Case Study: Mercedes-Benz, Korea

Merc Main Image
Car next to LCD panel videowall at Mercedes-Benz showroom in Seoul, Korea

CoreLan’s deployment of traditional AV systems and video over IP systems at two separate MercedesBenz showrooms in Seoul, Korea provides an opportunity to compare and contrast both options.

The potential of AV over IP needs to be realised by application. It is through deployment that AV over IP systems can demonstrate value that is tangible and can be quantified by measuring the impact they have the customer’s business.

CoreLan, a Korean integrator, began a conversation with a Mercedes-AMG distributor in Seoul, Korea regarding the benefits of switching from a traditional AV system to a video over IP system.

Andrew Park, managing director of CoreLan, says: “We started to talk about video over IP when we were engaged to deliver the AV systems for the Mercedes-Benz showroom in Cheongdam [Seoul, Korea]. Unfortunately, due to the timing of the project and the completion date we were working towards we could not move ahead with video over IP. But the idea of moving from a traditional AV system towards an IP-based system was discussed.”

When CoreLan was given the responsibility to provide the AV systems for another MercedesBenz showroom in Bucheon, Korea, the thread of the video over IP conversation was picked up again.

Park says: “After the HDBaseT high definition video transmission device was deployed into the other showroom, Mercedes-Benz was willing to discuss the move to an IP-based system. A HDBaseT matrix system is a very heavy investment and it also requires additional components which can add to the cost. It is a full ecosystem. We highlighted the simplicity of video over IP to them and we also mentioned the ease of maintaining such a system. After our conversations, they were very willing to try a video over IP system for the Bucheon showroom.”

The design process for the video over IP system for Mercedes-Benz was handled by CoreLan. Park details: “The new showroom was quite a deviation from the standard and the designs we had at the start needed to be changed. We worked to implement an IP-based design that would be much simpler than a similar system designed in the traditional AV way. There was also a need to localise the design so that we could take into consideration what products were available in Korea. All in all, the end result was great and I think our design might become the template for MercedesBenz going forward.”

Of course, the 10Gb versus 1Gb debate was brought up during the design phase and Park says: “Content in the world of retail is getting heavier and heavier, with higher resolutions becoming more popular. But since the Crestron NVX encoders and decoders were deemed suitable at the time of this project, we decided to go ahead with 1Gb infrastructure.”

Crestron NVX encoders and decoders are used for video transmission over the IP network at the Mercedes-Benz Bucheon showroom. A Cisco 48-port switch sits at the heart of the video system and control is provided via a combination of a Crestron CP3 control processor and Apple iPads. Park shares the thought process behind the selection: “From the beginning, we had the objective to make sure that the AV system was simple and easy to maintain. Of course, as integrators, we are more than capable of taking products from many different manufacturers and bringing them together as a whole. But having a unified system is easier to configure and it is easier to maintain on the end user’s side. There are less conflicts and less troubleshooting is required to keep the systems running error free.”

The main visual display at the Bucheon Mercedes-Benz showroom is a 6 x 3 videowall comprising LG 55-in flat panel displays which are kept in place by Chief mounts. A twin NVX unit is used to transmit video signals from PC CMS players which serve as the inputs. The displays are daisy chained via DisplayPort, creating the contents onscreen through tile mode.

Park explains the set-up: “The twin NVX unit is provided and each controls a 3 x 3 segment of the videowall. The reason for this is to effectively present MercedesBenz’s special contents. It was also designed to be used for all sorts of exhibition events.”

Ensuring quality performance for the videowall was a priority and Park details: “Our main concern for the videowall was latency. We needed it to be low and the visuals to be in sync which we were able to achieve. We also needed to make sure that the end user was able to use the videowall without any problems. To do this we have provided an iPad which lets them access the control options.”

Single LG display panels can also be found across the showroom in consultation rooms and the media carrier. These feature NVX units for video transmission as CMS players (PC) serve as the input source. The upcoming Customer Experience Element feature will be transmitted to the CMS player through the NVX units, so that the contents can be modified according to user response. In keeping with MercedesBenz’s working process, CoreLan has provided Crestron Air Media units for wireless presentation.

Park says: “The employees at Mercedes-Benz are provided iPads and also have their own devices. There is no wired connectivity, we went for a completely wireless solution in the shape of the Crestron Air Media. This means that they can turn the areas which feature flat panel displays into impromptu presentation spaces.”

Park explains the reason to provide only wireless connectivity: “When it comes to AV, the customer’s experience has become an extremely important component that we cannot ignore. With wireless presentation we can provide a seamless experience for both the dealership and the customers who come to the showroom.”

With the video over IP system in place, Mercedes-Benz has got its bases covered according to Park. He says: “The Crestron NVX system makes the showroom future-proof. It can be expanded and has a great deal of flexibility with regards to how it can be changed or upgraded.”

Looking forward, Park suggests changes he would like to implement: “Lighting and lighting control is something that we would like to pay attention to. Lighting is an important component and it can have an impact on the emotion people feel when they are inside a space. It can invoke an emotional response which can be very useful in a showroom environment. I believe that lighting should be included with the AV systems and I would like to see if we can work towards the use of a real lighting control system with specific focus on colour temperatures in the future.”