When Vodafone wanted to refurbish their stores across the UK they contacted Fujitsu Services to specify the AV installation. The concept was to have one or two 46inch screens, portrait mounted, with a profile as slim as possible and placed in the window ‘goal post’ style. Fujitsu invited UNICOL to meet with Vodafone to discuss how this could be achieved and after discussion it transpired that the ‘goal post’ columns had to be in stainless steel to match the door furniture, the mounting metalwork and screen or screen housing needed to be in white. NEC had already been chosen to supply MultiSync P461 or X461HB (High Bright) displays and because they only came in black it was assumed that the display would be placed in a white enclosure.

The structural aspects of mounting a goal post style solution, which bolted to the floor and was fixed in the ceiling void was a standard procedure for UNICOL. However, whilst it was recognized that a high-bright display was the only option in a window that could be drenched in sunlight, to place it in an enclosure would drastically increase the risk of overheating. In addition to this the inclusion of fans / air conditioning to reduce this risk would increase the cost, increase the profile depth and physical size of the installation. Mindful of the brief and thinking outside the box UNICOL suggested spraying the screens white, which would solve the overheating issues and meet the specification. The only drawback was that the displays would have to be dismantled to spray them, which would invalidate the warranty. A quick call to NEC soon resolved this issue and it was agreed that the screens would be shipped from Germany to NEC’s repair facility in Telford where the necessary panels would be removed and shipped to UNICOL’s wet spraying plant; the white displays would then be rebuilt and shipped to the various sites for installation.

With these obstacles removed it was then a matter of ensuring the display mounting method was as slim as possible and to cover the rear of the screen so that customers in the store would see the Vodafone branded style. The design was completed and included a rear screen cover that could have a mag-strip branded poster placed on it, which ensured that the installation could be kept fresh in line with the store style.

With the experience of rolling out Tesco TV, probably still the largest single roll out of digital signage in the UK, UNICOL insisted on site surveys to be carried out well in advance of installation. As most stores across the country are built differently, with various floor and ceiling materials, ceiling heights and false ceiling voids with electrical and heating duct variations, it was essential to have time to choose the right installation items for each store. Also the correct standard lengths of stainless steel columns had to be ordered in, cut to length, drilled and cable entry holes cut. A central warehouse was used at the start of the roll out but because UNICOL manufactures all of the mounting equipment in its Oxford factory it was decided to be more cost effective to deliver the equipment direct to site. This was managed by a dedicated team and became a very efficient way of ensuring the right kit was delivered on time to the right store with the manager of that store being on hand to accept the delivery.