Corporate AV Projection and Flatpanel Trends
Mar 12, 2009 10:00 AM,
By Linda Seid Frembes
Projectors and flatpanel displays are the centerpiece to many corporate AV installations. According to Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald of TFCinfo Corp., the most popular projectors are in the 2100 to 2500 lumen range for value-priced models, and 2600 to 3000 lumens for fuller featured models. “There has also been an increase in sales of models over 3000 lumens as prices have come down, although this is still a relatively small portion of the market,” he says.
Macdonald also indicates that there has been a shift from SVGA toward XGA-resolution projectors over the last five years due to the declining price of XGA models. Lower prices have also moved brightness levels upward.
For NEC Display Solutions, the corporate market is a core part of its projection business. The company has developed a full projector product line to serve the needs of corporate AV users. Keith Yanke, director of product marketing, projectors and large-format displays, also sees some crossover with the education market in terms of features and needs.
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“In the education market, cost is a big factor; whereas, in the corporate market, it depends on the user and the application,” saysYanke, who is responsible for product marketing for projectors and flatpanels in all vertical markets. “In a corporate conference room or boardroom, users want an installed projector. They want a projector you can mount on the ceiling that offers brighter lumens and full connectivity. For something like a mobile sales force, they need purpose-built mobile projector that is lightweight and has easy setup/quick teardown but still offers a fairly bright image.”
Yanke also says that the equipment in a corporate boardroom environment is typically aligned with the IT department, so “they are the ones looking for a total solution that fits within the corporation’s strategy,” he says. “A sales force like at a pharmaceutical company, for example, is located outside of the office and, in order to get the message across, they need to equip their people with portable AV.”
Over the years, there has been a shift in equipment choices for the corporate market. “Some aspects are staying consistent with past trends,” Yanke says. “From the boardroom perspective, as lower cost units get brighter and offer more functions, we are seeing some shift from typical install projector with full features to a lesser cost and not as feature-rich projector that still offers a decent set of functions.”
In fixed installs, Yanke has noted some shift from projectors to large format flatpanels especially in smaller meeting rooms where a projector may not be a good fit. “Prices are coming down on large-format displays. For boardroom environments, the majority are still installed projectors or integration of both flat panels and projectors,” Yanke says.
According to Macdonald, there have been several trends in the flatpanel display market. He notes that for flat panels more 32in., there has been an ongoing shift from plasma towards LCD panels as LCD’s have appeared at larger sizes and more competitive prices. “However, plasma continues to play an important though no longer dominant part in this market,” he says.
He continues, “Sales above 42” have expanded with lower prices. Over the last few years flatpanels have been shifting to higher resolutions, from WVGA to XGA and WXGA, and now to 1080p. 1080p is much more dominant in consumer sales than in professional sales, but it is becoming increasingly used in commercial applications as well. The shift to higher resolutions has been driven by reduced prices for higher resolution models, larger panel sizes, and on the consumer level the shift from DVD to HD to full HD content.”
Integrators selling to and servicing the corporate market still have strong selling points about projectors and their benefits. Yanke says that technology advances have dramatically increased lamp life, and in some cases, have doubled lamp life. “Looking at the total cost of ownership, projectors are still an excellent device for producing a big, bright picture. They are lasting longer and are more durable which means customers have reliable experience with them. From a green standpoint, lower wattage lamps mean less power consumption while offering the same or improved brightness,” he says.
The NEC NP Installation series—the NP1150, NP2150, NP3150 and NP3151W LCD projectors—offer full features and optional lenses for short or long throw. This product line also has lens-shift capability for installs that need to mount off-axis.
NEC’s Mobile series—the NP41, NP61, and NP62 DLP projectors—are a good fit for a corporate sales force. Each projector in the product line weighs less than 4lbs. and is simple to use with auto startup, focus, and keystone correction.
“In our current economy, some customers will look at feature sets closely and see if they can still get good value from a lower-priced projector. We will also see corporations try to future proof their systems longer by purchasing projectors that support widescreen or higher resolution,” Yanke says. “No matter what the budget, we’ve developed a full line of products to fit their needs.”
See the April 2009 print issue of SVC to find out more about the projectors available to the corporate AV market.