Digital Signage–With an Eye on Expansion for American Eagle Outfitters

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American Eagle Outfitters sells distinctive clothing and accessories aimed at college-aged men and women. Founded in 1977 and hugely successful, it now has over 950 retail stores worldwide, in addition to 47 aerie stores, which specialize in women’s lingerie, sleepwear, and active wear.

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Video walls faced outside each establishment
In 2010, American Eagle kicked off a global expansion effort that started in Canada and then spread to the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. When it wanted to enhance customer experience during an ongoing expansion into Mexico, American Eagle decided to include a 2×4 AV (audio/video) video wall installations on storefronts at some of the retail locations in that country. In order to get the best results at the best price, American Eagle hired ProMotion Technology Group to design and install the video wall project.

ProMotion Technology Group is an innovative company of audiovisual professionals committed to creating engaging environments for the most challenging applications. A leading supplier of integrated technology for some of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies, ProMotion provides a full spectrum of system design, product procurement, logistics planning, installation and technical service.

Premier Partners

Though ProMotion Technology Group is expert at AV installations, during the 2010 American Eagle project, ProMotion found that available video wall mounts for the project were inadequate. The project required specific, durable, and custom designed mount solutions on short notice. Because the project at that time was specific to the American Eagle stores in Mexico, anyone hired to design and install the mounts would be required to closely examine the unique obstacles there, and partner firsthand with ProMotion to overcome them. After vetting numerous options, ProMotion hired Premier Mounts, whose engineers swiftly designed and delivered a custom-made, durable video wall mount system.

Video Wall Challenges

Video walls consist of one or more screens set atop and/or beside each other, upon which is displayed a single image, serially repeating images, or a number of alternating images. Each screen can be operated independent of the others, or they can be combined as needed for a composite image. They are increasingly being used in sports venues, malls, and inside retail establishments. Retailers love them for their versatility and ability to broadcast a message that catches the eye of the customer. Further, with just a few keystrokes, the message can be updated or changed. But video walls can present problems if not planned and installed properly.

The first problem is weight. New technologies have brought us all the way from the bulky television set with its massive cathode ray tube and sizable components, to the slim, Hi-Def screens we all love in our homes. However, stacking an array of large, commercial grade screens requires a strong framework to securely hold the considerable weight.

Then there is the heat. And though we don’t use the vacuum tubes of years past, a modern flat-panel consumes a surprisingly high amount of electricity, which generates a correspondingly high level of heat. Stacking six or eight screens immediately adjacent to each other multiplies the heat problem. A properly designed and installed video wall incorporates a way to dissipate the heat and preserve the longevity of the equipment.

In addition, video walls are often placed against windows in order to project the image out the window. Because the windows and screens must periodically be cleaned, a method to do so must be built into the installation.
Finally, maintenance and repair must take place when needed. Therefore, in order to minimize the time required for these services, a video wall must be installed in a way that provides quick and easy access to the inner workings of all the components.

Tailored Solution Providers

For their Mexico retail outlets, American Eagle Outfitters commissioned the design of a video wall that would be situated directly next to a window that faced outside each establishment. Using the latest technology, ProMotion designed a 2×4 video wall (2 screens wide, 4 screens high) that was a perfect fit for the space. But after not being able to find mounts that would adequately solve the problems of stability, durability, access for repairs, and access for routine maintenance and cleaning, ProMotion contracted with Premier to design such a system. Premier’s designers and engineers quickly responded by customizing a system that addressed all of ProMotion’s and American Eagle’s needs.

What Premier came up with is the custom 2×4 Reverse Video Wall Door. In the Reverse Video Wall Door, the screens are mounted on an exceptionally sturdy metal framework. The framework is divided down the middle, and it is hinged at the sides to allow the wall to be opened 65 degrees from the rear, like double doors.
This arrangement has numerous advantages. The video wall can be placed directly next to a window, facing out, because space is not needed to clean the window and screens. Instead, opening the wall doors allows plenty of room for this task. In addition, maintenance and repairs can be performed quickly. By opening the doors, the wall’s vital parts are at the fingertips with adequate room to move around and work. Because the wall does not have to be nudged away from the window or partially dismantled, precious time is saved in the repair process, and the wall is back up and operating quickly.

Further, the wall consists of frames and brackets that can be adjusted to conform to any type of storefront and any type of array. This versatility allows the retailer to change the dimensions of the store or rearrange the contents and then adjust the wall’s dimensions accordingly. Needless to say, both American Eagle Outfitters and ProMotion Technology were happy with Premier’s efforts.

Said one of ProMotion’s employees, “Really cool solution – the speed in which they were able to engineer it was great.”

ProMotion Technology was able to satisfy their client’s need for a durable, adaptable, and easily maintained video wall. ProMotion’s video walls, with Premier Mount’s solution, were successfully installed and are in full operation in a number of American Eagle’s Mexican retail stores.

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