Engineering is a kind of race, a contest. The goal is to have the fastest, the biggest (or smallest), the least consuming, product on the market. Well, for some time at least, until somebody (you or a competitor) breaks the record. And engineers often do it without really thinking why. Simply because they can raise the bar. Doesn’t every customer want to have the best device around? Sure they do!
But how can you really tell when technology DOES make a difference? That we don’t just progress for the sake of progression, but actually bring additional value to the customer? It takes quite some effort and discipline to take that step back and objectively assess which issues your great technology solves.
Let’s take a look at Barco’s latest control room product: the Flagship laser rear-projection video walls. This product is the first to bring RGB laser illumination technology to mission critical 24/7 control rooms. Great. But does it actually bring value for the customer? Let’s take a closer look.
One of the most eye-catching (literally that is) benefits of laser illumination for video walls, is the enhanced brightness. If you ever had the chance to compare a LED-lit video wall to a laser-lit one, you will be blown away: the brightness is astonishing. But how is this ultra-brightness valuable for you?
First of all, brightness gives you flexibility. In the past, control rooms needed to be dimly lit, hence purposely built in the basement or in spaces without windows, in order to allow operators to clearly see the overview video wall. With the spectacularly increased brightness levels of the Flagship laser, this is no longer needed. Control rooms can now be designed with present day ergonomics and ambient lighting without affecting the readability of the large overview display wall. The Flagship Laser video walls can be adjusted to the room’s lighting conditions, so operators always have the most ergonomic viewing conditions for the most efficient decision making. And what if you don’t need the additional brightness at the moment? Just remember that you can always dim a high-brightness module, but you can’t boost a low-bright version (at least not without consequences).
Second, there’s the factor related to 'perception of details'. Without the brightness, even the best color processing will matter just a little. In utilities control rooms, you’ll easier see alarm lights flashing. In security settings, it can make the difference between seeing a suspicious person or not. Although this is closely related to the previous reason, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same. It is not always necessary that the brighter the image, the more colors shall stand out. In other words, simply pumping up the brightness without any regard for image quality will have a bright but washed out overview wall. So it has more to it than just brightness to better distinguish between colors. This will be the next topic of this blog series, so stay tuned!
In short: does brightness bring value? Yes, it does! It’s not a coincidence that ‘brighter’ means ‘smarter’.
Suchit is part of Barco’s global strategic marketing team, based in Atlanta (USA). He has been with Barco for about 10 years, holding various international positions in technology, product marketing, market development, strategic business development and strategic marketing. He handles Barco’s Strategic Alliance program worldwide, consisting today of over 40 global technology companies and growing, as well as various strategic business development and go-to-market programs.