roll-outs is furthered by the emergent popularity of service-based purchasing structures. By adapting purchasing models to let end-users pay for LED technology on an affordable monthly subscription basis, LED display manufacturers have made their products exponentially easier to acquire. So not only are LED displays more popular than ever due to the increasing awareness and progression of their technological superiority, they are also becoming more accessible than ever before. As mentioned earlier, this deeper and wider customer pool for LED display manufacturers will translate to lucrative business opportunities for integrators. And pleasingly, these benefits will extend well beyond the initial sale.

The aforementioned service-based selling structures are long-term arrangements by nature. In order to generate value from the sale, sellers need their customers to keep paying for the service. The manufacturers who provide these services therefore have a fundamental interest in making sure that the service(s) they provide are consistently exceptional. With regard to LED display technology, this materialises in the form of display network management, support and upgrade offerings. This is yet another area where integrators can profit. Not only are more businesses now able to afford LED displays, but they will also consistently be in need of display integration services as their display solutions are adjusted, upgraded or moved over time.

What’s good for display manufacturers is typically good for the integrators who specialise in, well, integrating those displays, so the growth of a particular display technology is obviously going to bring new opportunities to integration experts. This is not a particularly groundbreaking observation; however, the takeaway here is instead that the ascent of LED display technologies as a viable solution for enterprise-wide roll-outs is something integrators need to recognise and champion. As the manufacture of LED display technology streamlines, its reputation grows, and its sales transition to service-based models to become more accessible for large-scale roll-outs, integration experts will be one of the direct beneficiaries. LED is evolving. Since integrators project to profit from this evolution, they would do well to understand and analyse why and how it’s happening.