That second phase involved an interactive in-ceiling projector box flush with the ceiling tiles and projected to the floor at about 50 Target stores.
“Through the trust and partnership that we built with the integrator and Target, they naturally gave us the ceiling projector box,” says Pierro.
Thinking Forward Pays Off
O’Brien is excited about the progressive approach Target has taken with technology.
“What they’re doing is trying to find different ways to bring technology to the stores for different types of interaction,” he says. “There’s gesture-tech interactive technology built into the projector box project as well. When the image is being projected on the ground, a field, a soccer ball or whatever it may be, whoever is there on the ground, can interact with the image that’s being projected.”
“What we do as soon as a new request like this comes in, is to get engaged in the conversation right away. A lot of times you’ll get the integrators or the consultants that’ll try to solve the mounting solution for you. We prefer that they do what they do best, which is design a full system. Let us, as the mounting champions, as I like to call us, get involved and design the mounting solution,” says O’Brien.
“What we try to do is get to the end-user level. Sometimes it’s not possible because the integrator, the consultant or whoever we’re working with, doesn’t want us to talk to the end-user right away, but where we can get involved up front, we ask all the right questions. ‘What environment is it going into?’ ‘What’s the goal of the end-user?’ ‘What’s the finished look?’ ‘What are the top three priorities of the solution?’ ‘Is it price? Is it speed? Is it safety? Is it aesthetics?’ In other words, what are their priorities?’ We ask all the questions that are going to bring us to that final and most effective solution,” he says.
“For the Target project, I listened to what their needs were, went back to the drawing board for them and delivered a semi-custom solution with custom rails that would actually go to the wall using a stock product for the brackets that mounted the display. Because those were right off the shelf, we could save on cost. We then passed those savings on to the customer. For us, it’s getting in early, asking the right questions, understanding what their end-goal is and delivering the results,” says O’Brien.
About 90 percent of the stores in the initial Target rollout used wall-mounted solutions, says O’Brien.
“What they’re doing is taking the shelving gondola system which normally ends above the CDs, DVDs or magazines, and take it all the way to the ceiling,” he says. There are rectangle slots in the gondolas that the shelves hook into. When you’re talking about a video wall, you’re talking about precision seams where alignment is very key.
“What we did was to come up with a unique method to adjust the hooks that fit into the gondola system. It allowed them to level out the system. There was over an inch of adjustment because we saw some stores that had three-quarters of an inch or more difference between that gondola on the right and the gondola on the left. What we found was that, because we attach to four vertical gondolas across the system, the right one and the left one would be lined up, but the middle one might be different. We had to overcome that and give ourselves a Y-adjustment, which is your up and down vertical adjustment, in the rails,” says O’Brien.
The gondolas had a tendency to lean forward, which made servicing the video walls at various Target locations as needed a bit troublesome, says O’Brien.
“We had to come up with a way for them to easily access the panels,” he says. “That’s why we went with our stock video wall mounting brackets. They have a kickstand that allows them to flip out the panels and hold the panels in a service position. In the end, that kickstand was the deal maker. As soon as they saw that, they were hooked.”
“We had to provide a system that was easily understandable for every installer, for if they’d done it before or just grabbed it out of the box. They could look at it, figure out how it actually hooks in and adjust the rails for level and end up with a perfect solution at the end,” says O’Brien.
Trent Fettig, project management and engineering manager for Tierney Brothers points out that, “Premier provides a good solution because it’s efficient to implement and easily replicated for a mass rollout to Target stores.”
In the end, it is how you approach a project and a customer. Pierro points out that “Any time we can find a way out of the commodity trap, we love it because we can really bring value to the end-user through the integrators. It’s one of our missions to convince the integrators to stop looking at Premier Mounts as an alternative to our competitors and stock products, because we’re so much different than just a stock product company.”
Target represents “a model project for us where we worked as partners – the manufacturer, the integrator and the end-user, all focusing on the end-user’s success,” says Pierro.
“We want them to throw the ball our way to make the best shot. If they have a mounting project, just give it to us. Because we have stock products and custom capabilities, our job in that relationship is to give them the best option, taking into account total cost of ownership – not necessarily just the cheapest price. As a friend of mine says, there is a huge difference between price and cost.” he says.
In most cases, Premier gives customers a good-better-best array of solutions based on what their buying criteria is.
“If you want good and cheap, we’ve got good and cheap,” says Pierro. “If you want great, something that’s going to bring more value to the job site or if the job is going to be a multi-site roll out, our job for the integrator is to give them the best option, which installs faster, and makes their client beyond excited.”