In the first two parts of our videowalls feature we asked whether integrators could capitalise on market growth, we then looked at the advantages of partnership working. Here we conclude with some advice from the industry on ensuring smooth and profitable installations.
So what is the industry’s advice to integrators looking to ensure their videowall projects are profitable?
“Identifying the needs of the customer from the beginning is imperative,” claims Enrique Robledo, European marketing manager for display products at Panasonic. “For example, image is critical for a retailer’s business. That will determine the kind of displays that should be configured, the kind of mounting solution that’s required, the degree of reliability and maintainability that are necessary – and those requirements will be different in other environments.”
“The complexities associated with visualisation solution installations can be addressed with a strong project plan,” says Jeff Crowley, VP of global channel sales for NanoLumens. “There have been instances, for example, where massive projects have been held up due to the install team showing up to the work site without the proper tools or they realise power isn’t available where the display is being mounted. This is simply due to poor planning.”
There are other potential pitfalls beyond lack of tools or power.
“We always suggest checking each videowall panel as it arrives, rather than leaving it until you are on site and about to begin the build to unbox them all,” notes Chris Ault, reseller account manager, LG Electronics UK. “Although they are handled with care, one small artefact in a display will affect the whole wall and will set you back during a mission-critical installation. Doing a test rig before the real installation begins also ensures that everyone is clear on the process and their role within it, which will ultimately save time during the real thing.
“LG products all come with shock indicators on boxes which if green show that no lateral movement has occurred during shipping,” he adds. “If this has turned red however, it is an easy indicator that the content needs to be checked.”
“I’d always recommend getting the manufacturer involved in the installation as this takes away the risk from the integrator,” adds Steve Scorse, VP EMEA at SiliconCore. “A videowall will only look its best if it is perfectly installed. If you haven’t worked with a specific manufacturer or technology before, it is very easy to underestimate the amount of time it will take, or make mechanical errors in the alignment – both of which will be detrimental to the quality of the installation.”
“Many integrators may not consider that the choice of mount could make a significant difference to their business, and may even leave this decision to the last minute,” continues Gordon Dutch, Peerless-AV managing director. “However, at Peerless-AV, we believe our solutions will deliver noticeable benefits and we work closely with integrators to ensure the highest standard of support is delivered so they can trust us again and again.”
Reflex technical sales manager, Graham Kirkpatrick summarises his company’s approach.
“Careful attention to all the details of the pre-sales design, followed by good project management in delivering the solution, should prevent situations where an integrator loses money,” he says. “The technologies used to deliver the solutions and the technical knowledge and knowhow of the integrator should offer opportunities to create sufficient margins. Working with content creation partners is also vital, in our experience: content has become king in videowall solutions, and can sometimes equal or even exceed the technology costs.”
The industry seems clear. Making a profitable business in the videowall market has nothing to do with gross margins, and everything to do with potential errors in specification and problems with installation and commissioning – errors and problems that can easily turn what should have been a profitable project into a loss-maker. The good news is: there are manufacturers and distributors out there only too willing to help integrators ensure they get it right. It just needs integrators to tap into that invaluable resource.
The second-richest man in America, and the 20th century’s most successful investor, is Warren Buffett. He’s worth more than $70 billion. If anyone should know something about profit, it’s Buffet – which is why it’s worth paying heed to one of his many pithy, insightful sayings: “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing”.