What is in many cases the first (physical) visual contact point between your company and a customer? Your corporate lobby! It is therefore an excellent opportunity to bring your company’s values and messages to life. It is also the place that most employees pass when entering and exiting the office, which makes it the best possible location to inform your staff. Whether you are looking to invite, inspire or inform, an eye-catching video wall is a must in your corporate lobby. In this article, we’ll take a look at the most important requirements for corporate lobby video walls, and which technology best suits your particular case.
Arguably the most important thing to consider, is what exactly you want to do with the visualization in your corporate lobby. Do you want a ‘Welcome lobby’ and display basic content to inform employees or welcome visitors? Or maybe you’re looking for a ‘Branding lobby’ to create an inspiring experience to reflect the high standards of your brand? Or rather a ‘Townhall lobby’ that serves as the heart of the company, with the function to discover, present and collaborate? If it’s all about information, then a tiled LCD or direct-view LED wall are the best choices. Both are excellent to display any type of content, from plain text to colorful videos. Furthermore, they are very flexible in size and can vary from small to very large. Especially with LED panels, you can also create more artistic shapes, so you are not tight to the traditional flat, rectangular canvas. Because LED tiles are available in multiple pixel pitches, you can even adjust the video wall to the expected viewing distance.
Traditional projection on a projection screen is slightly less suited for corporate lobbies, because these are typical environments with a lot of people walking by. When passing close by the projection screen they will cast shadows, which is undesirable.
However, when informing is not your main objective and you fully aim to impress, then you can consider projection mapping. Especially for large corporate lobbies, this can be a spectacular solution!
Some corporate lobbies have few windows and rely fully on artificial lighting, while others are surrounded by glass and bring all possible daylight in. This is an important parameter to consider when selecting a visualization solution, because the brightness of the display always needs to outshine the ambient light. When you only need to consider artificial lighting it’s easy, because you are in full control of the lighting condition. The lighting levels will not vary that much and be consistent in the day and the evening. All technologies are therefore suited.
Lobbies that bring full daylight in, however, are more challenging. There is a big difference between a bright summer’s day and a winter’s evening, and the video wall needs to be able to handle these extremes.
Projection is typically not that suited to be used in daylight conditions. Only the most powerful projectors will still cast acceptable images, but these bulky devices are not that ‘lobby-friendly’.
For both LCD and LED, there are models that produce sufficient brightness to be used in daylight conditions. Especially direct-view LED modules are perfect for use in bright environments. They have the highest light output, but by using Barco’s InfinipixTM image processing, can also be dimmed to much lower brightness levels without handing in on brilliance and colors.
A challenge for some video walls, is to adapt to the actual lighting conditions. Ideally, the video wall dims when the ambient lighting goes down. This is not only much more energy-efficient than blasting at full power at any time, but is also better ergonomically. For both LCD and LED, Barco has proprietary solutions that enable smooth dimming. For direct-view LED we have a scheduler on the Infinipix image processor that can be used to program the brightness throughout the day. Or even better: using the optional NS100 light sensor, the video wall automatically adjusts to the most convenient brightness setting at any moment. The unique Sense X automatic brightness and color calibration system is the technology that regulates the brightness for LCD displays.
Next to the overall ambient lighting conditions, also the positioning of the light sources is important. There is a big difference between LCD, LED and projection when it comes to reflections.
First of all, there are two dominant types of reflection: specular and diffuse (Lambertian). The first is the one we know from a mirror: the light comes in and is reflected for 100% into one direction. Diffuse reflection is exactly opposite: the light is reflected equally into ALL directions. A piece of white paper is an example of a diffuse reflector.
LCD video walls act most like a specular reflector. This means that a clever way of positioning the lamp points is needed. In most cases, this is not a big issue: just make sure the lamps are not directed towards the video wall, and most interference will be blocked. Direct view LED, on the other hand, acts like a diffuser, so the positioning of the lighting doesn’t matter. For these video walls, the rule is: the darker the room, the better the contrast.
For projection, the reflection depends on the projection screen (or surface). High-gain screens enable brighter images, but also suffer more from light reflections. This means you should carefully consider reflections before buying your projection screen.
The previous chapters primarily discussed the physical features of the corporate lobby. But the content you want to use on the video wall is of course to be considered as well. Is this content static, remaining constant for long periods of time? Then go for projection or LED, because LCD has a slight chance to suffer burn-in effects – although this issue is much less than say 10 years ago.
If your content is predominantly black, then LED is probably the best choice, because of the excellent contrast this technology provides.
There is no such thing as ’the best visualization technology’. It all depends on your application, content and budget to determine which best suits your needs.
Direct-view LED is versatile, bright, and offers great contrast. This makes it a very good choice for use in lobbies. The traditional drawback of LED is the budget, but the prices have dropped significantly over the past few years and LED is now in range for most companies.
Tiled LCD is another excellent contestant. If the content changes sufficiently, LCD video walls will light up any corporate lobby. The seams between the walls, however small they may be, is something to consider.
Projection is not used that often in corporate lobbies, and this is mainly due to practical reasons. First of all, there are shadows cast whenever people walk in between the screen and the projector. Projection is also not suited for use in all lighting conditions. Projection mapping, however, creates great opportunities in some specific cases.