DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, MI, recently worked with JANUS Displays to build out their digital signage presence and utilize digital signage as part of their state-of-the-art conference and events facility. Over the past two years, DeVos Place and JANUS have worked together to add a number of event directories throughout their facility, as well as interactive information boards for high traffic areas.
The interactive boards provide visitors with a variety of information including dining recommendations, mapping to local businesses and places of interest, and includes an interactive facility map with wayfinding directions. By following the directions provided by the interactive screen, visitors can find amenities within the facility, or locate their conference and meeting venues. Once the visitor has made their way to their event location, pre-function event directories confirm the details of current and upcoming events.
The next phase of the DeVos Place upgrade was to make public entrance areas and high-traffic walkways both more appealing and more revenue-focused. The resulting project called for an array of new-generation technology including a long, wide 1×8 video wall above a walkway, a 16 screen 4×4 video wall in the main entrance, and several other video walls throughout the facility.
The benefits of such investments for DeVos Place are significant. First and foremost, the facility is a cultural hub for the community, as well as a revenue producer for the local economy, bringing in business travelers for conferences and events. The importance of DeVos Place in the city means that the facility generates high volumes of traffic. Naturally enough, this traffic translates into advertising and promotional opportunities.
In addition to these revenue generating opportunities, cutting-edge technology builds the DeVos Place brand and adds to the prestige of the facility. Finally, the digital signage network within the facility allows DeVos Place management the ability to communicate with their guests quickly and efficiently.
Both the 1×8 and the 4×4 video walls utilize the award-winning JWC Video Wall Controller. The JWC has been designed specifically for the demands of larger video wall configurations and includes video card and driver technology developed specifically for the task. The system is driven by high-end Intel processors. One of the primary features of this controller is that it has an output capacity of up to 25 screens, each with a unique cable run.
For the 4×4 video wall, the configuration includes 16 55” Philips Video Wall screens with ultra-narrow bezels (1.2mm) and great commercial features such as 24/7 run time and 178 degree view angle technology. Each screen receives its own signal via a CAT 6 extender, running from the controller, stored in a nearby IDF closet. Because each screen is receiving its own 1080P signal directly from the controller, the video wall can display in true 8K resolution.
The 1×8 video wall uses similar technology, and both video walls utilize the unique content capabilities of the JANUS Vizia software solution to distribute a wide range of content, including advertising, live TV, upcoming and current event information or local weather forecasts. In the case of video walls, all of these may be displayed at the same time on different areas of the wall!
In contrast, DeVos Place utilizes the ease and reliability of daisy chained 2×2 video walls in other high-traffic walkways throughout their facility. The daisy chain method of signal transfer pushes a signal from the controller to Screen A, which then sends the signal on to Screen B, then so on through the screens. This method is easier to install, less expensive and also allows for a smaller controller, which can be situated locally, thereby removing the need for cable extenders and further reducing cost while improving reliability.
Site Survey and Installation – Velociti
The installation of the digital signage was conducted by Velociti, a company with extensive experience in digital signage installation solutions. The site survey focused primarily on the installation solution for the 4×4 video wall. The 4×4 video wall is attached to a brick wall that is on a 5 degree gradient from bottom to top. The mounting system needed to compensate for that slope, in order to show the screens in an upright, vertical position. Additionally, brick is a brittle material that needs to be carefully handled when drilling mounts.
The 1×8 horizontal video wall is also in an unusual location, attached to a walkway above the main entrance. This is a unique, highly visible location and required robust structures, precise calculations and vigilance when installing the screens and peripherals.
As with every project, special care needs to be given to a number of other critical aspects, including the placement and installation of the power, data and video cables for the large volume of screens being used in the project. Often we need to run cable in difficult places, behind thick walls and hard-to-reach spaces! Our experience in digital signage means we have both the skill and industry knowledge to use the best products, tools and techniques to achieve excellent outcomes.
Upon completion of installation, the project continued with training and some onsite configuration. Additionally, JANUS worked with DeVos Place to iron out remaining performance challenges and get the system running efficiently. Most of these changes were conducted by one of our Product Specialists remotely, meaning we could be fast and minimize the impact of implementation challenges on our client and their customers. A system of this type needs ongoing support, as new content ideas come up or hardware needs attention. JANUS continues to regularly work with DeVos Place, to ensure they are getting the best from their system.
The JANUS Displays digital signage system at DeVos Place helps thousands of guests navigate 162,000 square feet of floor space each year, for hundreds of events. The new video wall system helps the facility drive revenue, build appeal to corporate customers and helps guests have a fantastic experience at the beautiful and important Grand Rapids cultural hub.