Goal: As a part of a major expansion and renovation project in 2017, the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) sought to create an immersive visitor experience in the high-traffic hallway connecting the North and South Hall. Specifically, the team sought to use a digital signage solution that would serve as a sightseeing spectacle within the 1.8 million square-foot facility and enable the venue to showcase upcoming events, spotlight local artists and share relevant news in a new and innovative way.
Solution: Working with LG Electronics, Coffman Media, Reese Brother’s Productions and Peerless-AV, the GCCC utilized LG’s 4mm Direct View LED display to create a massive 60-by-7 foot video wall using a 25x2 cabinet configuration. Each cabinet contained 12 LG 4mm Direct View LED panels in a 3x4 module arrangement for a total of 600 panels in the connector hallway—an installation sure to catch the eye of any passerby both in and outside the convention center. Three video wall controllers and one media player were used to communicate and push content out to the display for vibrant, crisp, eye-catching images that can even be seen from across the street thanks to LG’s Direct View LED display technology.
Results: Located in the heart of Columbus’ vibrant entertainment district, the GCCC has long been valued for its ability to offer the city an array of amenities designed to exceed the expectations of guests, conferences and large-scale public events. Since the completion of the installation, the Greater Columbus Convention Center has enhanced its ability to do so and experienced a significant return on investment that far surpassed the initial goals set by the venue’s board of directors.
As the first installation of its kind in North America, the LG Direct View LED digital signage video wall project at the Greater Columbus Convention Center presented its own unique challenges. Due to the fact that this type of installation had not been completed before in the US, the integrators did not possess previous experience working with this particular digital signage product and would need to prepare ahead of time more so than usual. Furthermore, managing a project of this size in such a high-volume public space created distinct conditions that the team would need to overcome, such as logistically delivering 600 panels to the job site while the venue was still semi-open to the public, as well as seamless, effective communication among the many stakeholders involved. By working closely across the board during the planning and implementation and pivoting quickly in order to troubleshoot throughout the process, the team overcame these challenges and completed the project both on time and within budget.
Finding a Quality Solution without Compromising on Price
Inspired by the design of the world-famous Oculus in New York, NY, the team sought a digital signage solution that would not only meet the needs of the installation environment, but also add a distinct architectural aesthetic. “Reese Brothers was brought on to figure out what we could do on this massive wall that would be dynamic in scope and bring ‘wow’ to the interior of the Greater Columbus Convention Center and that solution was video art,” explained Jim Reese of Reese Brother’s Productions, who directs the art curation for the GCCC. “Now, we often get people stopping and looking at the wall actually engaging. That’s what the client wanted and that’s exactly what they got.” The modular, bezel-less design of LG Direct View LED not only makes it easy to install in large format video wall configurations, but it also offers integrators an aesthetically pleasing high performance display that can be seamlessly integrated into its surrounding environment, which was critical.
In addition to form factor, picture quality was a major deciding factor during the purchasing process. With one entire side of the corridor comprised of windows, the team would need to select an ultra-bright digital signage solution that would be able to hold up even against the high levels of exposure to ambient light that this window-facing display would receive. At 1,000 nits brightness and at 480 pixels-by-4,500 pixels once installed, the LG 4mm Direct View LED delivered on all the display requirements for the project. “Direct View LED has been really moving its way into the digital signage space because of the versatility,” noted Dan Wheeler, Key Account Manager, Signage at LG Electronics USA Business Solutions. “LG Direct View LED can be built in any size and LG offers resolutions from 1mm to 20mm in addition to both indoor and outdoor solutions.”
While the team was impressed by the solution LG presented, with so many pertinent factors in play while selecting a digital signage solution, the team was nervous about staying within budget. After conducting extensive marketplace research, the GCCC found the LG 4mm Direct View LED display to be the most cost-efficient solution that met all the needs of the project. “We did an extensive amount of research to find a product that offered the quality we wanted within the budgets constraints we had,” explained Don Brown, Executive Director of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. “We struggled for a long time until we found LG. LG was clearly the best value solution for us.” By using LG’s 50,0000hr 4mm Direct View LED panel, the Greater Columbus Convention Center not only stayed on budget, but experienced cost savings that kept the development under budget.
Step-By-Step Customer Care for a First-of-Its-Kind Installation
The 13 week installation, which started with a blank hallway and required full electrical preparations, custom mounting, and connecting all 50 of the cabinets, was completed on time due to the diligence and commitment of all key stakeholders. “We would say the LG customer service was second-to-none on this project,” said Jason Ault, COO of Coffman Media. “We were heavily supported by LG from operations to sales and even technical support once we were here onsite, which allowed us to make this first U.S. installation successful.”
In addition to the specialized customer service LG provided throughout, they also recommended Peerless-AV for a unique custom mounting solution that would fit the explicit needs of the project. Using a standard fixed wall solution for the cabinet design and catering it to the LG Direct View LED cabinets, Peerless-AV created a custom scalable mounting solution that offered depth adjustment and reduced potential weight strain on the wall. “As the industry leader for mounting solutions, Peerless-AV’s dedicated LED Solutions Team challenges themselves to set the standard of quality designs, while pushing the boundaries of what anyone thought possible,” said Chad Gebhardt, Senior Product Manager at Peerless-AV. “We are pleased to have worked with LG and Coffman Media to make the vision of the LED Video Wall at the Columbus Convention Center come to life. With the SmartMount® Flat Wall Mounting System’s slim, space-saving design and display adaptors, a video wall that can overcome obstacles such as uneven walls is not only possible—it’s flawless.”
By preassembling the mount’s frame before it arrived at the GCCC, the integrators were able to easily attach the mount, and therefore the video wall, straight to the wall upon its arrival. This streamlined the process—which only took one week to install, calibrate, fine tune and launch—by reducing the amount of time it would take to hang the video wall. This, in turn, reduced overall labor costs accrued by the GCCC.
Exceeding Results with Measurable Benefits
Since the project’s completion in August 2017, the GCCC has benefitted significantly from the video wall. While the GCCC had not intended to use its new digital signage for advertising purposes initially, the venue received an overwhelming number of exhibitors and guests inquiring about advertising on the video wall during events after experiencing the impressive display for themselves, further adding to the solution’s overall return on investment.
One of the biggest priorities for the GCCC during the larger renovation project was to utilize a digital display that would deliver a wow-factor experience unlike any other convention center. Today, the convention center utilizes the LG Direct View LED video wall to showcase local artists, highlight noteworthy Columbus cultural experiences and share newsworthy content from local organizations, in addition to employing the signage as a new and innovative advertising medium for events, conferences and expos. “It was time to give the Convention Center a facelift and we needed a dash of iconic,” noted Brown. “LG’s Direct View LED display gave us an iconic attraction and we couldn’t speak higher of the partnership we received from LG and Coffman Media.”