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LED-ing from the front

Installation editor Rob Lane speaks to Stuart Holmes about the recent partnership with Sharp/NEC, life as part of Midwich and the future after Covid

The recent Sharp/NEC announcement extends PSCo’s LED expertise further. Tell me about how it came about and what it means for PSCo
The partnership with Sharp/NEC simply expands and enhances our LED offering to provide greater choice for our customers – which we believe can only be a good thing.

For more than 10 years, the Midwich Group has had an established relationship with NEC which spans multiple technology platforms already, including large format displays and interactive solutions like the InfinityBoard. 

Having evolved to the point that it is perfectly packaged for the wider market, we felt it was the right time to add NEC LED to our portfolio. 

As well as being a fully accredited NEC service provider, we are confident that our channel partners will get the finest buying experience through PSCo, which is bolstered with a raft of trade-only support services to help ensure they get the most out of their LED deployment. 

It’ll be 6 years in April since Midwich acquired PSCo. How have the last few years been for you and how does it compare with your pre-Midwich days?

Since joining the Midwich Group, we’ve secured bigger projects, larger premises and a broader offering, while keeping the same level of personal service. It has also enabled us to have closer collaboration with other Midwich companies including Holdan (broadcast), Sound Technology (audio) and Invision (cinema) – all represented at Innovation House. For example, we are currently working with Holdan on streaming live events by combining their broadcast capabilities with PSCo’s LED offering. Again, this allows us to broaden our offering to our customers.      

How has Covid affected your business, and what have you done to try to mitigate what is a very difficult situation for everyone?
It’s no surprise that the pandemic has impacted our business. We have had to make some structural changes – especially on the rental side, which has been most heavily impacted. However, we are very optimistic about the future. We have used the time to rebuild our Experience Centre at Innovation House and we invested in making it as Covid-safe as possible, which will allow for us to host visitors in small groups to showcase the latest technologies from our vendors. With the government announcing its roadmap out of lockdown, we now have some solid dates to work towards and we cannot wait to welcome visitors to Innovation House. 

Where do you see the LED market now and in the future?
There are more possibilities with LED now. It has become a mainstream option that’s no longer reserved for outdoor advertising or elite indoor applications. As the price for LED continues to fall and the reliability and performance of LED keeps improving, we see no limit to where and how it can be deployed in the future. You only need to look to China to see the potential. They have entire buildings wrapped in LED that light up city skylines at night. 

Anything is possible thanks to the advancements in video processing and content production, but the pace of change is fast and constant, especially with LED, so it can be difficult to keep up. Here at PSCo, LED is a passion of ours and for anyone considering this technology for their business, we are pleased to be able to offer expert technical advice and support.


What plans have you and Midwich got for the business?
Internationally, Midwich continues to strengthen its footprint and we have recently entered the Middle East market with the acquisition of NMK Group, a value-added distributor of AV products in the UAE and Qatar.

Here in the UK, we are very excited about launching Innovation House – our new state-of-the-art experience, training and event centre in Bracknell. This unique space will bring vendors and the channel together to create a new destination for the AV industry. There will be more than 200 products showcased from over 50 leading manufacturers across 15 different technology zones. 

Customers will be able to see four LED manufacturers, including NEC Sharp, displayed within the centre, allowing for side-by-side comparisons, which is not possible anywhere else apart from perhaps ISE. 

We’re really excited about this new facility and we can’t wait to tell you more.