Video walls are growing at a 23.8-percent CAGR, according to Zion Market’s 2017 research report. That staggering number is driven by users’ need to stand out, engage and attract attention, according to Daniel Griffin, Userful’s VP of Marketing.
“As more screens are out there, in order to catch attention and engage an audience, people realize single screens aren’t enough and that has helped drive the huge growth in video walls,” Griffin said.
He does not expect this strong growth trajectory to slow down anytime soon.
“There’s no doubt that there’s enough demand out there that everyone in the digital signage industry needs to ensure they have a strong video wall offering that is feature-ful, scalable and flexible,” he said. “The growth numbers make it clear that people are turning to video walls in a very significant way.”
Griffin said video walls have even become a requirement for many big spaces, such as airports, malls, arenas and stadiums. However, Userful is also seeing more immersion in smaller spaces.
“Video walls are horizontal, so in many ways, they fit into about any digital signage use case. Even where singles screens are being deployed, there’s often a desire to be able to sync them, even briefly as in a QSR menu board. That’s really a video wall’s functionality – the ability to turn a series of screens into a single canvas temporarily,” he said.
In other words, best use of a video wall is “anywhere a customer wants to stand out and be different,” Griffin said.
It helps that the cost of video walls has come down significantly. Griffin said a video wall’s ROI can be measured through tools that capture dwell time in front of screens. There are also tools that measure engagement.
“I think the key point is the ROI of digital signage has been demonstrated over many years and what we’re talking about with video walls is an extension of that – a better way to engage and cut through the clutter,” he said.
Video walls are not a separate solution from digital signage, he adds; rather they are a way to deliver the message and content “bigger and better.”
Challenges for those wanting to install video walls have included cost and simplifying set up and management. There has been some progress in simplifying video wall systems. For example, Userful recently installed a 64-screen video wall with the Korean Aerospace Research Institute. Just one person knew how to manage the institute’s previous system.
“That’s not acceptable today. We delivered a better solution that is easy enough that anyone can use it,” Griffin said. “I would still say there’s work to be done to ensure everyone who deploys a video wall gets one that’s affordable and easy to use.”
Ease of use is just one goal in properly leveraging video walls to their fullest potential. Griffin said the most important detail is learning how to cut through the content clutter and engage with your audience.
“People are walking around your store with screens in their pockets, their heads bent and looking down. You need to give them a reason to look up and around. Shopping in store is as much about experience now as it is about shopping,” Griffin said. “Retailers need to think about ambiance, engagement, messaging in all new ways and video walls and digital signage play a key role.”
That being said, content is king. It is important for users to think about content strategically – not just today, but tomorrow’s content; how the content will be updated; how to avoid stale content, etc.
“Thinking about the future is good advice for all aspects of your purchase decision – your solution needs to fit your needs today, but also be able to grow with you,” Griffin said. “There’s a good reason to be cautious of any solution that doesn’t have flexibility and scalability built in.”
In addition to generating compelling content, Userful has also been on the forefront of a sort of second iteration of video walls helping businesses stand out – artistic installations. A glance at the company’s installations shows screens that rotate, video walls that mix and match screen sizes, rotate individual screens to any angle and more.
Userful has been getting more requests for these more unusual placements.
“There’s a desire to stand out from the crowd, to be different, to deploy something that’s engage and that also speaks to a company’s brand, which is why there has been a big demand for this kind of artistic video wall,” Griffin said.