To the casual observer, audiovisual technology is all bright pictures and pretty sounds. But the infrastructure that’s behind the scenes— the mounts that hold the displays and the racks that store the devices that drive the show—can make the difference between a streamlined, budget-friendly design and a disorderly, maintenance-hampering eyesore.
So, how are racks and mounts increasingly meeting the needs of specific applications? Is the industry moving more toward racks and mounts being bundled into kits for a streamlined sales experience, or are custom, application-specific solutions more in demand?
Peerless-AV’s Universal Modular LED Wall Mounting System “At Peerless-AV, we have created a number of mount lines to meet the needs of integrators and end users. One such example is our DesignerSeries line of mounts, which reset the benchmark in perception on how a mount looks post-installation. The DesignerSeries has beautiful sculpted lines, integrated internal cable management, and post-installation height and roll adjustment to address even the most challenging installations, while superseding users’ expectations. Our Universal Modular LED Wall Mounting System is another example of this, specifically created for LED video wall applications. The mounting system features a pop-out mechanism for ease of use and maintenance, integrated micro-adjustments, and a slim, space-saving design—helping integrators create video walls that make an impression.
“As we look across the industry, we see two distinctive paths taking shape. It cannot be argued that rack kits have provided an efficient way for both vendors and dealers to be much better focused. It has created an easier sales cycle and end-user experience while increasing volume into fewer SKUs. However, custom continues to thrive and grow. Today it is a very healthy part of Peerless-AV and indeed one of our fastest-growing divisions. Where necessity and creativity are the only avenue to create application-specific solutions, we flourish.”
—Earl Naegele, director of professional AV sales, Peerless-AV
Chief’s SYS474UW projector mount “In every way, mounting solutions for the pro AV industry are having to get more streamlined. From understanding the capabilities and compatibility, to ordering, tracking, and eventually installing, the experience has to be simple and seamless.
“For run-rate applications, there’s an increase in kitting, but also advancements like Chief’s suspended ceiling projector system that takes the concept of bundling to a whole new level. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got customers asking for increased flexibility in multi-display mounts to achieve more complex, non-standard installs. Chief is now launching the Fusion Modular Series to meet this need.”
—Karen Smidt, marketing manager, Chief
Argosy’s Halo Desk workstation “We’ve found that many users in the industry today are utilizing ‘in-the-box’ technology, not necessarily requiring a customized desk for a specific mixer. To address those needs, Argosy introduced the Halo Desk workstation. With the Halo’s smaller footprint and affordable price, Argosy can now fit into more studios and budgets than ever before.
“For those who prefer a larger-format mixer, we have the Eclipse line of console supports. With comfortable appointment options, including performance leather armrests, onboard monitor and speaker mounts, optional desk surface, and rack modules all supported by an aluminum rail frame system, Eclipse provides many more features and functionality than simple stock legs. Eclipse offers a stylish, highly functional, and sturdy platform that is configurable to nearly any application, including Avid S6, Yamaha Nuage, SSL XL-Desk, and Yamaha CL3/CL5, and Eclipse is available in universal configurations as well.”
—Nancy Greer, director of sales and marketing, Argosy
“Clients want the screen to look like it’s blended into the actual interior design, they want the projector to be blended into the ceiling, they want interactivity, they want curved and mosaic shapes, and they want it all bigger and brighter. So, we literally have gone from the simplicity of a projector and a screen to the complexity of how we blend into the environment.
“All of this has changed the sales experience and taken it from quoting a box with a bracket in it, to applying engineering services with end goals in mind. End goals like safety, because all of this equipment is going to hang in public spaces for digital signage, for example; end goals like aesthetics, where visible cables and connectors are unsightly to the interior designer; and end goals like structural support, where existing structures are not designed to support the weight of a 100-inch-screen video wall, so in order to architecturally integrate the equipment, we need to engineer support structures and sub-frames that will support the weight. All of this raises the importance of applying expertise and engineering services much earlier in the process, and with a higher level of diligence to ensure end goals are met, the first time.”
—Rich Pierro, co-CEO, Premier Mounts
“In the retail arena, for instance, the prices of basic display mounts keep eroding. Mounts are often thrown in with a sale as an incentive, or mounts as well as other accessories are bundled into a ‘deal’ because the display itself has such low margins and accessories still carry some profitability.
“There are specific needs that are being met across all channels as displays themselves change—such as curved displays, which need specific mounts designed to handle them. Curved displays cannot usually (safely) be mounted with standard mounts rated only for the correct size. It requires a design that can specifically accommodate the curve. Another example of specific needs is a display mount that can rotate 90 degrees to allow a portrait or landscape viewing of the information.
“Finally, custom applications, such as menu boards, maps, marquees, bulletin boards, etc., are now a very large opportunity and growing. Using computer controlled, live signage instead of billboards or handwritten signs is dramatically less expensive than it was a few years ago and messaging can be changed easily and quickly from a remote location.”
—Karenann Brow, senior product manager, Tripp Lite
Video Mount Products
Video Mount Products’ ERWEN-9E rack “As AV continues to saturate our lives both from a commercial and residential standpoint, installers, integrators, and even end users continue to look for solutions to make things easier. We haven’t seen any bundling per se, but we do continue to see a movement toward standardization on commercial jobs that are using both mounts and racks, or cabinets. If contractors are working with chain stores, for example, and they know the equipment will be consistent across several locations, they will make every effort to recommend and install a package of merchandise that will allow them to use a repeatable pattern of mounts, racks, and cabinets. Easy is good.
“What we still know, however, is that the more we try to make things easy, the more we are going to have custom and application-specific installs that throw a wrench into the mix, and that’s where mounting-solution flexibility comes into play. We know that integrators are putting some pressure on component manufacturers to make their products more rack and cabinet friendly with mounting ears or at least a mounting ear option. The short answer is that there is no single modality that will streamline the entire process, but success and good partnerships are at the intersection of compatibility, flexibility, affordability, and customer service.”
—Keith Fulmer, president, Video Mount Products