Your office’s digital display is broken or fading fast, and it needs a replacement. Yes, we understand that replacing this technology can be costly. But many IT departments in this scenario struggle to avoid falling for what technology solutions providers call “The Costco Effect.”
Simply put, this is when technology decision-makers see displays and low prices that will not fit the same needs as they may have for their commercial application.
Tim McCarthy, Account Manager, Spinitar, explains that he’s seen many clients fall for that trap, who end up needing to call him to eventually provide a better — if a bit more costly — solution.
“Other common concerns are size, brightness, resolution, and price. You need to consider warranty and that Commercial Grade displays often have a minimum of three years where many consumer grade models will only have 30 days in a Commercial application.”
Other questions to ask yourself when replacing office displays:
- Do you have a basic awareness of whether or not you need units with built-in WiFi, speakers, and tuners
- Are there any specifics on connectivity which needs to be known up front so an integrator can be sure to specify the correct products for the applications?
- Are you ADA compliant as to the proper mounting of the panels?
- Are you clear on screen orientation?
Where you can go wrong
Whether or not your organization has the budget for professional technology integration services, we thought you’d want to know the ins and outs of replacing office screens from the people who do it every day.
Rodney Laney, VP of display technology at AVI-SPL, warns IT departments and decision-makers to again avoid temptation for products not designed for commercial use.
Also, “additional issues can occur if there are failures on consumer products, many clients say that it is ok, they will ‘just buy a new one’ if it fails, but when the unit is only a week or a month or so old, they cannot grasp that most consumer products have zero warranty in a commercial application,” he says.
“Some may have 90 days of coverage, but that is it. Additionally, with the frequency of models being replaced by new models, it is nearly impossible to keep consistency aesthetically or from a functional standpoint.”
McCarthy says his company’s buyers do a lot of research, but often their research takes them down the path of consumer models, and these models often have features like Smart functionality which are not helpful for their use case.
“Most Commercial applications need the display to function as a monitor as their primary use is to present a computer or a lap top but also be able to properly be able to display a variety of sources,” McCarthy says.
“Other concerns that have been discussed are size and style. Size of displays has changed drastically through technology and this is very apparent when it comes to displays. With the size of displays you can various types whether it be a flat panel, a projector, a video wall or an LED wall.”
Justifying the price of office digital displays
Budget is nearly impossible to speculate on as there are many variables to be considered with respect to cost. In Laney’s opinion, the most cost-effective procedure is to start off with proper selection of a commercial integrator.
“As we know, there are many ‘companies’ that can do the work and provide a really good quote for the project, but buyer beware! It should not be unreasonable to be able to ask for and receive reference specific to the work they want done and when integrators take the time to be CTS certified it shows another level of pride they take in what they do.”
He provides a brief analogy:
When it is time to have your car serviced and it is a major repair, are you more or less likely to take it to a highly rated maybe even national repair shop or even the dealer, than a friend of a friend to do the work?
Now, you may take it to that friend of a friend for a simple oil change and that should be fine… unless they forget to tighten the drain plug and as a result it destroys the engine!
Chances are that friend of a friend cannot afford the cost of the engine replacement, so you may have saved $30 or even $50 on the oil change, but the dealer has the ability and insurance to cover them when a simple mistake happens. So how do you budget for your next oil change?
The same holds true for hiring an integrator who can help you determine a budget — friend of a friend, because anyone can hang a TV, or the national commercial company that is prepared and able to recover from a simple error, like missing a stud and having the TV fall off of the wall.
Lifespan expectations for office digital displays
There are many categories of displays, projection, flat panels, and dvLED, to name the most common. Each of these categories have products designed for the duty cycle your particular application requires, and the life span will vary for each.
“A great way to get the most out of your purchase and have it last as long as possible is to add to your budget the cost of a good service contract,” Laney says.
“Some refer to ‘extended warranties’ and those are good, but they are different from a service contract. A good service contract can include remote monitoring of your equipment and knowing the signs of impending failure before it happens so the issue can be addressed and prevent that dark screen when it is needed most.”
Laney says decision-makers should keep in mind that the options with the higher cost may also include a better element of future proofing your digital needs as most display products do not reach a point where they need to be replaced because their usefulness is over.
“Display products are replaced more often because new and better technology becomes available at a cost that is worth considering versus the cost of replacing what they have. If you are advised properly and take advantage of the product with the best future proof option, while we cannot really predict what is coming next, you may be able to get double the life out of your purchase and stay within a reasonable budget to do so.”