Suchit Rout, director strategic marketing at Barco, tells AVTE why Unisee is "the holy grail" of LCD video wall platforms - providing faster installation and higher reliability than anything seen before it
Barco has been a global leader in professional visualisation technology for many years, offering professional-grade, high-resolution LCD video wall displays.
Buoyed by customer demand, the Belgium firm, which has a regional UK office in Berkshire, has expanded its portfolio, launching Barco UniSee – a “revolutionary” and “game changing” LCD video wall platform providing “faster installation, easier servicing, and higher reliability than anything in the current market.”
What strikes you upon seeing the Barco UniSee video wall in action, is the spectacular image quality. The colours are extremely vibrant, the inter-tile gap is very thin, and there are no differences in brightness to be seen – neither inside the displays nor over the complete wall. But is this enough to call it a “revolution”. Suchit Rout, Director strategic marketing at Barco, tells us more.
What was your objective when starting with this product?
You just mentioned the improvements in image quality, but the most exciting innovations are actually under the hood. There’s a completely new mounting system that makes installation and maintenance a lot easier. We’ve also made the system modular, to make upgrades and replacements easier. So basically, we have redesigned the whole concept of the LCD video wall.
Over the last ten years or so, this market has seen little innovation. Although customers were in need of major improvements, manufacturers contented themselves with raising the resolution a bit, and reducing the inter-tile gap little by little. Everybody knew there were quite some issues with the products – including colorations towards the edges of the panels, difficulties when setting up large installations, and limited lifetime – but these seemed to be neglected as being “the typical drawbacks of working with LCD”. We noticed that we could do better, so we started tabula rasa and tried to overcome all the issues LCD video walls had. And we succeeded. After years of baby-step improvements, we now take a giant leap forward.
What strikes me is the extremely narrow gap between the tiles…
Indeed, reducing this gap has been the ‘holy grail’ of LCD video walls, and we have further perfected it. There is no bezel at all, and the black lines are so thin that you can actually use the entire wall to spread any content – including numbers. This makes it the perfect video wall for many applications, including meeting rooms. In order to guarantee this tiny gap, it wasn’t enough to eliminate the bezel. We have designed a completely new mounting structure to pull this off.
Why the need for a new mounting structure?
Two reasons actually. First of all, when dealing with bezel-less LCD panels, you need to be particularly careful not to damage the edges. So we needed a system that makes the panels touch (to ensure the smallest gap), while not put too much force on the edges. We came up with a very innovative (patented) system that uses the power of gravity to make the panels gently touch.
The second reason is for installation and maintenance purposes. The traditional mountings for LCD video walls were actually designed to keep a single panel in place. They can be perfectly used for small installations, but from the moment you want to install a 3x3 wall or higher, you run into problems. The installation complexity then rises exponentially, because the mounts can only be approached from the sides. In order to align the inner modules, you constantly need to take the displays out to adjust – which is mainly a blind operation. Ensuring a small gap then becomes extremely difficult. Our system was designed to eliminate this problem. Furthermore, servicing and replacing the inner panels becomes really simple, needing only a simple wrench.
You mentioned Barco UniSee being a modular platform. Why is that?
The power supplies, input boards, and software platform are not integrated into the LCD panel but are external – attached to the mount or stored in a rack. This not only allows faster servicing and diagnosing, but also makes sure the system can be easily upgraded to include future standards and technologies without the need to disconnect and rewire cables.
What’s your target market?
Barco UniSee is ideally suited to offer visualisation support in the enterprise market. Its excellent features – including a typical brightness of 800 NIT, giving you the power needed to optimise the video wall’s ergonomics to any lighting conditions, and a screen haze level of only 44 percent to minimise ambient reflections – makes the video wall perfect for use in corporate lobbies, control rooms, executive boardrooms, experience centres and branded showrooms.
Who are the main competitors?
Although Barco UniSee differs from the existing market offering on so many levels, it is essentially an LCD video wall. However, the impressive image quality, ease of installation, high reliability, and so many more features, will answer the needs of many customers. I can only give the advice to come and see the platform for yourself. We have a partner model including distributors and resellers that have been trained to sell and install the Barco UniSee solution and its modules.
For further details, go to: www.barco.com/unisee