AccuWeather's 4K Strategy - AvNetwork.com

AccuWeather's 4K Strategy

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For AccuWeather’s Enterprise Solutions Division, ultra-resolution is only part of the story.

Every day, more than a billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hourly and “Minute by Minute” forecasts with customized content and engaging video presentations available on smart phones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites, connected TVs, and Internet appliances, as well as via radio, television, and newspapers.

AccuWeather’s Enterprise Solutions division also serves over 240 of the Fortune 500 companies and thousands more. The commercial weather services division of AccuWeather, Inc., AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions delivers mission-critical weather-driven enterprise solutions to assist businesses, government, media, and institutions, protecting people, property, and profits worldwide. AccuWeather enterprise products and services include the most accurate, site-specific and customized severe weather warnings, short- and long-range forecasts, legal forensics, and weather-triggered analytics, providing actionable insights from the world’s largest weather media company.

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THE CHALLENGE

Launched to the broadcast market in 2012, AccuWeather’s StoryTeller solution is a complete interactive communications platform that combines touchscreen hardware with a proprietary suite of apps that bring stories to life with flexible, easy-to-customize rich content and dynamic information. Remarkably successful, the product has had unprecedented success penetrating the broadcast market, with use by every major network.

“They’re using it in 14 of the top 15 US markets,” said Daniel Despot, product manager, StoryTeller Interactive Touchscreen. “For example every station in Philadelphia uses it, and it’s unheard of for something like this to be in all 4 major stations in one market.”

In addition, StoryTeller has won favor with NFL teams such as the Minnesota Vikings, with former players using the product to do their own broadcasts. With StoryTeller now poised to launch into expanded markets, including museums, visitor centers, resorts, car dealers, malls and retail stores, the development team at AccuWeather had concerns about their current display hardware.

“When StoryTeller was launched in the broadcast market, we worked with several vendors to supply the StoryTeller hardware,” said Despot. “Unfortunately, none of these vendors were able to fully meet the explosive demand for the product in a way that would ensure timely installations and follow-up.”

“None of our other suppliers offered service on site,” he said. “For large touchscreen displays it’s both a pain and very expensive to ship an 84-inch screen back and get a loaner. Doing this requires lots of work on our client’s end and they were not happy with it.”

Additionally, ViewSonic’s offer to tweak the product to better meet AccuWeather’s needs continues to demonstrate their outstanding partnership, said Despot.

“We didn’t need the onboard computer, in fact it interfered with what we wanted to do. Our rep thought we might have to disable the feature ourselves, and then Gene stepped in and said they’d take care of it before shipping the product,” he said. “It was terrific how quickly Gene understood our needs and responded. That’s really great service.”

With a world of new markets to explore, the AccuWeather team is now confident they have the right hardware-software combination to present StoryTeller to their prospective new customers.

THE SOLUTION

AccuWeather first encountered ViewSonic at an industry tradeshow which afforded Despot the opportunity to take a closer look at ViewSonic’s home facility. Working with ViewSonic’s digital signage product manager Gene Ornstead, Despot narrowed down the options to the CDE8451-TL 84-inch 4K Ultra HD Interactive Touch Display. While his initial impression was that the screens looked great, Despot still had concerns about the infrared touch technology, which had been a source of concern with other displays.

“When we worked with Gene to evaluate the CDE8451-TL we saw that it used a somewhat different method—infrared with shadow sense—and I was surprised at how well it worked—much better than the standard infrared being used elsewhere,” said Despot. “In my opinion it works just as well as capacitive touch.”

Despot and the AccuWeather team tested the display by subjecting it to various lighting conditions that would have negatively affected their former displays. They were happy to discover that the CDE8451-TL performed beautifully.

“With the other infrared screens, the lighting would interfere with the touch responsiveness requiring us to manually adjust settings to optimize the display to work in different conditions,” said Despot. “With the ViewSonic displays, this became a non-issue.”

Another limitation that had plagued AccuWeather was the tendency of other screens to inappropriately respond when a user’s finger— or jacket sleeve or bracelet—came close to the screen without touching it.

“With the ViewSonic display you had to actually touch it for it to work,” said Despot. “I could hover my finger within 1 millimeter of the screen and it didn’t respond until I actually touched it. I didn’t expect that kind of accuracy from infrared and it really amazed me.”

THE RESULTS

The 84-inch multi-touch CDE8451-TL is proving to be an ideal counterpart to AccuWeather’s suite of StoryTeller apps, accruing to Vice President of Display Systems and Services, Ryan C. Ayres.

“The CDE8451-TL delivers the super responsive interactive experience required in our applications,” Ayres said. “The 4K resolution combined with its anti-glare panel and wide range of connectivity options allows AccuWeather the flexibility and versatility required in many of our proprietary interactive applications.”

EQUIPMENT SPOTLIGHT

The ViewSonic CDE8451-TL 84-inch 4K Large Format Interactive Display delivered outstanding responsiveness, eliminating problems experienced with prior displays. Bonus: an on-site 3-year limited warranty.

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