Recently, our own Paul England sat down with Commercial Integrator‘s Jonathan Blackwood to discuss some of the biggest growth markets for large-format LED displays. The following is a transcript of that interview. We invite you to view the “Deep Dive” discussion at https://www.commercialintegrator.com/av/video/displays/growth-markets-large-format-displays.
Jonathan Blackwood is the Editorial Director at Commercial Integrator. Paul England is Director of Solutions at SNA Displays and is based out of the company’s Atlanta office.
Commercial Integrator: What are the markets that you’re seeing growth in for large-format displays?
Paul England: We’re seeing a huge growth in a few places. One is corporate environments, so corporate lobbies where traditionally you’d see a lot more static artwork–paintings, sculptures, tapestry, that kind of thing. Now, we’re seeing a lot of growth and people doing that as digital artwork. Not only can you make it thematic or seasonal or what have you, but you can continually change it up and add value to the real estate.
[We’re also] seeing a lot of growth in executive briefing centers and boardrooms and places that were traditionally [dependent on] televisions or projectors. We’re seeing a lot more “wow” spaces with large LED walls.
The second one is retail. We’re seeing a lot of growth in the retail space. Traditionally, large-format LED was really only for flagship stores like you might see in Times Square, on Rodeo Drive, or something like that, and it was mostly in fashion and luxury brands. But we’re seeing that really shift market down to a much wider swath of retailers and a much wider swath of commercial businesses in general.
The other one that’s really exciting that we’re just on the cusp of that I think we’re going to see a lot more growth is esports. Where that was a really niche thing maybe a decade ago – especially during 2020, during the pandemic people were able to continue to participate in esports remotely – it really gained a much wider audience and a grander foothold. So, as we see the real estate development around esports, we’re seeing a lot more demand for large-format displays in that space too.
Commercial Integrator: How important is content design to the overall experience when we’re talking about these kinds of displays?
Paul England: While we don’t do content – and I’m not naïve in thinking that I can make a display good enough to overcome bad content, that’s for sure – you really think of a display as only one of the three legs of a total experience. The content is absolutely critical. Good content makes or breaks the experience for sure.
The other thing that’s also somewhat of the forgotten third leg of that stool is all the front-end systems. Even [with] great content on a great display, if it’s being fed through systems that aren’t mature enough to deliver the experience, it’s just not going to work. We’ve seen that content developers have really grown in their ability to take advantage of some of the advantages that an LED display system can have.
Even organizations [are doing this] – there’s a non-profit called CODAworx that we’re involved with that is a collaboration of digital artists. It’s a non-profit to bring the people developing that sort of thing together. And we just think that, as an artistic medium, it’s growing very quickly. Even as an advertising vehicle, it went from being a very niche thing to becoming considerably more mainstream, and all of that’s being largely driven by the content community.
Commercial Integrator: For those that might not be familiar with SNA Displays, what sets you apart from other providers in the space?
Paul England: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our products. We do actually have very good products, but a lot of people make pretty good products out there. . . I would say that the key differentiator for what we offer versus almost everyone else in the space is really our people. And I know that’s a little bit of a trite answer, but it really is the truth. . . we’ll always rally the troops and bring in all the right resources to make sure that every single display we install is amazing. I have to give a lot of props to two groups in particular within our organization.
One is our project management team. Our entire project management team are degreed engineers, some with masters, some PEs [Professional Engineer]. We take that part very, very seriously, which I don’t think every manufacturer – certainly very few others if any other – takes that level of care at the project management level. And we take that very seriously, somewhat predicated on our experience in large-format outdoor. So, the displays like Times Square – 10-story tall things – you don’t get to guess at the math, you got to do the math right on that one.
The second is our systems team. Our systems team is just like a Navy Seal-SWAT-Team-superstar-rock-star-paratrooper squad. Those guys can solve almost anything. I’m super proud to have those guys on our team. And I really think that’s it. I know it’s a little bit of a canned answer to say it’s our people, but we’re very committed to delivering excellence through the entire project. So, everywhere – not only pre-sales, during sales, and during installation but even well into Day Two. We have quite a few displays that are a decade old that are still fabulous, and I think that is definitely hand-in-hand with the level of care that we do at every point in the project.