Many consumer brands are looking to increase the number of ways in which they can interact with current and prospective future customers. In the automotive world, an increasingly popular approach is the brand experience centre – and one of the first of these was Mercedes-Benz World outside Weybridge, 40km south-west of London. Located by the former Brooklands motor racing circuit, the three-storey Mercedes-Benz World is more than just a car showroom: it arranges driving experiences; it is a museum of the brand, featuring numerous road and racing cars from throughout its history; it hosts car-related events throughout the year; and it is available for corporate hire.
The facility opened in 2006, but recently Mercedes-Benz World refreshed its display technology by entering into a commercial agreement with LG; the manufacturer has become the official supplier of displays for the facility. The agreement runs for a number of years, giving the opportunity for joint planned development until at least 2017.
As you enter Mercedes-Benz World, your eyes are immediately drawn to a large videowall directly in front of you. This is a 4x4 array of 47in LED displays: high-brightness models were chosen because there is a lot of ambient light in this airy, glass building.
“There's a real wow factor from the videowall,” says Harold de Vries, head of B2B and IT solutions marketing at LG. “It's well aligned, well mounted, the cabling is neat, and looks good from all angles, not just from the front.” Solutions Audio Visual was chosen as systems integrator, and the company worked with Peerless on the mounting solutions.
A step up
Peter Bayley, technical sales engineer at LG, remarks that the new screens are a great improvement on the previous supplier and integrator; the previous videowall had not been installed well, and there were colour balance issues across the individual displays.
LG displays are everywhere you look in the facility: there are two more videowalls, this time in a 3x3 configuration, on the upper floors; there are displays mounted in a triangular configuration onto poles (this features a Peerless mount on a Unicol pole), and there are numerous single 42in and 55in displays and 29in desktop monitors around the building. The number of different models has been deliberately kept low to create a uniform ambience.
One interesting mounting challenge is above the Driving Experience reception. Here, a straight line of five 42in displays has been mounted onto a curved wall. “The curvature of the wall changed mid-project,” explains de Vries.
In the event of any display-related issues, speed of response is important – not just because Mercedes-Benz is a premium brand, but because the issues could affect one of the events taking place at the venue. “If a problem were to occur with one of the screens we would come out – probably with Solutions AudioVisual – to diagnose it. We would generally have some idea from the phone conversation what the problem was, but if it could not be addressed straight away we would swap the display out and look into the issue back at base.” It helps that LG is based just a few miles away in Slough.
The facility uses a third party to manage media players and content. A default playlist is updated once a month, but this is typically amended several times a week to reflect the various events that take place there.
Elliott Fletcher, who works in digital marketing and PR for Mercedes-Benz World, comments: “We saw an improvement on the previous supplier straight away - and more so in the more recent second phase of the project. Both companies are at the forefront of creating an expectation of high quality.”
So, what is next? Mercedes-Benz World is working on interactive 4K content for the videowall and for some 84in touchscreens - probably based around the theme of Formula One racing. Further ahead, it is expected that the layout will change as the facility's functions develop, and LG will supply further displays to meet the requirements.