National Reporting Information System, Vietnam

Hurrairah bin Sohail speaks with HCOM about what on the surface looks like a straightforward display deployment. But delving deeper reveals the care and consideration taken by the AV professionals to deliver results.

When the Vietnamese government required a display solution for its National Reporting Information System, Information Center it brought VNPT Technology and HCOM Investment Joint Stock on to serve as the integrators for the project.

More specifically, HCOM Investment advised and supported contractor VNPT Technology for the deployment of a videowall display solution and the requisite controller system to operate it. Seeing that the client for the project was the Vietnamese government, there was a level of scrutiny to this project which spurred the AV professionals on to deliver.

Command and control rooms require specialised care and HCOM was aptly suited for the job. Pham Chi Hieu, CEO of HCOM, says: “HCOM was established 10 years ago and we have worked on projects for the government, military, defence, public security and transportation. Our core focus is on network systems but about three years ago we saw an increasing demand for integrated operations control [IOC] in Vietnam for the government sector and for command and control rooms. We saw this as a natural progression for ourselves. We grew to provide a full IOC solution which would cover all the elements of network systems, IT, video camera, fibre and cabling, KVM and switching. Our focus is on delivering turnkey systems that address the needs of the clients.”

Pham continues: “We have been proactively marketing ourselves on digital platforms in Vietnam and are working to engage with the AV industry and SIs with a focus on the government vertical. With our efforts we have built a reputation as being experts when it comes to IOC projects and deployments.”

For the National Reporting Information System deployment, HCOM approached the project with its usual professionalism. Pham says: “For any IOC project, there are a lot of things to consider. There were a number of moving parts for this project. We look at it in terms of the hardware requirements and the software requirements. Once these are defined, the two then have to come together to complete the picture. This is true for all command and control centres whether they be for smart cities or transport and we approach all our projects in this manner. So, for the National Reporting Information System we took the same systematic approach and looked at all the different components from the software to the modular screens, KVM and thought about how to bring it all together.”

The main feature of the command and control centre at National Reporting Information System is a 12 by 3 LCD videowall made up of Samsung 55-in panels. Datapath VSN 1182 controllers serve to help the videowall function.

Care and consideration went into selecting the components of the videowall. Pham details: “Our display choice was guided by a number of different factors. First was price. Good quality LED tiles are still very expensive, and the price is prohibitive. While government projects do have budgets for such expensive displays, there is also a need to justify the expenses. For Vietnam, the trend is to go with LCD videowalls. They are popular in the market as they offer a sweet spot for price and performance.”

He continues: “We have a lot of experience deploying LCD videowalls and we were confident that we would also be able to support the customer in the future without any issues. There are also geopolitical considerations. A lot of the LEDs are manufactured in China and this raises a security concerns which are even more important to consider seeing that this is a government installation. With all of these things factored in, going with an LCD videowall was an easy choice.”

It is also important to note that this project was a collaborative effort between VNPT Technology and HCOM. Pham sheds light on how the two worked together: “For VNPT Technology, this was an important project seeing that the customer was the government. They examined all three display options, projection, LED and LCD, before deciding on a solution. VNPT came to our office and we decided to explore the LCD videowall option further. Our office has demo rooms where we have Datapath controllers and screens and LCD panels, KVM switching, encoding and decoding all set up. Effectively, we have a full IOC system up and running. There were multiple meetings with VNPT and we pored over every detail of the installation, not only the main components such as the controller but also the cabling and the routing until all parties were happy.”

After the design stage, it was smooth sailing as Pham says: “From here onwards, the project was easy for HCOM. Videowall displays and IOC systems are our core expertise, and this is the work we do day in and day out. Once the design process was complete, we were able to complete the project without any issues.”

The Datapath VSN controllers were also a core component of the display system. Bui Van Hai from HCOM details: “We needed to support 44 input signals from PCs, servers, online meeting systems, cameras and much more so that the government operators could view the information and direct the appropriate response. So, the system had to display all these signals simultaneously on the big screen so that it can be monitored. The choice of using the Datapath controller was made because it was able to handle all the input sources we had. It also had a lot of features that deliver quality images, high resolution and stable operations and has a proven track record across multiple control centres in Vietnam.”

Once the deployment was operational, the choice of Datapath controllers proved to have paid off as Bui details: “In Vietnam, Datapath is a well-known brand of controllers. One of the core reasons we chose it for this project was the fact that it is easy to manage. After we completed the installation, we offered support to the customer to help them begin operating the system but VNPT told us there was no need. The end user was able to operate and manage the system on their own without our guidance and that is the best outcome.”

With the project completed, Bui gives his thoughts on how the Vietnamese AV market will progress: “Covid-19 has had an impact on the global markets and there have been economic slowdowns. In Vietnam however, we were able to respond to the challenges and were able to overcome them. While we are on the way to normalisation, with people returning to the office and so on, I expect some changes to the Vietnam market. Manufacturing from China and USA will perhaps move to Vietnam based on the business climate and that will have a positive impact. For HCOM, our proficiency is with systems and IT which means we are at the junction of technology. We have a positive outlook for 2021.”

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