Keep it simple: how to tackle the most complex of problems

Sharp/NEC UK channel account manager, Jack Wilders, draws on his experiences to recommend keeping it simple!

Presenting your customer with a simple solution is the best way to solve a complex problem.

This seems an unnecessary statement, of course this is the best approach, what’s your point, Jack?

My point is, that in my 19 years’ experience in the AV industry, I have not always found this to be the case. Even where the demands of a deployment are highly complex, I will always seek to reassure the end user that their complex problem has a simple solution. Some customers want a greater depth of detail, but in general, the user wants to experience simplicity.

Let’s look at some examples, keeping it fairly simple to start with:



A small meeting room scenario

Think of a meeting room with a large format display and a wireless collaboration system, for instance the NEC Mosaic Connect. The user wants the system poised to instantly start up, yet to have the ability to hard cable a device into the screen at any point (because let’s face it, when a network is at full capacity, no matter which technology you use, you cannot beat a good old-fashioned cable).


One solution might be a complicated control system that manages the two inputs and switches. Another might be a third-party auto switch. But in this instance, this is an unnecessary additional fuss and expense.

By using NEC’s priority switching function and setting the wireless collaboration device to priority 2 and the guest device to priority 1, when the user connects their guest device the screen automatically switches to the latest source, and when they disconnect, it reverts back to the wireless collaboration box.

This simple solution decreases the number of possible points of failure and is simple to deploy “as a service” or operational expenditure model for the user.

Whilst it might mean a reduction in revenue against the meeting room installation, your client will feel confident that your priority is in solving the problem and keeping the solution simple.

A 16-screen video wall

Now let’s look at a slightly more complicated scenario.

A customer has a 4 x 4 video wall and wants to run it at the best resolution possible making sure that their 4K UHD media player drives each screen at the maximum achievable resolution.


Often an integrator will over complicate a requirement like this. Of course, if there were multiple sources, shared inputs and outputs or a need for real time manipulation of content then it may be a job for NEC’s Hiperwall solution, or one of the many other good quality video wall engines out there, but in this case the solution is very simple and should be kept that way.

We know that each NEC video wall module can natively display a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. We also know (because we have been well educated by our regional Sharp/NEC Displays team!) that a 4K UHD resolution can repeat through 3 loops without loss of pixels or resolution, therefore 4 screens can create a 3840 x 2160 resolution, the maximum possible.

We have 16 screens and 16 divided by 4 equals 4.

So, what’s the simple solution?

Split the output from the media player 4 times using an inexpensive but good quality 4K UHD splitter and feed it to 4 of the screens, then simply repeat the signal by using the inbuilt NEC Auto-tile function


This simple solution means that each individual display is running at its native 1920 x 1080 with no pixel loss. Therefore, the video wall is running at a maximum possible 7680 x 4320 resolution whilst keeping budget to a minimum and ensuring minimal cabling and ease of maintenance.

A simple solution for service and maintenance


The ‘keeping it simple’ philosophy should also be applied when it comes to service and maintenance. As AV and IT continues to converge, AV providers should follow the example of IT and move away from the ‘break/fix’ scenario, in favour of a more proactive approach.

NEC’s NaViSet Administrator 2 management and control software enables administrators to minimise downtime by proactivity managing equipment maintenance and identifying potential faults before they impact revenue.

Find out more about NaviSet Administrator 2


SAVE – Simple Audio-Visual Experience

I like to use the acronym SAVE - ‘Simple Audio-Visual Experience’. The simplest solution will SAVE money, SAVE time and SAVE hassle both for the integrator and the user with far less chance of errors or failures.

We would never tell an experienced integrator or consultant how to do their job, but by working collaboratively, contributing our experience and knowledge of our products and their capabilities, we can help to find the easiest and simplest solution to their clients’ needs.

Value Engineering & An Agnostic Approach

Having previously spent 16 years working within integration, I have now worked at Sharp/NEC for over two years. I am experienced with many other brands, but I chose to work at Sharp/NEC for two reasons:

1) Sharp/NEC is technology agnostic. This means that I can be entirely independent when recommending technology to my customers. My priority will be finding the best (and simplest!) solution to their problem.

2) Having been involved in too many projects to count over the years, the biggest being a single deployment involving 787 screens on one site, the term ‘value engineering’ is always present. At Sharp/NEC, I believe we engineer value into our solutions by providing options and features which help users to be future-ready; NEC’s modular approach enables an upgrade path to protect the investment. Not only does this protect the user, it also offers an opportunity to the integrator.

I am more than happy to chat about my experiences and offer my thoughts to anyone working in the channel, do get in touch!

Contact Jack Wilders

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